Roundtable Discussion: Helping Practitioners Understand and Utilize ECE Implementation Research in Their Daily Practice


This roundtable webinar addresses issues related to the preparation of early educators and the role of research in their practice. Faculty preparing early educators join in conversation about how early care and education (ECE) implementation research could be helpful in the preparation and practice of early educators and leaders and how to foster collaboration between practitioners and researchers. This discussion also highlights the utility and value of the Foundation’s newly released resource, Getting it Right: The Conversation Guide for Preparing the Next Generation of ECE Practitioners, a companion piece to our 2020 Getting it Right: Using Implementation Research to Improve Outcomes in Early Care and Education publication, for faculty and student practitioners to further learning.

As a resource, this conversation guide supports higher education faculty to initiate and sustain conversations with students about effective ECE practices and policies, what still needs to be learned, and how to deepen our understanding of young children’s development and learning. By understanding and participating in implementation research, practitioners can help shape research agendas in ways that help fill in the existing gaps in our knowledge, especially knowledge relevant to instructional practice.

Learn more about Getting it Right: The Conversation Guide for Preparing the Next Generation of ECE Practitioners here.


Tonia Renee Durden, Ph.D., is a Clinical Professor and Birth through 5 Program Coordinator within the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University.  Dr. Durden’s primary scholarship and research trajectory focuses on exploring how to create racially equitable learning experiences for racially and ethnically diverse children. Dr. Durden’s professional work and scholarship can be categorized into three core areas of focus: Early Childhood Education (curriculum and program development); racial educational equity (research to professional practice); and Early Childhood Systems Engagement (strategic partnerships and equitable systems building). Dr. Durden is committed to using teacher education and research as an informative vehicle towards helping develop educators and leaders who become culturally responsive change agents and advocates in their classrooms and communities.

Jennifer Gilken, Ph.D., has worked in the field of early childhood for over 25 years. She has been a teacher in early intervention programs, Head Start and kindergarten, as well as a director of a campus-based infant-toddler program. Currently, she has the privilege of working with early childhood education students at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City as an Associate Professor and Early Childhood Program Coordinator. Jennifer received her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include examining ways to support the infant-toddler workforce, STEM in early childhood education, and investigating methods that support students’ feelings of belonging.

Diane M. Horm, Ph.D., is the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education and founding director of the Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) at OU-Tulsa. Through the ECEI, Dr. Horm is currently leading several applied research initiatives including program evaluation research in collaboration with Tulsa’s Educare programs. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Network of Infant-Toddler Researchers, a consortium that brings together researchers interested in policy and practice issues relevant to programs serving families during pregnancy and the first three years of life. Dr. Horm completed a Zero-to-Three Harris Mid-Career Fellowship during 2007-2009 to support her work related to infants/toddlers and their families. The focus of her fellowship was building more infant/toddler content into higher education degree programs, including the one at OU-Tulsa. Through her work, Dr. Horm furthers GKFF’s mission through three major activities: building a qualified workforce, conducting applied research to inform local early childhood education programs, and building the capacity for OU to conduct meaningful interdisciplinary research to support young children’s development and well-being.

Yasmin Morales-Alexander, Ed.D., has over 30years experience in the early care and education field. Throughout her career, Dr. Morales-Alexander has served as practitioner, leader, and volunteer in non-profit organizations, the Office of Head Start, and as Instructor at Brooklyn College (CUNY). Currently, Dr. Morales-Alexander is an Assistant Professor at Lehman College (CUNY)and an Education Consultant for early childhood programs in the tri-state area.

Dr.Yasmin Morales-Alexander received her Ed.D in Curriculum & Teaching with a focus on Multicultural and Urban Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2016. Drawing upon sociocultural theory and a funds of knowledge framework, her research explored the family engagement practices of Mexican immigrant families living in a New York City neighborhood. Her research interests and expertise are in young children’s development, family engagement, and pre-service teacher identity development within critical sociocultural


Beverly Falk, Ed.D., is a professor and the Director of the Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education at The School of Education, The City College of New York. She has served in a variety of educational roles: classroom teacher, early childhood center director, public school founder and principal, district administrator, researcher, and consultant - at the school, district, state, and national level. Her scholarship centers on early childhood education, teacher research, teacher education, and performance assessment. Throughout her career her work has focused on supporting understandings about how children learn so as to ensure that our youngest, most vulnerable citizens - especially those from historically underserved, “minoritized” communities - have access to high-quality learning opportunities. Toward that end, she has created the High Quality Early Learning Project, a web-based resource about racially and socially just high quality teaching practices for young children that is generously supported by the Foundation for Child Development.