Faculty News

Grumet, Vernon-Feagans, Odom retire from School of Education

Three members of the School of Education faculty – Madeleine Grumet, Lynne Vernon-Feagans and Sam Odom – are retiring after years of dedication to the School and to the field of education.

Madeleine Grumet led a 39-year career in education, with a research and writing agenda that explored curriculum theory, the psychology of teaching, often from a feminist perspective, the integration of arts into curricula and other topics.

Portrait of Madeline Grumet

Madeline Grumet

Grumet served the School as dean from 1998 to 2004, and since then as professor of education and in communication studies.

Grumet earned her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, then her master’s in English education and her Ed.D. in curriculum theory from the University of Rochester. In 1988, ten years into her career, she became dean of the School of Education at Brooklyn College, which had approximately 800 undergraduate students and more than 2,000 master’s students. That year she also had published her acclaimed book “Bitter Milk: Women and Teaching,” which explored the psychology of teaching from a feminist perspective.

In 1998, Grumet became the first woman to serve as dean at Carolina’s School of Education.

Grumet developed a reputation for her commitment to women in academia through her scholarship, her administrative leadership and her own mentoring of many women students. During her tenure as dean, the School received an award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education for Best Practices in Women’s Leadership Development and Gender Equity.

In 2008, Grumet received the Willystine Goodsell Award from the American Educational Research Association for her outstanding scholarship, activism and community building on behalf of women, girls and education. AERA’s Division B (Curriculum Studies) gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, saying “Receiving this award places [Madeleine Grumet] in the company of the top scholars and leading contributors to curriculum research worldwide.”

Lynne Vernon-Feagans, the School’s William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood, Intervention and Literacy, led an almost 50-year career devoted to research and teaching aimed at improving educational opportunity for children.

Portrait of Lynne Vernon-Feagans

Lynne Vernon-Feagans

A Carolina bachelor’s degree graduate, Vernon-Feagans earned her Ph.D. in psycholinguistics from the University of Michigan. She then did post-doctoral work in clinical psychology and speech and hearing sciences in a Carolina unit that was the predecessor to the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, the start of a professional relationship that would extend across her career.

She first joined the School of Education as a faculty member in 1982, but left to run the graduate program in human development at Pennsylvania State University in 1986 where she also served as interim department head.

During 15 years at Penn State, she rose through several administrative positions, including service as the associate dean for research and then interim dean of the College of Health and Human Development.

In 2001, she returned to Carolina and the School of Education, where she has been since.

Over the span of her career, Vernon-Feagans has led a productive research agenda. She was a participant in the Abecedarian Early Intervention Project, studying children’s use of language in their classrooms and in their out-of-school lives. She was a leader of the Family Life Project, which, among other things, illuminated the effects of rural poverty on children. Vernon-Feagans also developed and led the Targeted Reading Intervention, which studies an intervention to help teachers in early grades better help struggling readers.

Sam Odom has been a professor of education while also serving for the past 11 years as director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Portrait of Sam Odom

Sam Odom

Odom is the author or co-author of over one hundred publications and editor or co-editor of eleven books on early childhood intervention and developmental disabilities. His research has addressed topics related to early childhood inclusion and preschool readiness although most of his current research focuses on autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Odom was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Educational Programs for Young Children with Autism, which published a report on effective educational programs for young children with ASD. He also was a member of the committee that developed the 10-Year Roadmap for Autism Research coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

His recent research articles have addressed the efficacy of a variety of focused intervention approaches for children with ASD. Odom is the Principal Investigator of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, the ASD Toddler Initiative: Promoting the Use of Evidence-based Practices for Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the Center on Secondary Education for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders.

In 2007, Odom received the Special Education Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, and in 2011, he received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the University of Washington College of Education. He also received the 2013 Arnold Lucius Gesell Prize from the Theodor Hellbrugge Foundation. Last year, Odom was awarded an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University.