Vivian L Gadsden, EdD

William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education

Courses Taught

Issues in Education and Health Disparities
Multicultural Issues in Education
Special Topics on Young Children and Families
Assessment of Learning Differences; Families, Culture, and Policy



Brief Bio

Dr. Gadsden began her career teaching developmental English, reading, and educational psychology at Oakland and Wayne State Universities in Michigan. She also worked a research analyst in educational policy at Policy Studies Associates in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Gadsden served for six years as associate director in the National Center on Adult Literacy. In 1994, she became the director of the newly founded National Center on Fathers and Families, an interdisciplinary policy research center focused on child and family well-being. At the University of Pennsylvania, she served as Education Graduate Group Chair from 1996 to 2004 and as Chair of the Faculty Senate in 2022-2023.

Dr. Gadsden serves and has served on national foundation boards and review committees, including the Buffett Institute, the Foundation for Child Development (for which she was Vice Chair of the Board), and the Spencer Foundation; Congressionally mandated review committees; and White House initiatives as well as local boards such as the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Literacy. She also chaired The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Supporting Parents of Young Children, serving as lead author of the Committee’s report, Parenting Matters. Dr. Gadsden was co-editor of the journals Educational Researcher and Review of Research in Education (2009) and is general co-editor for the Review of Research in Education (2023 and 2025). She is a past President of the American Educational Research Association. A former Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow and Resident Fellow, Dr. Gadsden is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, the Reading Hall of Fame, the National Academy of Education, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.