Associate Professor, Education (Class III)
Dr. Harriet Able is an associate professor of Early Childhood and Special Education in the School of Education where she teaches courses focused on families of at-risk children and youth, special education and interdisciplinary teaming. Able’s research and Faculty Engaged Scholars project centered on family empowerment and at-risk youth in two school communities. The first project was a service-learning initiative with three Title I elementary schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in which students spent 30 hours providing support to immigrant families and their children. In addition, Able and her students provided tutoring and after school support to these children as well as family education sessions to empower families to be advocates for their children.
Her second project focused on an initiative in Orange County Schools where she engaged in focus groups with interdisciplinary educators and parents of youth with high-functioning autism who are placed in fully inclusive educational classrooms, but who have social skill needs. These focus group interviews have led to a family and youth centered intervention. The intervention focuses on meeting the social support and skill needs of adolescents in middle and high school settings with the aim of reducing bullying of these youth.
“The Faculty Engaged Scholars program helped me develop a greater appreciation for interdisciplinary and community collaboration. I have realized that multiple stakeholders with varying levels of expertise can truly enhance a research and community development effort leading toward meaningful change for children, youth and families in 21st century schools.”