Professor Aisha Ray, a 1972 Erikson graduate, has taught at the Institute for a total of 17 years. She was named senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty on July 1, 2009.

Her areas of research include cultural and situational contexts of child development, early childhood professional development, father-child relationships in urban communities, and early childhood services for immigrant children and families. She is currently leading a project with Professor Barbara T. Bowman to understand and improve teacher preparation to successfully educate children of diverse cultural, linguistic, and economic backgrounds.

She is a senior research associate at the University of Pennsylvania’s National Center on Fathers and Families. She has previously taught on the faculty of DePaul University’s School of Education. She has also served as consultant with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership, and Child Trends.

Areas of Expertise

Early childhood professional preparation and training for equity; the role of culture in child development; child and family development in urban communities; fathers and families; the development of parenting roles in unmarried, low-income couples; and early childhood services to immigrant children and families.

Education

  • B.A. in history, Grinnell College
  • M.Ed. in early childhood education, Erikson Institute-Loyola University Chicago
  • M.A., Ph.D. in developmental psychology, University of Michigan

Related Experience

  • Director, Bilingual/ESL Teacher Training Program, Erikson Institute
  • Research scientist, University of Chicago
  • Faculty member, DePaul University School of Education

Service

  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Child Trends Incorporated
  • Illinois Fatherhood Initiative
  • National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership
  • National Center on Fathers and Families, University of Pennsylvania
  • National Professional Development Center on Inclusion, University of North Carolina
  • National Teacher Academy, Chicago Public Schools
  • Twenty-first Century Foundation
  • University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Department of Exceptional Education
  • Urban Anthropology Project
  • Williams School Project, Chicago Public Schools

Research

  • Preparation of early childhood teachers for effective education low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse children.
  • Educational policies that support teacher preparation for diversity.
  • Young immigrant children and families in early childhood programs.

Recent Publications

Gadsden, V. & Ray, A. (2006). Parents’ expectations and children’s early literacy: Reimagining parent engagement through parent inquiry. In R. T. Jiménez & V. O. Pang (Eds.), Race, ethnicity and education Volume 2: Language, literacy and schooling. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Ray, A., Bowman, B., and Brownell, J. O’N. (2006). Teacher-child relationships, social-emotional development, and school achievement. In B. Bowman & E. K. Moore (Eds.), School readiness and social-emotional development: Perspectives on cultural diversity (pp. 7-22). Washington, DC: National Black Child Development Institute.

Ray, A., Bowman, B. & Robbins, J. (2006). Preparing Early Childhood Teachers To Successfully Educate All Children: The Contribution Of State Boards Of Higher Education and National Professional Accreditation Organizations, A Project of the Initiative on Race, Class and Culture in Early Childhood, Final Report to the Foundation for Child Development, New York, New York.

Ray, A., Bowman, B. & Robbins, J. (2006). Preparing Early Childhood Teachers To Successfully Educate All Children: The Contribution of Four-Year Undergraduate Teacher Preparation Programs, A Project of the Initiative on Race, Class and Culture in Early Childhood, Final Report to the Foundation for Child Development, New York, New York.

Gadsden, V. & Ray, A. (2003). Fathers’ Role in Children’s Academic Achievement and Early Literacy (ERIC Publication No. ED482051. ERIC Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, ERIC Digest.

Ray, A. & Gadsden V. (2002). Engaging Fathers: Issues and Consideration for Early Childhood Educators. Young Children, 57(6), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), http://www.journal.naeyc.org/search/item-detail.asp?page=1&docID=2805&sesID=1099407051432.

Gadsden, V. L., Fagan, J., Ray, A., & Davis, J.E. (2002). Fathering indicators for practice and evaluation: The Fathering Indicators Framework. In R. Day & M. Lamb (Eds.), Measuring Father Involvement in Diverse Settings. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hans, S., Ray, A., Berstein, V., & Halpern, R. (1995). Caregiving in the inner-city. A final report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry, Unit for Research in Child Psychiatry and Development, Chicago IL.

McLoyd, V. C., Ray, A., & Etter-Lewis, G. (1985). “Being and Becoming: The Interface of Language and Family Role Knowledge in the Pretend Play of Young African-American Girls.” In L. Galda & S. Pelligrini (Eds.), The Language of Play. New York: Ablex.

Presentations

“Fathers, Families, and Child Development within Low-Income Populations: Lessons from Research and Practice, Implications for Policy.” June 2001. Research Roundtable with the National Center on Fathers and Families at NAEYC’s National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development, Washington, DC.

“’Being There for my Child:’ African-American Fathers’ Perspectives on Fathering in Inner-city Communities and Sources of Stress.” April 2001. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Minneapolis, MN.

“How to Help Our Children Celebrate Who They Are?” March 2001. Chicago Board of Education, Early Childhood Staff Development Multicultural Symposium. Chicago, IL.

“Teaching and Learning in the Classroom: Practices for Four- to Eight-Year Old Children.” October 2000. University of California at Los Angeles, National Center for Early Development and Learning. Los Angeles, CA.

“The Involvement of Low-income African American fathers in extended family child rearing networks.” April 1999. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada.

“Implications of Research on Low-Income African American Fathers for Child Support Enforcement Policy.” January 1998. National Conference on Child Support Enforcement. Washington, DC.

“Working with Families After Welfare Reform: Strategies to Encourage Cooperation Between Mothers and Fathers.” April 1998. Paper presented at the Family Resource Coalition Conference, Chicago, IL.

“The involvement of poor fathers in child development: What research tells us.” May 1998. Paper presented at the Family Resource Coalition Conference, Chicago, IL.

“Fathers past and present: Factors that contribute to mothers’ perceptions of the paternal role of their children’s fathers.” August 1997. American Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

“Very involved, low-income, African-American fathers’ perceptions of fatherhood.” November 1997. National Council on Family Relations, Arlington, VA.

“Being there: The perceptions of fatherhood held by very involved, low-income, African-American fathers.” March 1997. Paper presented at the Symposium on African-American Fathers’ Perceptions of the Fathers Role in Child Development. The American Education Research Association, Chicago, IL.

“The effect of paternal involvement of urban low-income African-American fathers on the parental relations.” June 1996. Invited paper presented at the conference of the Developmental, Ethnographic, and Demographic Perspectives on Fatherhood. National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD.