Welcome Dr. Donna Y. Ford to SENG’s Professional Advisory Committee
By Tiombe Bisa Kendrick
With every passing day, the United States becomes more ethnically and racially diverse. Still, gifted and talented individuals from racially and ethnically diverse populations continue to be underserved and disenfranchised on a number of levels in the U.S. Keeping this in mind, over the past few years, SENG has committed to addressing the social and emotional needs of our constituents from a variety of backgrounds, including ethnic and racial backgrounds.
SENG wholeheartedly understands the need to increase awareness about the unique social and emotional needs of gifted individuals from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. One of SENG’s methods for reaching aforementioned goals related to diversity is to ensure that diversity is infused throughout all programs and services. For example, the James T. Webb Scholarship was created to provide gifted children and parents with financial need from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds the opportunity to participate in the SENG conference.
To ensure that SENG addresses its mission, appointees are made to a Professional Advisory Committee (PAC). PAC members consist of a variety of professionals who share a deep passion for gifted and talented individuals. The vast majority of PAC members are prominent researchers in the gifted field, as well as relentless advocates for this population.
With that said, I have the distinct honor of introducing one of the newest members to the SENG PAC, Donna Y. Ford, PhD. Dr. Ford is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University located in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the 2013 Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor and former Betts Chair of Education & Human Development. Dr. Ford currently holds a joint appointment in the Department of Special Education and Department of Teaching and Learning. She has dedicated her life to bringing awareness to the ongoing challenges encountered by gifted and talented children she refers to as “culturally different.”
Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) the achievement gap; (2) recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education; (3) multicultural curriculum and instruction; (4) culturally competent teacher training and development; (5) African-American identity; and (6) African-American family involvement. She consults with school districts and educational and legal organizations on such topics as under-representation of culturally diverse populations in gifted education and Advanced Placement, multicultural/urban education and counseling, and closing the achievement gap.
Dr. Ford is the author and co-author of numerous books, including her most recent, Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education (2013), Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students (1996, 2010), Multicultural Gifted Education (1999, 2011), Gifted and Advanced Black Students in School: An Anthology of Critical Works (2011), In Search of the Dream: Designing Schools and Classrooms that Work for High Potential Students from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds (2004), Diverse Learners with Exceptionalities: Culturally Responsive Teaching in the Inclusive Classroom (2008), and Teaching Culturally Diverse Gifted Students (2005). Dr. Ford has several other books in progress.
SENG is very grateful that Dr. Ford accepted our invitation to join the SENG PAC. We look forward to collaborating with her in successfully increasing awareness of gifted children from culturally different backgrounds among our constituents — and to the world. Dr. Ford, WELCOME to SENG!