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Sarah N. Lang, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah N. Lang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Sciences, Program Director for the Virtual Lab School project at The Ohio State University and a Faculty Affiliate for the Center for Education and Training for Employment and the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy.

Dr. Lang’s is interested in strengthening children’s experiences in childcare by examining the network of relationships and contexts in which children develop. Her goal is to ensure the early childhood workforce is well trained and supported so they can provide high-quality, evidence-informed care.​ Her experience as a practitioner and researcher in the field of early childhood education (ECE) informs her work. Lang has utilized qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the experiences of families and ECE teachers, and to identify factors that support ECE teachers’ use of quality practices. Measures Dr. Lang developed during her dissertation work (i.e., the Cocaring Relationship Questionnaire – Parent and Teacher Versions) are currently being used in large national data projects (e.g., the BabyFaces 2018-2020 project).  

Connected to her passion and research interests, she is the Principal Investigator for the Virtual Lab School (VLS) – an online professional development system for child and youth educators. This system integrates evidence-based information on developmentally appropriate, inclusive, and family-centered practices, with adult learning principles, including an emphasis on practice-based coaching, to empower professionals as they build their knowledge and skills around educating young children. The VLS is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and USDA and is the required training system for all military-affiliated childcare staff (28,000+ individuals). To leverage the power of the VLS system within the local community, and investigate its effectiveness within public childcare contexts, the VLS team and Dr. Lang recently completed VLS Momentum, a pilot project that provided training and support to more than 150 ECE teachers in Columbus, Ohio. This work, which was a collaborative partnership with the City of Columbus and FutureReady Columbus, was recently honored by the University Outreach and Engagement Office.

In her time as Assistant Professor with the college, Dr. Lang has been awarded over $4.3 million in funding. One of Dr. Lang’s other current key foci is leading a new research effort awarded through the College’s BIG idea grant competition with Co-Is, Dr. Ansari, Dr. Ford, and Dr. Pasque: Creating Culturally Responsive and Equitable Early Childhood Programs: Investigating Current Practices, Developing and Piloting New Professional Development. Dr. Lang and her colleagues will investigate ECE teacher’s current understanding of culturally responsive approaches, and leveraging the Virtual Lab School platform, will develop and pilot a new professional development course to strengthen early childhood educators’ knowledge and practices relative to anti-racist pedagogy.