UMass Amherst College of Education Faculty Research

Faculty Research Interests by Department

Department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration

Department of Student Development

Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies


Department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration

Benita J. Barnes
Benita J. Barnes' research is concerned with international higher education, millennial-aged college students, college athletics, graduate education, and advisor/advisee relationships.

Joseph B. Berger
Joseph B. Berger’s work focuses on higher education policy, organization and leadership, the impact of higher education on key stakeholders, comparative higher education, and the development of higher education in various national contexts. He is committed to social justice and promoting equity and excellence in higher education within and across local, national and international communities. Internationally, he has provided leadership for large scale, externally-sponsored projects in Malawi, China, Russia, Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and consulted with institutions in Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Qatar, Peru, Poland, Philippines, and Somalia.

Jeffrey Eiseman
Jeffrey Eiseman's research focuses on building leadership and critical thinking skills and habits, and helping schools promote social, emotional, and moral development.

David R. Evans
David R. Evans has undertaken research in the areas of educational planning and policy in developing countries, development of teacher education systems in low-resource contexts, creation of a variety of nonformal and popular education methods, understanding the impact of culture on educational administration, and facilitating the development of Faculties of Education. Within the last decade he has been the Principal Investigator for sizeable education projects in Afghanistan, Malawi and what is now South Sudan. He has worked, consulted and managed projects in over 30 developing countries in the last 45 years, providing perspectives which he brings to his teaching and research.

Chrystal George Mwangi
Chrystal George Mwangi's scholarship broadly centers on 1) structures of opportunity and educational attainment for underrepresented populations along the P-20 education pipeline; 2) impacts of globalization and migration on U.S. higher education at the student, institution, and policy levels; and 3) African and African Diaspora populations in higher education. Some of her recent research projects emphasize the educational experiences of Black immigrant collegians; the role of family and community in college access and success; broadening underrepresented student participation in STEM; and higher education cross-border partnerships.

Ronald Hambleton 
Ronald Hambleton’s research interests continue to focus on improving the quality of educational assessments and reporting assessment information in understandable and useful ways to policy-makers, educators, and parents. Currently he has studies underway to (1) improve the way generally unreliable subtest scores are calculated using collateral information, (2) identify examinees who are providing inconsistent test information perhaps because of flawed instruction, poor quality of test questions, or cheating, (3) construct tests using item response theory, and (4) improve methods for displaying test score information.

Katherine Hudson
Katherine Hudson's research focuses on issues of organizational development and leadership in higher education, with a particular emphasis on how institutions approach organizational change.

Sangeeta Kamat
Sangeeta Kamat’s areas of scholarship are: 1) globalization and education reform in a comparative context; 2) the cultural politics of education in postcolonial and diasporic contexts, and 3) the political economy of aid and development in the Third World. Her research is cross-disciplinary and draws from sociology, anthropology, political science and critical geography studies. Her regional focus is South Asia, with expertise on India. Some of her current research is on diversity and equity in public higher education in India; urban education reform and ‘right to the city', and private entrepreneurship in the education sector in India.

Lisa Keller
Lisa Keller's research focuses around areas of K-12 testing, especially in the context of equating and assessing changes in student achievement.  Additionally, Dr. Keller is interested in measures of reliability, especially including generalizability theory.

Ezekiel Kimball
Ezekiel Kimball’s scholarship emphasizes the way that social processes and structures influence people’s thinking, behavior, and values. His research agenda explores how students, faculty members, and student affairs practitioners decide what is true. The two topical foci of his research agenda are: 1) the way that scholarly knowledge informs practice in higher education; and 2) the relationship between college access, choice, and equity in student experience. Incorporating both of these interests, his recent research examines the college-going experiences of students with disabilities.

Christine B. McCormick
Christine B. McCormick's research interests lie in a variety of topics within child and adolescent development, including research on cognition and instruction, metacognition, and learning strategies.

Kathryn McDermott
Kathryn McDermott's research focuses on policies that are intended to produce educational equity in the United States, including their origins and enactment, the politics surrounding them, and their consequences. Most of her research has been on two kinds of policies that have been associated with educational equity: racial integration and diversity, and standards-based reform including performance accountability.

Scott Monroe
Scott Monroe’s research interests involve the development of new statistical models and methods that meet the needs of substantive researchers in education and psychology. His most recent work concerns the measurement of student academic growth. This work can lead to more informed decision-making by education stakeholders with regards to student growth and accountability. Methodologically, Dr. Monroe focuses on latent variable models, such as item response theory (IRT) models and structural equation models. In particular, he is interested in multidimensional IRT models, and the development of goodness-of-fit tests for evaluating latent variable models.

Jacqueline Mosselson
Jacqueline Mosselson's research draws on political, social, and cultural contexts of identity construction, critical psychology, international and comparative education, and cultural studies.

Bjorn Nordtveit
Bjorn Nordtveit's research draws on aid effectiveness in education and development, public-private partnerships, bilateral aid and cooperation in education, and emerging donors. His interests include contexts of adversity, creation of child-friendly learning environments that are protective of vulnerable children, child labor and education, poverty alleviation, and the study of resilience in contexts of adversity.

Sharon Rallis
Sharon Rallis’ research agenda explores organizational capacity building and implementation of policies regarding educational improvement. Her method involves conducting evaluations of programs that aim to enact reform policies, especially those with focus on alternative professional development, interagency and internal group collaborative practices, distributed leadership, or targeted innovations. Her work takes a participatory dialogic approach, often using action research to include stakeholders in program improvement. Rallis’ agenda also considers the on-going ethical practices of researchers conducting applied research that has practical implications.

Jennifer Randall
Jennifer Randall is interested in the impact and utility of domestic & international education interventions and programs for both students and classroom teachers. In addition, her research focuses on applications of the Rasch Model, classroom assessment, as well as innovative test accommodations for students with disabilities and English learners.

Gretchen Rossman
Gretchen Rossman's scholarship has focused on education reform and capacity building at international, national, and local levels; qualitative research design and methods; mixed methods monitoring and evaluation; and ethical research and evaluation practice.

Stephen Sireci
Stephen Sireci's research draws on evaluating test fairness, particularly content validity, cross-lingual assessment, standard setting, and computer-based testing, and appropriate use of tests within educational policies.

Cristine Smith 
Cristine Smith focuses on research in four areas:  (1) professional development of teachers and faculty members in developing countries, (2) adult literacy in the U.S. and internationally, (3) education for girls and women globally, and (4) improving early grade reading in developing countries. Currently, she is finishing a longitudinal study of high school dropouts/GED recipients and immigrants who want to attend college in the U.S., to determine the factors that support and hinder their enrollment, persistence and success in post-secondary education. Dr. Smith is also engaged with colleagues in co-editing a book of articles about supporting faculty development for improved teaching in higher education and in developing a knowledge map of the research and professional wisdom on early grade reading teachers' learning, attendance and change in developing countries.

Craig Wells
Craig Wells' research interests include quantitative methods, item response theory, model fit, differential item functioning, hypothesis testing, structural equation modeling, and philosophy of science.

Ryan Wells
Ryan Wells primarily studies questions of college access and equity for underrepresented groups, as well as resulting social inequality. Topics for recent research on college access and equity include socioeconomic status, immigrant status, and disability status. Dr. Wells also researches topics related to international higher education and higher education research methods.

Rebecca Woodland
Rebecca Woodland’s scholarship is focused on enacting and evaluating PreK-12 systems of job-embedded professional development, a potent school improvement strategy that can have significant positive effects on teachers' content knowledge and instructional skills - the primary variables associated with student engagement and achievement. She utilizes social network analysis and other mixed methods to measure, describe, predict, and visualize the structural conditions that constrain and support inter-professional communication, access to social capital, and the diffusion of innovation in educational and other organizational settings. Dr. Woodland conducts her research in collaboration with district superintendents, school principals, and other PreK-12 educational leaders.

April Zenisky
April Zenisky's main research interests include the reporting of test results, technology-based item types, and computerized test designs. Her work on reporting examines best practices for report development with a focus on user group needs and has explored emerging strategies for online reporting efforts.

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Department of Student Development

Mary Lynn Boscardin
Mary Lynn Boscardin's research interests include special education leadership and administrations with a particular focus on organizational systems and the development and implementation of special education policies and laws as they affect service delivery and outcomes for students with disabilities and their families.

John Carey
John Carey's research is influenced by his interests in counselor education. His work focuses on improving school-based counseling practice through outcomes and policy research. He has recently conducted evaluations of the impact of comprehensive developmental school counseling programs on student outcomes in three states in the US and a College Board-funded study to identify the characteristics of school counseling programs associated with successful college transitions for low income and minority students. He is currently developing and evaluating Tier 1 social/emotional learning-based programs in three different countries and is working with a team of international scholars to develop an International Handbook for Policy Research on School-Based Counseling.

Catherine Dimmitt
Carey Dimmitt's research and scholarship is focused on evidence-based practice in school counseling, school counseling curriculum, school counseling outcome research, linking research to effective practice, and outcomes for intergroup dialogue.

Sarah A. Fefer
Sarah A. Fefer's research and clinical interests include supporting children and adolescents with challenging behavior in home, school, and community contexts, and methods to promote collaboration across these important domains. Principles of positive behavior support and applied behavior analysis drive this work, with an emphasis on prevention. She is currently engaged in a project exploring developmentally appropriate adaptations to school-wide positive behavior supports for adolescents. Additionally, her research investigates biased self-perceptions among students with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with an emphasis on academic, behavioral, and social competence.

Catherine Griffith   
Catherine Griffith's research interests include the development of affirming interventions with LGBTQ+ youth, and identifying best practices in responding to power-based personal violence (PBPV). In addition, she has an interest in technology, specifically the ethical and legal aspects of the professional use of social media.

John Hintze   
John Hintze's current research interests are in curriculum-based measurement, response to intervention, data-based decision making, research design and data analysis, and program evaluation.

John Hosp
John Hosp's research focuses on aspects of implementing data-based decision making and multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS), particularly aligning assessment and instruction. His current projects include developing a curriculum-based measure (CBM) for science content that focuses on academic vocabulary, an app for observing classroom literacy instruction, and a CBM decoding inventory. In addition, Dr. Hosp has done work with the use of CBMs for postsecondary students with intellectual disabilities and the disproportionate representation of students of color in special education programs.

Michelle Hosp
Michelle Hosp's research interests include reading assessments for decoding, data-based decision making in relation to curriculum-based measurement (CBM) and curriculum-based evaluation (CBE).

Korina Jocson
Korina Jocson conducts research in the areas of youth literacies and cultural practices, digital media and learning, pedagogy, and urban education. Central to her work are arts-informed sociocultural approaches to understand and address issues of equity particularly among racially and culturally minoritized youth. Currently, ethnographic studies are underway to (1) examine youth media making and expanded learning opportunities across educational settings and (2) explore school-community connections and pedagogies of possibility through the arts, technology, and multimedia communications. Dr. Jocson is a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning, and a member of the Urban Education Initiative and Center for Youth Engagement in the College of Education.

Michael Krezmien
Michael Krezmien's research draws on emotional and behavioral disorders, juvenile justice, transitions, mental health, school discipline, social and educational inequities associated with race and disability status, and literacy and mathematics education.

Richard Lapan
Richard Lapan's research interests emphasize school-based programs and interventions that promote college and career readiness. Focusing on developmental constructs and factors that have established relationships with success in postsecondary education and the workforce, Richard Lapan addresses K-16 growth patterns that increase student chances for success and satisfaction both in the present and future. One of the important areas targeted in Dr. Lapan's work is the need for effective advisement and counseling services in schools provided by well qualified professional school counselors.

Alexandra A. Lauterbach
Alexandra A. Lauterbach’s scholarly interest centers on effective literacy instruction for students with high incidence disabilities, and effective professional development for teachers of such students. Specifically, she is interested in both content area and disciplinary literacy in inclusive classrooms, recently focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms at the secondary level. She also examines the connection between secondary instruction, inclusive environments, and post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte researches educational practices designed to prevent academic and behavioral problems in schools. She investigates prevention through the relationship of assessment and intervention, researching measures that are used to identify of students with risk factors and evaluation procedures to assess effective instructional programming. Dr. Marcotte’s research draws on academic and behavioral interventions, school-based prevention programs, formative assessment and curriculum-based measurement, Specific Learning Disabilities, and preventative reading instruction.

Sara Whitcomb
Sara Whitcomb's research is centered on the prevention of social-emotional and behavioral difficulties in youth. Her research has ranged from the development of a social-emotional learning curriculum, Strong Start Pre-K and Strong Start: K-2, to testing its effectiveness in applied settings, to developing assessment tools that will enable better understanding of the systems and structures needed to promote school-wide implementation of such social-emotional and behavioral efforts.

Ximena Zúñiga
Ximena Zúñiga's research draws on social justice education, student development in social justice and diversity education, multicultural group processes, inter-group dialogue and relations in college campuses, and action research.

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Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies

Theresa Austin
Theresa Austin's research draws on critical race and sociocultural theories to examine language and literacy policies and planning for multilingual learners from both a critical historical perspective and discursive microanalytical level. Her transnational scholarship addresses ethnolinguistic and crosscultural issues in planning language and literacy curriculum, practitioner formation and inquiry, technology-assisted learning, assessment and evaluation for learning second and world languages (African American English, ESL/EFL,Spanish, Japanese, etc.). She conducts self studies, sociohistorical research, ethnographies of communication, and critical discourse analysis for inquiry to responsibly address the instructional needs of diverse, historically underserved communities.

Ysaaca Axelrod
Ysaaca Axelrod's research interests are in Early Childhood language and literacy development, in particular focusing on emergent bilingual and multilingual children and the intersections between language and identity development in young Latina/os.

Maria Botelho
Maria Bothelo's research focuses on critical literacies, the possibilities and challenges of multiliteracy pedagogies, critical multicultural analysis of children's and young adult literature, critical collaborative inquiry as professional learning, and rethinking school literacy practices through the exploration and convergence of critical literacies, multiliteracies, and Waldorf language arts practices.

Jeanne Brunner
Jeanne Brunner’s research focuses on improving science learning and instruction throughout the elementary grades. In particular, she is interested in the teaching and learning of nature of science (NOS). She has explored factors that affect the teaching of NOS, such as representations of NOS in curriculum materials and the development of educative curriculum materials that explicitly support the teaching of NOS. Her work has also investigated methodological issues in assessing NOS understandings. Dr. Brunner is also interested in the role of language and elementary STEM teaching and learning, both within classroom dialogue and as a mediator of learning with text materials.

J. Camille Cammack
Camille Cammack's research draws on teacher learning, classroom discourse, emergent literacy, and poststructural feminism.

Barbara Colombo-Adams
Barbara Colombo-Adams' research interests include: the influence of children’s media on emerging social perceptions of young children; effects of program design and curriculum construction on children’s learning and engagement in out-of-school time programs; and the influence of gender stereotypes on children’s choice making. Dr. Barbara Colombo-Adams' doctoral research focused on the trajectory of young children's emerging awareness of gender as a social category; and the relations between toddlers' familiarity with children's media characters and their gender knowledge.

Kathleen S. Davis
Kathleen S. Davis' research is focused on issues of equity and reform, science education, and teacher education. Her recent work exams the ways in which elementary and middle school teachers bring inquiry-based practices to their science classrooms and the ways in which students demonstrate their knowledge and skills through such practices. She is the PI of a $2.9 million NSF Robert Noyce grant: S2TLC: Supporting STEM Teaching through Learning Communities.

Darrell Earnest
Darrell Earnest's research draws upon sociocultural theory to investigate mathematics education (particularly in the elementary grades), cognitive development, the role of mathematics representations in teaching and learning, teacher education and professional development, and curriculum design. He conducts research with elementary children in school settings as well as preservice teachers in university settings. His research project, Clock Work, focuses on how children think and learn about time and representations of time in elementary grades. In addition, his Lesson Plan-imation project is investigating how preservice teachers visualize curriculum materials as enacted lessons through the process of animating a lesson.

Daryl Essensa
Daryl Essensa’s research interests include social pedagogy, reflective practice in education and inclusive education.

John Francisco
John Francisco's research interests include student development of mathematical ideas, reasoning, and justification; teacher learning of student's mathematical reasoning; and students' epistemological beliefs.

Sally Campbell Galman
As an anthropologist of childhood, Sally Campbell Galman's research focuses on childhood, schooling and culture. Dr. Galman's research interests are (1) the anthropology of childhood and the study of childhood and gender, especially among children who are gender-creative or gender-nonconforming, (2) gendered experience, including but not limited to girl culture, carework and motherhood, 3) the working lives of female primary school teachers, their practices and discursive habits in the classroom, and the way they make sense of doing carework. Her current ethnographic projects are a study of imaginative play and peer culture in early childhood school spaces, and a study of transgender children ages 3-10 and their families. 

Margaret Gebhard
Meg Gebhard's research agenda centers on understanding the academic literacy development of English language learners, teachers' professional development, and the discourses of educational reform in the United States. Her work is informed by an institutional perspective of second language learning with a focus on analyzing how classroom practices shape and are shaped by the contexts of public schooling in the United States, particularly schools engaged in reform efforts. 

Keisha L. Green
Keisha L. Green's scholarly interests are in English education, youth literacy practices across school, home, and community contexts, critical literacy and critical pedagogy. 

Linda L. Griffin
Linda L. Griffin’s research and scholarly interest for nearly 25 years has been on the teaching and learning of sport related games through a games-centered approach grounded in constructivist learning. She has co-authored several books and articles with her 1997 first co-authored book, Teaching Sport Concepts and Skills: A Tactical Games Approach, and is now in its third edition. Linda has also co-edited two books on this topic with colleague Joy Butler from the University of British Columbia. Linda has been a keynote speaker, presented her research and conducted workshops all over the world on this topic.

Claire Hamilton
Claire Hamilton's research draws on her interests in applied developmental psychology, children's relationships with parents, peers, and teachers, early care and learning, early childhood education, emergent literacy, and social and policy contexts of early learning.

Barbara Hruska
Barbara Hruska is interested in adult learning, specifically how to support teacher professional development. She is also interested in ways in which programs and instructional practices support or constrain academic language development and positive identify construction of English Language Learners in K-12 contexts.

Denise Ives
Denise Ives’ research draws on her professional interests in literacy education, multiliteracies, african american language, critical sociocultural theory, and ethnographic and case study methodology.

John Kudukey
John Kudukey's research is influenced by his interests in secondary science education, science teacher development, and cognitive change.

Sandra Madden
Sandra Madden's research draws on statistics education by supporting the development and understanding of statistical ideas by teachers and students. Dr. Madden's personal interests also include mathematics curriculum design and implementation, pre-service and in-service teacher education such as content knowledge for teaching, beliefs, and practices, as well as the use of dynamic technology for teaching and learning.

Robert Maloy  
Robert Maloy's research agenda focuses on student learning, democratic teaching, and technology-based educational change in K-12 schools. He is also interested in the processes and practices of preservice and inservice teacher education. His work uses the research methodologies of history and sociology to analyze the impacts of innovation and change for individuals and organizations.

Elizabeth McEneaney
Betsy McEneaney’s research focuses primarily on the achievement gap in STEM fields and evaluating diverse approaches to improving teaching and learning in these areas, including the ways that schools can better draw on family and community resources to support this work. Her research includes statistical analysis of large federal and international databases but is also informed by mixed methods approaches.

Martina Nieswandt    
Martina Nieswandt's research focuses on the interplay between motivation, affect and conceptual understanding in teaching and learning science across K-16. Within this research agenda she currently explores the following questions: How do various factors such as student prior science knowledge, interest in the topic, and ability to work and communicate with peers influence student learning in small groups? How does learners' interest and perceptions of competence develop in various formal and informal educational settings (e.g., middle and high school science classrooms, college science laboratory courses, juvenile detention facilities)? How do teachers' science identities affect their implementation of reform-based teaching approaches?

Kysa Nygreen
Kysa Nygreen's research and teaching focus on issues of race, ethnicity, and inequality in education. Specifically, she is interested in how education both perpetuates and ameliorates broader social inequalities. She uses theories and methods from socio-cultural anthropology, sociology, and ethnic studies to examine how people experience, understand, and seek to change education according to different paradigms of educational justice. She is also interested in exploring how public policies and social contexts affect what happens in schools (such as immigration policies, education reform movements, the criminal justice system, and the changing demographics of cities).

Howard Peelle
Howard Peelle's research include mathematical computing and math anxiety.

Florence Sullivan
Florence Sullivan's research centers on understanding the role of collaboration in student meaning-making processes while working with computational media and in online STEM learning environments. Topics of interest include group dynamics, role adoption, gender issues, tool mediation, and equitable opportunities to learn with media and through interaction. Further research interests include the development of computational methodologies for analyzing and visualizing discourse and behavioral data and the development of scaffolded online STEM learning systems featuring simulation and visualization technologies.

Torrey Trust
Torrey Trust’s research focuses on how technology can support K-12 teachers and higher education faculty in designing contexts that enhance student learning. Her research interests include teacher education and professional development, social media, web 2.0 tools, online communities of practice, professional learning networks, and open educational resources. Her research on the implications of teacher participation in professional learning networks has been published in the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, the International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, and ASCD Express.

Nat Turner   
K.C. Nat Turner’s research interests spans the areas of language and literacy practices of culturally and linguistically diverse urban adolescents (particularly African Americans) in school and non-school settings; racial justice/reparations in education; hip hop culture and studies of emergent technologies in community/school/university collaborations. His work is informed by critical race theory, culturally relevant pedagogy and multimodality with a focus on analyzing practices teachers and students engage in that develop multiliteracies and address issues of social justice.

Laura A. Valdiviezo
Laura A. Valdiviezo's research examines policy design and implementation, particularly education policy concerning diversity issues. Her research draws on sociocultural, sociohistorical, and comparative perspectives on language policy, intercultural/ multicultural education, bilingual/ multilingual and Indigenous education. Her comparative analysis is inspired by epistemologies from the south and alternative knowledges. Her ethnographic work in Azerbaijan, Haiti, Peru, and the United States analyzes teaching discourse as reconceptualization of both policy and knowledge about teaching and learning in the context of institutional/education reform. Most of her research takes place in public school settings that serve ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse communities, including Indigenous peoples and speakers of non-dominant languages in the Americas. For more on her research visit:

Ernest Washington
Ernest Washington's research interests include investigating the validity and bias of the Student Response to Instruction, the instrument used to evaluate teaching at UMass, and is currently writing a book, “Character and the Moral Self in the Age of Images: The African American Experience.”

Seon Yeong Yu
Seon Yeong Yu's educational background and research focus on early childhood special education with a particular interest in social emotional competence, challenging behavior, social interaction and peer relationships. Her research studies are concentrated on young children's understanding and acceptance of peers with disabilities, ultimately to facilitate positive peer relationships and friendships between children with and without disabilities in inclusive classroom settings. As a former teacher of young children with disabilities, Dr. Yu is committed to increasing the use of evidence-based practices in the field of early childhood education and translating research into practice.

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