Janice E. Hale, Ph.D.

Janice E. Hale, Ph.D., Founding Director, is professor of early childhood education at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Hale completed post-doctoral study at Rockefeller University, The University of California San Diego and Yale University.  She is a graduate of Spelman College, The Interdenominational Theological Center and Georgia State University.  Dr. Hale is the author of Black Children, Their Roots, Culture and Learning Styles, Unbank the Fire:  Visions for the Education of African American Children and Learning While Black:  Creating Educational Excellence for African American Children.  The latter two were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Additionally, she is author of the Visions for Children Preschool Curriculum.

Biographical Sketch

Janice Ellen Hale was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio.  She is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Phale D. Hale.  Her father pastered Union Grove Baptist Church for 43 years, was a former Ohio state legislator and former chairman of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.  Her mother is an educator in the field of early childhood education.

Janice Hale was educated in the public schools of Columbus, Ohio.  She received the B.A. degree from Spelman College in sociology and elementary education.  She received the Masters of Religious Education degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center with a major in Christian Education.  She received the Ph.D. degree from Georgia State University in early childhood education.

Dr. Hale served as assistant and associate professor of early childhood education at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia from 1974-1980.  While on a leave of absence from Clark, she worked as a research fellow and visiting lecturer in the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at the University of California, San Diego.  She continued her research from 1979-1981 as a Research Associate on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Yale University at new Haven, Connecticut.  She was also a visiting professor in Afro-American Studies at Yale.  Dr. Hale also taught in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and in early childhood education at Jackson State University in Mississippi and Cleveland State University in Ohio.

Presently, Dr. Hale is professor of early childhood education at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  She is also Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of the African American Child (ISAAC), a research center in the College of Education.  ISAAC is a civil rights organization designed to close the achievement gap that affects African American children.

She also created Visions for Children, a research/demonstration early childhood education program that is designed to facilitate the intellectual development of African American preschool children.  She received funding for the research associated with the program from the Council for Economic Opportunities and the Cleveland Foundation for seven years.

She has served as a speaker and consultant to numerous colleges, professional organizations and early childhood education programs across the United States and Jamaica.

Dr. Hale received two grants to travel to West African and study the racial attitudes of African preschool children.  She also participated in a study tour to study African life and culture.  She was a recipient of a grant from the Spencer Foundation to support the study of Black children’s learning styles which was the foundation for her present work.  Supported by the grant, she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to attend a seminar on applications of the work of Jean Piaget for African American children.

Dr. Hale has written numerous articles in her field and has written three books.  Her first book originally appeared in the fall of 1982.  It was issued in a revised edition by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 1986.  The title of her first book is Black Children:  Their roots, culture and learning styles.  She is examining the influence of culture on the learning styles of African American children.

Dr. Hale’s second book was released in the fall of 1994.  The title of her second book is Unbank the Fire:  Visions for the education of African American children.  In this book, she traces the historical factors that influence unequal educational outcomes for African American children.  She further develops her theory of a culturally appropriate pedagogy that can close that achievement gap.  Unbank the Fire was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Hale’s third book was released in the winter of 2001.  The title is Learning While Black:  Creating educational excellence for African American children.  In this book, Dr. Hale outlines her model for school reform for African American children.  She also unveils a plan for the whole village to unite in creating the Beloved Community to support the achievement of children.  Learning While Black was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Hale has been the recipient of numerous honors such as having been named Distinguished Alumna of the School of Education at Georgia State University in 1982, by Ebony Magazine as one of 50 future leaders in its August 1978 issue on the New Generation, and recognized for outstanding contributions to education by the Detroit Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 1994.  In 2007, she was honored with a Spelman College Alumna Achievement Award.  She received the Spelman College Blue Diamond Award in 2008.

Dr. Hale has served as a member of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (1988-1992) and a consulting editor of Young Children (1985-1992).  She has also served as a consultant to the Children’s Television Workshop program Sesame Street and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.

Janice Hale is the mother of Keith A. Benson, Jr.  He graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan in 2010 with a concentration in pre-architecture and environmental science on a full Division I basketball scholarship.  He was two time Summit League Player of the Year; All-American; led Oakland to back-to-back Summit League Championships and to the NCAA tournament.  He was the first player in the history of Oakland University to be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA).  He was the only draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 2011.

Janice Hale’s vita and books