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Dale Farran

Director, Peabody Research Institute
Professor, Specialty in Poverty and Intervention
Research Professor, Early Childhood Education, Department of Teaching and Learning

Dale Clark Farran is Emerita and a research professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in Peabody College at Vanderbilt University; she is also Director of the Peabody Research Institute. Professor Farran has been involved in research and intervention for high-risk children and youth for all of her professional career. She has conducted research at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center in Chapel Hill, NC and the Kamehameha Schools Early Education Project in Hawaii. Professor Farran is the editor of two books both dealing with risk and poverty, the author of more than 80 journal articles and book chapters and a regular presenter at national conferences. Her recent research emphasis is on evaluating the effectiveness of alternative preschool experiences for preparing children from low-income families to transition successfully to school. Currently she is directing an evaluation of the State of Tennessee's Prekindergarten program, a longitudinal evaluation through high school of a mathematics pre-k program, an evaluation of the Pre-K Expansion grant in Nashville and Memphis, and a partnership with the Metro Nashville Public School system to identify key quality classroom practices in pre-k.


Research Area

Early intervention for children at risk for school failure due to poverty and/or disabilities. Transition to school. Observational methodologies. Early language and mathematics development.


Short Biography

Dale Farran is an Emerita faculty member of Peabody College and a research professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning and Director of the Peabody Research Institute. Prior to this appointment she was a professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she also served as chair from 1987 to 1995. Farran has been involved in research and intervention for high risk children and youth for all of her professional career.

Her first job was with the North Carolina Advancement School, begun by Terry Sanford to combat the problems of underachieving junior high school students. She spent seven years in Philadelphia before returning to Chapel Hill and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center and the School of Education (Special Education) at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she spent the next 10 years concentrating on issues related to children in poverty, early intervention, and school transition. In 1984 she moved to Hawaii where she was a faculty member at the University of Hawaii and directed the Child Development program for Kamehameha Schools as it developed early intervention for part-Hawaiian children.

Farran is the editor of two books both dealing with risk and poverty, the author of more than 80 journal articles and book chapters, and a regular presenter at national conferences. Her research has been supported by, among others, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,the Institute for Education Sciences, the Heising Simons Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Most of her research has focused on issues of risk and disabilities and their effects on young children's development, as well as the educational practices that should follow. In 2002 she and colleague Mark Lipsey were awarded a four-year longitudinal grant to compare the effects of pre-kindergarten curriculum models in a randomized control trial. The Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research project (PCER) is a national evaluation of early childhood curriculum models; Vanderbilt was one of the 7 sites funded. That partnership led to the formation in 2008 of the Peabody Research Institute. Farran and Lipsey are also conducting the only randomized control trial of a scaled up state-supported pre-k program, the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K program. Farran has been funded to evaluate several curriculum models: Opening the World of Learning in an Early Reading First funded project; a randomized control trial of Building Blocks, a mathematics curriculum and a randomized control trial of the Tools of the Mind curriculum, focused on executive function skills. Farran is a member of the Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME) Network, a consortium of 11 research institutions funded by the Heising Simons Foundation.

 

Media Mentions

  • Newsy, February 16, 2018
  • The Hechinger Report, October 2, 2017 
  • National Public Radio, September 29, 2015
  • Newswise.com - September 9, 2013 — Positive Interactions Vital to Pre-K Learning
  • The Tennessean - August 12, 2012 — TN weighs more pre-K funding as others debate program's worth