35603752 - Roeper Review, 30:208210, 2008 Copyright The...

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Roeper Review , 30:208–210, 2008 Copyright © The Roeper Institute ISSN: 0278-3193 print / 1940-865X online DOI: 10.1080/02783190802363844 AN EVOLVING FIELD Champion of Cultural Competence: An Interview with Donna Y. Ford Interview With Don a Ford Suzanna E. Henshon Donna Y. Ford, PhD, is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University where she teaches in the Department of Special Education. Donna has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the Univer- sity of Virginia, and a researcher with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She also taught at the University of Kentucky. Donna earned her doctorate in urban education (educa- tional psychology, 1991), master’s of education degree (counseling, 1988), and bachelor of arts degree in communi- cations and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University. She is the author of several books, including Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students and Multi- cultural Gifted Education . She has authored over 100 articles and chapters and has made more than 500 presentations at professional conferences and school districts. Dr. Ford conducts research primarly in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. She also consults with school districts and educational organizations in the areas of gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Dr. Ford is a board member of the National Association of Gifted Children and has served on numerous editorial boards, including the Roeper Review , Gifted Child Quarterly , Excep- tional Children , and the Journal of Negro Education . Henshon : Was there anything about your early life experi- ences that led you to the field of gifted education? Ford: Two experiences are at the forefront of my mind when I think about why I entered the field. I was identified as gifted early in my school years, so I have been very interested in gifted education because of this. However, the experience of my son, Khyle, contributed and contributes most to my inter- est and passion. He was identified as gifted early, too, but did not have a good experience with one teacher. As a result, he became an underachiever early on; he lost an interest in school and learning. I spent years trying to turn this around for him. Years later, I wrote my first book on gifted underachievers and dedicated it to him. I was determined (and still am) to decrease school disengagement among gifted diverse students, espe- cially males, by working with teachers and other educators on the importance of becoming culturally competent. Henshon: How does your expertise in special education impact your work in gifted education? Ford: In special education, the focus is often on overrepre- sentation. The opposite focus is in gifted education where we are concerned about underrepresentation. Both fields grapple with equity issues, including teacher/educator bias, test bias, problems in policies and procedures, and so much more. I truly believe that too many diverse students, espe-
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35603752 - Roeper Review, 30:208210, 2008 Copyright The...

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