Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D., is Professor of Education and Human Development and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair at Vanderbilt University. She is the former 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.
Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Ford earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University.
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 gifted education under-representation and Advanced Placement, multicultural/urban education and counseling, and closing the achievement gap.
Professor Ford has written over 200 articles and book chapters; she has made over a 1,000 presentations at professional conferences and organizations, and in school districts.
She is the author/co-author of several books, including Gumbo for the Soul: Liberating Memoirs and Stories to Inspire Females of Color (2017); Telling Our Stories: Culturally Different Adults Reflect on Growing Up in Single-Parent Families (2017); R.A.C.E. Mentoring Through Social Media:Black and Hispanic Scholars Share Their Journey in the Academy (2017); 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’s work has been recognized by various professional organizations: Research Award from the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies; the Early Career Award and the Career Award from The American Educational Research Association; Senior Scholar Award and Early Scholar Award from The National Association for Gifted Children; the Esteemed Scholarship Award from The National Association of Black Psychologists; the Outstanding Service Award from the Council for Exceptional Children-The Association for the Gifted. She is the Vanderbilt University SEC Faculty Award recipient (2013). Professor Ford is even more proud and humbled by awards received from student organizations (Black Student Alliance Distinguished Faulty Award, and Jimmie Franklin Outstanding Vanderbilt Faculty Award).
Dr. Ford is co-founder of the Scholar Identity Institute (SII) for Black MalesTM, and creator of The Ford Female Achievement Model of Excellence (FAME). Donna is a two-time board member of the National Association for Gifted Children, and has served on numerous editorial boards, such as Gifted Child Quarterly, Exceptional Children, Roeper Review, Journal of Negro Education, Gifted Child Today, and Journal of Educational Psychology. She also reviews for several journals in such disciplines and topics as urban education, the achievement gap, educational psychology, and counseling and development. Professional development includes membership in professional organizations, including the National Association for Gifted Children, Council for Exceptional Children, American Educational Research Association, National Association for Multicultural Education, American Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators, and others.