History

Our history began with the establishment of the David Lawrence, Jr. Endowed Chair in 2004. Appointed as the first to hold this chair, Dr. Patricia Snyder joined the University of Florida in 2007 with a vision to build transdisciplinary collaboration across campus, including among the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Education, Health and Human Performance, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Health Professions, Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center and other entities focused on early childhood.

By 2010, the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies was founded and grew to be a well-funded center. The Center was formally named the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies in 2014 to honor Anita Zucker, an alumna and global business leader who is a strong early childhood advocate and a generous supporter of the university.

We have grown into an internationally recognized center and we work with many partners who share our vision to ensure equitable and meaningful outcomes for all young children birth to age five, their families and the practitioners who support them.

Anita Zucker Center historical timeline and benchmarks

History

Our history began with the establishment of the David Lawrence, Jr. Endowed Chair in 2004. Appointed as the first to hold this chair, Dr. Patricia Snyder joined the University of Florida in 2007 with a vision to build transdisciplinary collaboration across campus, including among the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Education, Health and Human Performance, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Health Professions, Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center and other entities focused on early childhood.

By 2010, the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies was founded and grew to be a well-funded center. The Center was formally named the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies in 2014 to honor Anita Zucker, an alumna and global business leader who is a strong early childhood advocate and a generous supporter of the university.

 We have grown into an internationally recognized center and we work with many partners who share our vision to ensure equitable and meaningful outcomes for all young children birth to age five, their families and the practitioners who support them.

Anita Zucker Center historical timeline and benchmarks

Timeline

2004

David Lawrence, Jr. Endowed Chair is established.

2007-2009

Dr. Patricia Snyder is appointed to the David Lawrence, Jr. Endowed Chair.

Transdisciplinary collaborations are created throughout campus with the College of Education, College of Medicine, College of Law, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of Public Health and Health Professions, the College of Nursing and Baby Gator.

The Center and partners are awarded W.K. Kellogg Foundation $6M Ready Schools Florida Grant.

Five doctoral students begin training in Early Childhood Studies.

2010

The Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies (CEECS) is formally established.

Dr. Maureen Conroy joins UF as the Co-Director of CEECS.

2011

The Anita Zucker Endowed Professorship is established.

A $4.1M Institute of Education Sciences grant is awarded to support the project, “Efficacy of the BEST in CLASS Intervention for Young Children at Risk for Social-Emotional Delays.”

2012

The Center is awarded the U.S. Department of Education $6.5M i3 (Invest in Innovation) award in Early Childhood.

The first postdoctoral research fellowship training program in Early Intervention in the country is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences.

2013

Partnerships and collaborations continue growing statewide, nationwide and internationally.

150+ postdoctoral, doctoral, master’s and undergraduate students are studying early childhood studies.

2014

Four new transdisciplinary Preeminence faculty are hired.

The Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies is formally named ($5M endowment).

Dr. Maureen Conroy is named Anita Zucker Endowed Professor in Early Childhood Studies.

2015

52 Unified Early Childhood fifth-year students are supported by a $1.2M grant from the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) Office of Special Education Programs (Project Prepare).

A $3.5M Institute of Education Sciences grant is awarded to support the project, “Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers’ Use of Embedded Instruction Practices.”

2016

A $1M doctoral leadership training grant from U.S. DOE Office of Special Education Programs is awarded to support five new doctoral students (Preparing Leaders in Early Childhood Studies and Implementation Science).

A $1.5M Institute of Education Sciences grant is awarded to expand BEST in CLASS to an online professional development model.

Dr. Herman Knopf  joins the Center as a research scientist to advance community-based and collective impact initiatives and strengthen connections with state-level early childhood activities.

2017

The Inaugural Early Childhood National Summit is convened (Orlando, FL).

230+ postdoctoral, doctoral, master’s and undergraduate students are studying early childhood studies. 

The Center has garnered $23M in federal research funding (2007–2017).

Center members join with community partners to help break ground on new Wes Eubanks CHILD Center for Early Learning

2018

Based on the outcomes of the Early Childhood Summit, the Center launches a symposium series of public discussions. Rud and Ann Turnbull, co-founders of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas, lead the inaugural symposium on core concepts in disability and early childhood policy and family partnership. At our second symposium, Stacie G. Goffin, Ed.D., delivers a keynote presentation and leads focused discussions around current efforts to professionalize the workforce.

2019

Building on the success of the first two symposia, the Center partners with the UF College of Journalism to bring David Lawrence, Jr. to discuss his book A Dedicated Life: Journalism, Justice and a Chance for Every Child (2017) as well as his career in journalism and his dedication to education over the years. The fourth symposium, led by Center affiliate Nancy Dowd, is co-sponsored by UF College of Law and focuses on Dowd’s book, Reimagining Equality: A New Deal for Children of Color (2018) and a panel discussion with legal and community advocates.

UF funds the A to Z’s of Early Childhood. This media campaign is created to provide parents, caregivers, practitioners and policymakers short videos and quick tips on how to strengthen children’s development through the 3R’s of Early Learning: Relationships, Repetition, Routines™, all based on the science of early childhood development and training.

The Sunshine State Early Childhood Information Portal, a centralized access to data and information about children, families and early childhood services, is funded through Florida’s Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five.

The University of Florida awards Patricia Snyder with the rare honor of Distinguished Professor. Snyder was only the seventh College of Education professor to ever receive this distinction.

2020

For the fifth symposium, the Center, the Institute for Child Health Policy, the Levin College of Law and the Department of Pediatrics co-sponsor the Virtual Summit on Opioid Use During Pregnancy to cultivate robust discussions around the legal, ethical and social considerations in conducting research on the effects of prenatal exposure to opioids and recruiting and retaining participants for such a study. Led by Center member Matt Gurka and Center affiliates, Lisa Scott and Lindsay Thompson, the summit convened stakeholders within UF and around the state.

2021