Donna Y. Ford

donna ford
EHE Distinguished Professor, Department of Educational Studies

Donna Y. Ford, PhD, returned to The Ohio State University in August 2019 as a distinguished professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology. She is also a faculty affiliate with the Kirwan Institute. Professor Ford is in the Department of Educational Studies, the special education program.

She was at Vanderbilt University for 15 years and held two endowed chairs. Dr. Ford was a professor of Special Education at The Ohio State University, an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Virginia, and an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky. 

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.

Ford has written more than 300 articles and book chapters; she has made more than 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 various professional organizations: The 2019 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings (#57); The International Colloquium on Black Males in Education; Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG); the American Education Research Association (AERA) Research on Women and Education SIG; the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies; the Early Career Award and the Career Award from The American Educational Research Association; the National Association for Gifted Children; The National Association of Black Psychologists; Council for Exceptional Children-The Association for the Gifted. She was the Vanderbilt University SEC Faculty Award recipient (2013). Professor Ford is also proud and humbled by awards received from student organizations.

Dr. Ford is co-founder of the Scholar Identity Institute (SII) for Black MalesTM, and creator of The Ford Female Achievement Model of Excellence (F2AME). 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).