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Nancy Fichtman Dana earned her B.S. in elementary education, summa cum laude, in 1986 and M.S. in gifted and talented education in 1988 from State University of New York at Oswego. She earned her Ph.D. in elementary education from Florida State University in 1991. Dana taught in the department of curriculum and instruction at The Pennsylvania State University from 1992-2003. In 2003, she moved to University of Florida’s School of Teaching and Learning, where she serves as professor of education.
Dana has earned numerous awards and honors for teaching and research, including Association of Teacher Educators Duaine C. Lang Mentoring in Teacher Education Award (2018), University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship (2012), Association of Teacher Educators 2011 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award (The Teacher Leadership for School Improvement Program), New York Teacher Impact Award (2009), Florida Association for Staff Development Outstanding Staff Development Practices Award (2005) and Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Research in Teacher Education Award (2005).
Dana’s research focuses on practitioner inquiry (also known as teacher inquiry, practitioner research or action research) as a professional learning strategy. She examines the ways this form of professional learning impacts individual educators as well as the schools in which they practice. She has published 10 books and more than 100 journal articles, and she has secured more than $4 million in grants focused on teacher professional development. Dana supports schools, districts and universities in implementing programs of job-embedded professional learning through teacher research and inquiry in several states and countries. Her work on inquiry-oriented pedagogy has been translated into several languages.