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​​​Donna Y Ford, PhD

Bio and Vitae
Donna Y. Ford, PhD
June 2023


Donna Y. Ford, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Human Ecology in the College of Education and Human Ecology at the Ohio State University.  She is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Kirwan Institute and the Center for Latin American Studies. Professor Ford is in the Department of Educational Studies and the Special Education Program.

She was at Vanderbilt University for 15 years and held two Endowed Chairs there. Dr. Ford was a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University (1997-2004), an  Assistant and 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 culturally responsive/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 300 articles and book chapters; she has made over 2,000 presentations at professional conferences and organizations, and in school districts.


She is the author/co-author/co-editor of 14 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). 

Professor Ford’s work has been recognized by numerous professional organizations: Newsweek RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Ranking; Stanford University Study’s Top 2% of World Scientists; 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).

2023 awards include:

(1) Planarian Award for Gifted Scholarship;

(2)The 2023 EdWeek RHSU Edu-Scholar Top 200 Public Influence Rankings

(3) 2023 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence: Top 10 Lists (Top 10 for PSYCHOLOGY) and

(4) Dr Ford is ranked #1067 in the U.S. and 2124 I the world as a researcher by


Dr. Ford is 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.


On a personal note, she is the proud mother of Khyle L. Ford and proud grandmother of Khyle Jr. (KJ) – DYF


* twitter: @donnayford

Although I am no longer at Vanderbilt, this video is still a relevant overview.

For a good laugh...

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