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Having formally served as Senior Vice President for Academy Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Dr. Jie-Qi Chen, has had a long and distinguished career in the early childhood field and has earned an international reputation as an expert in early math education, educational implications of multiple intelligences theory, classroom assessment, and teacher professional development.

After beginning her career teaching preschool, elementary school, and middle school in China, followed by preschool and kindergarten in the United States, she went on to spearhead teacher professional development efforts in Boston and Chicago and enrich assessment and curriculum development in early childhood programs.

As the founder of Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative, Dr. Chen established a program that has helped educators of young children overcome their anxiety about teaching math and build their understanding of foundational mathematics. Now, she leads the Early Teaching and Learning Academy, an intellectual hub designed to transform the early childhood workforce by developing and implementing a targeted, effective, and sustainable professional development system that incorporates the art and science of early teaching and learning.

Dr. Chen has published 10 books and numerous scholarly articles. Her books have been translated into several foreign languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese. She is a frequent presenter at conferences around the world. Leaders in countries from China to Denmark have sought her expertise as a consultant or committee member for various early childhood initiatives.

She has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2009 Outstanding Teacher Educator’s Award from the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. Dr. Chen was also named a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Education, a consultant to the United Nations Children’s Fund, and a fellow of Harvard University’s Project Zero Classroom. Presently, she serves on the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Dr. Chen brings her expertise to the Erikson classroom as well. As a professor, she seeks to go beyond teaching knowledge and skills — she also helps students think about how they can use what they learn in class in their real-world experiences. This, she says, is “understanding,” and it is what distinguishes between – a good and great professionals.

“Knowledge and skills are the foundations for understanding, but without understanding, knowledge and skills won’t go too far,” she says. “’Understanding’ is the ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and skills acquired in one educational setting to a new situation in which that knowledge is relevant.”

Bio coming soon.

As director of Erikson Institute’s International Initiative Yinna Zhang, PhD, has been applying her understanding of child development and teaching effectiveness in training programs for early childhood professionals since 2015.

Dr. Zhang was born in Yunnan Province, China, and is a proud member of the Chinese minority ethnic group Naxi. Fascinated more with how human beings acquire knowledge than the knowledge itself, Dr. Zhang switched her area of focus from biological sciences to child development after college. Together, the knowledge she gained from her scientific training and her experiences working on a renowned 12-year, longitudinal, cross-cultural study and an applied research and professional development project for early mathematics education greatly expanded her understanding of the complex intersections of teaching and learning during the process of socialization for young children.

Dr. Zhang studied teacher competence in early mathematics while pursuing her doctoral degree at Erikson and Loyola University Chicago. She worked as a research fellow with Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative and served as a consultant for a project designed to measure content knowledge for teaching mathematics in middle school at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in New Jersey. In addition, she worked as a volunteer and a summer school teacher at the Lab Schools of the University of Chicago, consulted for an early intervention project, and served as co-chair of the Doctoral Student Association at Erikson.

In her dissertation study, Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Early Mathematics: What Teachers Know and How It is Associated with Teaching and Learning, Dr. Zhang examined a critical issue for effective teaching in early mathematics: pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) that teachers possess. Her study highlights the critical importance of and need for helping early childhood professionals to improve their understanding of how to teach math in order to advance students’ learning. Dr. Zhang received a Vote of Distinction Award for her dissertation.