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Dale Farran

Professor of Education
Professor of Psychology
Senior Fellow, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development

Dale Farran is a professor in the Departments of Teaching and Learning and Psychology and Human Development, and a Senior Fellow of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. 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 7 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.

Professor Farran is the editor of two books both dealing with risk and poverty, the author of more than 75 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 Office of Special Education, the Spencer Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, 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 is one of the 7 sites funded.

Farran and Lipsey are also evaluating an Early Reading First program implemented in a rural county in Tennessee. In 2005 they were awarded, along with the University of California at Berkeley, a scale up project from the Institute of Education Sciences involving a pre-kindergarten mathematics curriculum. This curriculum was implemented in Metro Nashville Public Schools and Metro Action Committee Head Start. Current projects involve a statewide evaluation of Tennessee's Voluntary Pre-K program, a longitudinal evaluation of the Tools of the Mind curriculum, and the validation of a battery of self regulation measures for young children.


  • American Psychological Society Fellow, elected 1997.
  • US Distinguished American Scholar, June, 2002, New Zealand Fulbright
  • US Distinguished American Scholar Programme.