New Faculty Spotlight: Trinidad aims to foster community among scholars and organizations working with schools

A day in the life of Berkeley School of Education’s newest assistant professor, Jose Eos Trinidad, looks something like this:

4:00 a.m.: wake-up — yes, even on the weekends — and time for writing
7:00 a.m.: morning swim (formerly in Lake Michigan and now somewhere in the Bay Area, but likely not in the Bay)
9:00 a.m.: back to research and writing
1:00 p.m.: lunch and nap
2:00 p.m.: more research and writing (and meetings and classes)
6:00 p.m.-ish: cook a delicious meal, maybe an Asian or Italian dish (ask him about his shrimp scampi of baked salmon with lemon, pepper, salt, and thyme)
8:00 p.m.: bedtime

While many significant life changes are afoot for Trinidad, he has brought this daily routine from the University of Chicago to his tenure-track position at Berkeley School of Education. He’s also brought a deep sense of mission: “I feel that this is a calling for me,” said Trinidad. “[Teaching] is something I was meant to do.”

A sociologist with a joint PhD in Sociology and Comparative Human Development (University of Chicago), Trinidad, studies how external organizations affect educational systems, policies, inequalities, student learning, and more. 

At Berkeley, Trinidad says he is keeping in mind three goals: first, teach undergraduate and graduate students and help them to become more analytical, systematic, and practical; second, be the best collaborator and mentor possible to graduate students, helping them refine their work and inviting them to help refine his work; and third, help organizations improve so that they can help schools.

The thread running through the impact he hopes to make is building “relationships,” both to students and researchers who will become the next generation of professors and to organizations affecting education globally and within the United States. One of the deciding factors to come to Berkeley was an opportunity to have and build an exciting community of scholars and organizations working with schools.

He motivates this goal by comparing it to relationships between researchers and practitioners. “Many research-practice partnerships are often with schools, school leaders, and teachers,” he adds, “but there are so many organizations influencing schools and scholars should be interacting with them as well.”

Trinidad, who has already jumped into research and will begin teaching in spring 2024, says that he’s honored to work with education scholars who are pioneers in his field, including Professor Bruce Fuller, Associate Professor Tina Trujillo, and Professor Janelle T. Scott. “I was already reading their work and citing them and to be their colleague is a big, big, honor,” he said.

“We are thrilled that Eos has decided to join the Berkeley faculty,” Fuller said. “His own intellectual growth was fostered by premier sociologists and scholars of education at the University of Chicago. A former seminarian, he arrives with a unique cultural awareness and set of life experiences. Eos is a warm and engaging young intellectual who will attract a variety of Berkeley students.”

Trinidad grew up in The Philippines, where he attended college at Ateneo de Manila University, a Jesuit university. While completing his undergraduate degree, he spent a semester at the National University in Singapore. He then went to the University of Chicago for his MA and PhD. In between his undergraduate and graduate studies, he had been a Jesuit novice, which has deepened his resolve to work towards holistic education and social justice.

“Being exposed to different educational systems is something I want to bring to Berkeley,” said Trinidad. “We get a better understanding of an education system when we compare it with something else. We get a fuller sense that we’re coming in with certain assumptions. … Being shown different models of education gives us a fuller appreciation of what we have.”

BSE Dean Michelle D. Young said Trinidad brings both scholarship and spirit to the school. “Eos’s deep commitment to students and contagiously good energy is already positively affecting the school,” said Young. “We are excited that he’ll spend his career at Berkeley, making an impact on students and the field of education.”

Trinidad shared that he recently read an article about a 96-year-old high school teacher who has taught freshmen students for 70 years. “The teacher always has a smile on his face,” recounts Trinidad. “The man says, ‘I am still boyishly happy.’”

It’s not hard to see this same smile and boyish happiness on Trinidad’s face, especially when he talks about teaching: “I am given this opportunity at one of the best universities in the world to teach and to do good research, and I am going to make the most out of it. I think of it not just as a task, but also as a responsibility to myself to help further this field.”

associate professor eos trinidad smiling at camera wearing black shirt, navy sportcoat

About Eos Trinidad

Assistant Professor Trinidad is a sociologist with expertise in the study of organizations outside schools and the study of schools as organizations.

His research explores how organizations affect school improvement and inequalities, education policy, and institutional change. Conceptually, he focuses on organizational networks and institutional theory. Substantively, he studies policies on organizational data use, teacher wellbeing, and student-centered learning. Methodologically, he integrates quantitative causal inference and qualitative interview approaches to understand education policy and systems holistically.

His research has been published in more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles such as in Educational Researcher; Socius; Sociological Inquiry; Race Ethnicity & Education; and Leadership & Policy in Schools. He is also the author of two books, one of which won the Philippine National Book Award.

Read Assistant Professor Trinidad's full biography.