Denny Taylor (Inducted 2004)
Dr. Denny Taylor is a scholar, author, and activist. She has been continuously engaged in research since 1977 on three continents with families in diverse racial, ethnic and religious groups, living in poverty, in rural, urban, and suburban settings, homeless, in prisons, opioid dependent, and in regions of armed conflict including refugee camps.
Dr. Taylor’s vita is testimony to her lifelong commitment to engage with researchers across the physical and social sciences, and with scholars in the humanities to work together to push down the risks and shore-up the future of humanity. Her scholarship has been highly dependent upon the collaborative transdisciplinary research networks she has established that have required the merger of disciplines to create new conceptual spaces for further scientific thinking beyond the possible perspectives that can be gained from within any single discipline or paradigm.
The concept of "family literacy" originates in Dr. Taylor’s doctoral research, which is now the foundation of family literacy local projects and initiatives in more than 140 UN Member States. Frequently these projects include partnerships between government agencies, UN Agencies, NGOs, the medical and private sectors, and academia, teachers and parents in family literacy initiatives to address specific problems in local communities. Many research reports and family literacy proposals reference Dr. Taylor’s original research and her origination of the concept of family literacy. Of particular note is the 2015 Nuffield Report: The impact of family literacy programmes on children's literacy skills and the home literacy environment; and the EU Report: Family literacy in Europe: using parental support initiatives to enhance early literacy development. Also, see the 2010 UNESCO Report on Family Literacy.
Of particular significance is the meta-analysis of family literacy projects in UN member states, which confirms that many of these initiatives are a conduit for peacebuilding, address the climate emergency, and also focus on the amelioration of many problems and challenges that are captured by the UN SDGs at a global level.
The beneficiaries of these family literacy initiatives and projects are families, especially women and children, displaced families, asylum seekers, refugees, survivors of armed conflict, and families in recovery from weather related catastrophes and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Taylor's transdisciplinary family literacy research combines anthropology, sociology, psychology and education, and crosses over into the physical sciences in her research on the impact of the climate emergency on families and communities, and the urgent need for accelerated action to achieve sustainable development within the next ten years.
Given the global trajectory of Dr. Taylor’s family literacy research it is fair to conclude that she has had a remarkable influence on human societies. Of particular note is the well-documented positive impact that family literacy has had on the lives of families living in countries that have different ideologies and political structures, including the U.S., Russia and China.
Dr. Taylor attributes the global reach of family literacy to the dynamic engagement around the world of many different groups within civil society who are committed to the improvement of the life circumstances of children and their families. She is united with them in the struggle to end all forms of discrimination, ensure equal access to justice, and to the achievement of gender equality. Many global transformative pathways have been established through local family literacy initiatives and projects that have provided an actionable approach of vital importance to peacebuilding, responding to the climate emergency, and to achieving sustainable development.
Illustrative of her worldwide influence is her participation in a global webinar that focused on her family literacy research, and is included in the section of this CV in the section on the Family Literacy Global Peace Project. One thousand two hundred people in more than thirty countries participated in the webinar that was hosted by the Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI). The webinar highlighted the important role that family literacy initiatives have in the struggle to eradicate poverty and to build more just and inclusive societies that can become more sustainable in an increasingly fragile world.
She is the author of many field-based award-winning books that are used by universities throughout the world. In 2013 Dr. Taylor founded Garn Press, through which she mentors writers of conscience and publishes books by teachers and scientists that address some of the most urgent global issues of our time.
In 2019, Dr. Taylor received Columbia's Distinguished Alumni Award and the National Council of Research on Language and Literacy (NCRLL) Distinguished Scholar Award for her lifetime of research. Most recently Dr. Taylor initiated a Family Literacy Global Peace Project, through which she is advocating for international cooperation and multilateralism in U.N. Member States in which there are family literacy initiatives and projects that focus on peacebuilding and responding to the climate emergency and the Sustainable Development Goals.