March 24, 2008 — The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education has hired Dan Berch, formerly associate chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, to be its first associate dean for research and faculty development.
"We are very fortunate to have Dan Berch in this position," said Curry School Dean Robert Pianta. "He has a wealth of experience in federal agencies that support research on education and human development. He has wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary intellectual interests, and a desire to help mentor faculty and students that is a perfect fit for Curry. Not only Curry, but the entire University community will benefit from his presence."
In his new post, Berch will "bring resources to faculty to compete successfully for grants, to upgrade their research skills, to manage projects and to develop research-focused collaborations. A particularly important component of the position is the support to be provided to junior faculty as they develop their research programs and initiate grant-writing activity," Pianta said. "Dan will also help facilitate cross-departmental and cross-disciplinary research seminars and presentations that will benefit faculty and students."
While at the National Institutes of Health, Berch also directed its Program in Mathematics and Science Cognition and Learning. Before that, he served as an executive branch science policy fellow for the Society for Research in Child Development / American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was subsequently appointed senior research associate at the U.S. Department of Education, advising the assistant secretary for educational research and improvement on technical and policy matters pertaining to educational research.
In his earlier academic career, Berch was director of research for the psychology department at the University of Cincinnati, where he also chaired the university's institutional review board and served as research coordinator for the university-affiliated Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders.
Of his latest career move to U.Va., Berch said, "This newly created position represents a unique and very exciting opportunity to assist an already talented and dedicated group of faculty and graduate students in their pursuit of an even higher level of research excellence and productivity in the education sciences."
Berch has published a variety of articles on children's numerical cognition, mathematical learning disabilities and spatial information processing.
He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association's Division of Experimental Psychology and a member of the National Center for Learning Disabilities Professional Advisory Board. In addition, he has served as an ex officio member of the U.S. Department of Education's National Mathematics Advisory Panel, which was formed to advise the administration on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Berch earned his Ph.D. in 1969 from the University of New Mexico. He received his M.A. in 1967 from Michigan State University and his B.A. in 1965 from the University of Michigan.