Dr. Ford


Dr. Bridgie Alexis Ford received her Ph.D. from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana in Special Education.  In 2018, Dr. Ford was awarded Professor Emerita status, University of Akron, LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education.  At the University of Akron, Dr. Ford served as full Professor, Department Chair, and Director of the University of Akron’s Center for Urban and Higher Education. As director, Dr. Ford guided the Center’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board; instituted and administered the Center’s annual Professional Development Summer Institutes in partnership with four urban school districts in Northeast Ohio; and coordinated the Center’s scholarly outreach activities.  With a MS and National Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Pathology, Dr. Ford has also held the position of Speech and Language Clinician (Chicago Public Schools). 

Dr. Ford is the author or co-author of numerous publications in special and general educational journals and two books – Ford, B. A., Obiakor, F. E., & Patton, J. M.  (1995). Effective education of African American exceptional learners: New perspectives. Austin, TX: PRO-ED and Obiakor, F., Ford & B. A. (2002). Creating Successful Learning Environments for African American Youth with Disabilities.  Thousand Oaks: CA. Corwin Press.  Dr. Ford’s scholarly publications and advocacy activities resulted in groundbreaking initiatives enriching equitable and quality educational service delivery for African American learners (and other culturally and linguistically diverse youth) with disabilities.  Three of those initiatives include co-founder and first editor of Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, the referred journal of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)/Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners (1993), co-editor of the first Special issue of Exceptional Children (official journal of CEC) centering exclusively on African American learners with disabilities (1992) and collaborating with CEC toorchestrate an alliance with former Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes to  obtain  Congressional  appropriation of funds to the National  Academy of Science to conduct an-in-depth study on  “disproportionate representation” of  culturally diverse  youth in special education and/or  gifted programs (1998).

Dr. Ford has served as PI, Co-PI or senior consultant on funded-research projects focusing on Teen-age Pregnancy; Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in African American Youth; Asthma Prevention and Management/Community Resources; Culturally Responsive Teacher Training Modules; and Transforming Teacher Preparation Programs.  Dr. Ford has served as associated editor and journal reviewer (present) for Special Education journals.   She has presented numerous papers and/or special strands at international, national, regional and state conferences on equitable and quality educational services for African American youth (and other culturally diverse populations) and their families as well as conducted workshops for schools and other agencies on culturally responsive educational services.

Dr. Ford has held leadership positions in educational organizations at the national and state levels, (e.g., Executive Committee Member, Council for Exceptional Children; Executive Board, Ohio Federation of CEC); and in local community organizations (Big Brothers and Sisters Board; Girls Scouts/Leader & Policy Subcommittee; HeadStart/Parent Trainer; and Women/Children Assistance Program/Board).   Some of her awards include, the Susan Gorin, Council for Exceptional Children award; CEC/Division for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners leadership award; National Black Caucus of Special Educators/CEC leadership award; Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Akron; University of Akron, Minority Student Retention award; Ohio Board of Regents; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated/Educational Advancement Foundation;  and the Ohio Black Women’s Leadership Caucus award.