Our Story: A 20-Year History

The Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Research Center (ECRC) was established in 1999 by the College of Education and Human Development to conduct and disseminate research about the development and education of young children. It was originally named, "Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Early Childhood Initiatives and Innovations"; however, over the years, it has simply become known as the U of L ECRC.

From the beginning, the ECRC was designed to be a gathering space for a group of interdisciplinary researchers to explore challenges and solutions in the education of young children as well as an ongoing effort to engage in original and collaborative research endeavors to better understand the lives of children..

The ECRC has benefitted from the leadership and guidance from many prolific scholars in the field of early childhood education and development. The ECRC was under the direction of the Ashland-Nystrand Endowed Chair, Dr. Victoria Molfese (1999-2011), followed by Dr. Kathryn Whitmore Barten (2012-2017), then Dr. Lori Norton-Meier (2018-2020), and Dr. Ginevra Courtade (2017-2020). To explore the two decades of work in the ECRC, follow the Research section of our webpage. To receive updates on our current studies, follow us on social media.

We work closely with the Early Learning Campus (ELC) to create a state of the art research and teaching and teacher learning facility where children, parents, teachers, and researchers contribute to the research process and dissemination of research findings.

Our mission statement from the conception of the ECRC is this:

The Center's mission is to encourage research activities by faculty within the CEHD and in departments from across the university and the nation with complementary research strengths in areas such as early and middle childhood education, family therapy, music, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, public policy, speech pathology, social work, and teacher preparation.