Vivian Gadsden named president of AERA, Shaun Harper becomes Council Member-at-Large

March 26, 2015

Vivian L. Gadsden, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE), has been voted president-elect of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Shaun Harper, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, was elected as a Council Member-at-Large. He will serve a three-year term.

Penn GSE’s dean Pam Grossman was quick to congratulate her colleagues. “I'm thrilled to see both Vivian and Shaun receive this recognition from the field for their leadership and achievements,” she said.

Penn GSE has an impressive presence within the ranks of AERA. Over eighty percent of full professors are AERA fellows; Xinyin Chen, a professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development, was inducted in the 2015 cohort. 

Gadsden is director of the National Center on Fathers and Families and was associate director of the National Center on Adult Literacy. She serves on the board of the Foundation for Child Development and was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellow, as well as a resident fellow at the Spencer Foundation. Gadsden also has served on advisory committees of the Spencer Foundation, the Goodling Center for Research in Family Literacy, and congressionally mandated review and advisory panels, including those of the Reading Excellence Program, Comprehensive School Reform, and the National Academy of Sciences. She currently chairs the Institute of Medicine/National Research Council’s Committee on Supporting Parents of Young Children. 

Gadsden’s research interests focus on the cultural and social dimensions of learning, literacy, and well-being across the life course and within families.  Her work addresses questions of context, race, gender, ethnicity, and poverty. Her framework, family cultures, forms the basis for her collaborative research projects, including studies on Head Start children and families (EPIC); young fathers in urban settings; health and educational disparities in low-income communities; children of incarcerated parents; and intergenerational literacy learning within African American and Latino families.

An AERA Fellow, Gadsden served previously in two elected positions with AERA, as vice president of AERA’s Division G: Social Contexts of Education (2003–2006) and as an AERA Council member-at-large (2009–2012). She also was editor of AERA’s Review of Research in Education, Volume 33 (2009), and co-editor of the association’s Educational Researcher (2012–2015). Her term as president begins at the conclusion of AERA’s 2016 Annual Meeting.


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