Patricia Snyder Named UF Distinguished Professor

The University of Florida has awarded Patricia Snyder with the rare honor of Distinguished Professor. Snyder, only the seventh College of Education professor to ever receive this distinction, is one of three named this year university-wide.

Holly Lane, associate professor and director of the School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies, describes Snyder as, “one of the world’s most respected voices in the field early childhood studies. Her entire career has been truly distinguished, and the work she has led through founding and nurturing the growth of the Anita Zucker Center has firmly established UF as a leader in the field.”

The title of Distinguished Professor is reserved for professors that have had a significant impact on their discipline or field and is, according to UF guidelines and description of the award, “intended to recognize a sustained and exemplary record of accomplishment across all three domains of the UF mission, including scholarly activity, educational and outreach contributions, and service to both the University and the field in which the candidate works.”

“Dr. Snyder is internationally and nationally recognized for her leadership in transforming the field of early intervention and early childhood special education through innovative research,” stated Glenn Good, dean of the UF College of Education, “Her scholarship has played pivotal roles in illuminating interventions for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with or at risk for disabilities or those with social and behavioral challenges. She has clearly guided the early childhood profession.”

Snyder has influenced the field of early childhood studies for more than 40 years, before it was even acknowledged as such. She began her career in the area of audiology and speech pathology, but she broadened her impact, becoming one of the most respected researchers in the fields of early childhood, special education and early intervention.

Currently, Snyder is the Director of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies and the inaugural recipient of the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies. She is a professor of special education and early childhood studies in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies at the College of Education. In the College of Medicine, she is an affiliate professor of pediatrics and an affiliate faculty member of the Institute for Child Health Policy. Snyder is widely regarded for her research focused on developing, validating and evaluating interventions for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with or at risk for disabilities or those with social and behavioral challenges.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the title of Distinguished Professor, recognizing the immense significance of earning this distinction at the University of Florida,” noted Syder, “One does not achieve this honor acting alone, so it is important for me to acknowledge those who have contributed importantly to my professional achievements over many years. These include my mentors, valued colleagues within the Anita Zucker Center, a network of current and former students, community- and state-level partners, national and international research collaborators, and supportive leadership within the College of Education and at the University of Florida. Special acknowledgement is due to David Lawrence Jr. and Anita Zucker for their unwavering support of early childhood initiatives at the University of Florida, which have contributed importantly to my and others’ successes.”

Past Distinguished Professor awardees from the College of Education include: Paul Sindelar, regarded as world renowned for research in the special education teacher labor market and its implications for policy makers and teacher educators; Paul George, known as one of the founders of the middle school movement; Cecil Mercer, a giant in his field during his 31-year tenure on the COE special education faculty; Joe Wittmer, former chair of the Counselor Education department for 18 of his 37 years with the college; James Wattenbarger, was known widely as the “father of Florida’s community college system” after his dissertation was used as a system blueprint in the late 1950s; and Mary Budd Rowe, a science education professor who spent 24 years on the COE faculty, was a former UF Teacher of the Year.


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