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GSE's Clayton Professor: Dr. Slaughter-Defoe

Dr. Diana T. Slaughter-Defoe, a leading scholar of early childhood development and parental intervention-and a contributor on U.S. policy in those areas-has been named to the Graduate School of Education's Constance E. Clayton Professorship of Urban Education. She will join Penn in January from Northwestern University, where she is now professor of Education and Social Policy and of African American Studies, and a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.

GSE's Dean Susan Fuhrman announced the selection of Dr. Slaughter-Defoe to hold the chair named for the Dr. Constance Clayton, the former head of the Philadelphia Public Schools who took her Ph.D. in education at Penn.

Dr. Slaughter-Defoe is a 1962 alumna of the University of Chicago who took her Ph.D. there in 1968. Before joining Northwestern in 1977, she was on the faculties of Howard University, Yale University, and the University of Chicago. She is now concluding a three-year-term as Coordinator of the Human Development and Social Policy Program that she co-founded at Northwestern in 1981 with Bernice Neugarten, Fay Cook and Dan Lewis.

Dr. Slaughter-Defoe's research and writing have emphasized the study of the relationship between parental socialization and children's school-related behavior and achievement, starting with her dissertation research in a Chicago-area Head Start setting, for which she received a distinguished research award from Pi Lambda Theta. Later, she completed government-funded research in the area of middle school-aged children and families' experiences in diverse urban private schools. She is presently concluding a collaborative research evaluation of the James Comer's School Development Program, a parent-focused school reform program presently being implemented in several lower- income Chicago schools.

Editor of Visible Now: Blacks in Private Schools (Greenwood Press, 1988), and Black Children and Poverty: A Developmental Perspective (New Directions in Child Development Series, Jossey-Bass, 1988), Dr. Slaughter-Defoe has won numerous professional awards including the 1993 Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research in Public Policy given by the American Psychological Association's Public Interest Directorate, and the 1994 Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award in Educational Research from the Spencer Foundation. She received the First Black Scholar Achievement Award from the Black Caucus of the So-ciety for Research in Child Development, and in 1988 became the first ethnic minority female scientist to deliver an invited lecture as part of the Science and Public Policy Seminar Series of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences. Dr. Slaughter-Defoe also received an award from the Civitan International Research Center in Alabama for "personal dedication to people with developmental and learning disabilities."

She is presently on the APA Board of Scientific Affairs, the National Advisory Board/Technical Work Group to the Head Start Transition Study, and the APA Task Force on Poverty, Family Processes and Child Development, as well as the Board of Visitors of the Learning, Research and Development Center (LRDC) at the University of Pittsburgh. She also sits on the DHHS Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion.

She has also been a member of the National Research Council Committee on Child Development Research and Public Policy, the Committee on the Role and Status of Minorities of the American Educational Research Association, and the Advisory Board of the Henry Murray Center, Radcliffe College. In 1989-90, she served on the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) Panel on Future Directions in Head Start Research and Evaluation, and was a member of the ACYF Panel to Implement the Blueprint Report for Head Start Research and Evaluation.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October 7, 1997, Volume 44, Number 7