Vision & Mission
The long-term vision for CSSR is to be a national leader in facilitating, conducting, and disseminating state of the art research on postsecondary access and success, leading to policies and practices that promote equity and lead to improved outcomes for underrepresented and understudied student populations.
The Center for Student Success Research (CSSR) facilitates research, evaluation, and organizational assessment aimed at promoting postsecondary access and success for underrepresented and understudied student populations. Social scientists associated with the CSSR utilize diverse methodological and theoretical perspectives to produce research identifying institutional and societal factors that limit or promote equitable pathways into and through higher education. Actionable findings and recommendations inform institutions, policymakers, and other change agents concerning ways to improve conditions for student success.
Ryan Wells is Director of the Center for Student Success Research and Professor of higher education. He primarily investigates questions of college access, equity, and success for underrepresented and/or under-researched groups. Topics for recent research include the ways that socioeconomic status, disability, and geographic location are related to college success. Learn more about Ryan.
Dr. Ezekiel Kimball is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Higher Education, and the Associate Director of the Center for Student Success Research in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research explores the PK-20 success trajectories of students with disabilities as well as how learning environments shape student success.
Ling is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program at UMass Amherst. Her research interests include college access and equity, application behaviors, higher education policy issues, and how the interplay between education systems and student characteristics shapes college access. She received her Master of Arts in Social Research Methodology at University of California, Los Angeles and her Bachelor of Arts in Education and Social Policy & Public Service at University of California, Irvine.
119N Furcolo Hall
813 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA, 01002
Dr. Genia Bettencourt is a Research Affiliate with the Center for Student Success Research (CSSR) at UMass Amherst and instructor with the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership and Administration. She earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and a graduate certificate in Social Justice Education from UMass Amherst.
Victoria Malaney Brown
Dr. Victoria K. Malaney Brown’s scholarship focuses on multiracial college students, intergroup dialogue, critical race theory (MultiCrit), and student activism. Victoria's background in student affairs has included residence education, social justice education, student conduct, student crisis intervention, and academic integrity. Victoria is also a new elect to the American College Personnel Association’s Governing Board where she serves as the Assembly Coordinator Elect, Coalitions & Networks.
Jonique R. Childs is an assistant professor in the College of Education Student Development program. She received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Iowa.
Darrell Earnest is an Assistant Professor in Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies (TECS) within the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research explores mathematical cognition in school contexts, with foci on learning and teaching as well as professional and curriculum development for elementary school and early childhood.
Dr. Robert S. Feldman is Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He served as interim Dean of the College of Education in 2016-2017. To learn more about Dr. Feldman, click here.
Rachel E. Friedensen
Dr. Rachel Friedensen is an Assistant Professor in Higher Education Administration at St. Cloud State University. Her research focuses on how these pedagogical changes impact the development of engineering identity for undergraduate students. To learn more about, Dr. Friedensen, click here.
Dr. Alexandra A. Lauterbach’s scholarly interest centers on effective literacy instruction for elementary and secondary students with specific learning disabilities (SLD), and effective professional development for teachers of students with SLD.
Chrystal George Mwangi
Dr. George Mwangi is an Associate Professor at George Mason University. Her 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.
Dr. Emily Perlow is Associate Dean of Students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she has worked with STEM students for 13 years. She earned her PhD in educational policy and leadership, higher education specialization, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Emily’s research interests include analyzing systems, processes and cultures that inhibit student success, enhancing the experiences of marginalized populations in the higher education STEM pipeline, and deviant behavior among college populations, particularly hazing, and masculine expression among college men. To learn more about Dr. Perlow, click here.
Dr. Woodman is a Lecturer in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department and Program Director for the Undergraduate Specialization in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services at UMass Amherst. Her research focuses on the impact of a raising a child with a developmental disability on parent well-being as well as family factors that predict trajectories of growth in children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities across the lifespan. To learn more about Dr. Woodman, click here.
Jordan Abbott is a doctoral student in Special Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests include secondary special education service delivery, college-focused transition services for students with learning disabilities, and the transition experiences of students from underrepresented groups. Jordan has a master's in Education and Counseling and extensive experience as a special education teacher and facilitator at the high school level.
Betty is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a Master of Science in Education from The College of Saint Rose, Master of Philosophy in Economics from University of Ghana, and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. Betty is a Fulbright Scholar with over five years experience in college administration and student affairs in Ghana and U.S. She is passionate about researching college access and success for disadvantaged youth, students’ mental health and related issues, internationalization, leadership, higher education and the labor market particularly in Ghana and the region of West Africa.
Jeff Edelstein is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Higher Education program at UMass Amherst. He has been researching the experiences of disabled students in higher education for over 5 years and is a co-founder of the nonprofit the College Autism Network (CAN). He has presented research on the experiences of disabled students in higher education at the annual conferences for the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the International Society for Autism Research, and the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He has a B.A. in Music and a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Florida State University and an M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. At UMass Amherst, he serves as a member of the Alliance Against Ableism and provides ableism awareness training to campus community members.
119N Furcolo Hall
813 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA, 01002
Patricia Tita Feraud-King is a first-year doctoral student and Assistant Residence Director at UMass. She received her Master’s of Science in Higher Education at University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. Her research interests are centered around higher education’s lack of inclusion and access for students of color, professional higher education staff of color, first-generation students, and low-income students.
Mujtaba Hedayet is a Ph.D. student in higher education administration program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His scholarly interests include college access and success, quality assurance in higher education, higher education autonomy, leadership, and management, and higher education policy issues in developing countries. Mujtaba has a background in developing higher education internationally with a focus on strategic planning, accreditation, policy and program development, and university partnerships.
Sadaf Latafat is a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education program and an Assistant Residence Director at UMass Amherst. Her scholarly interests include religion/interfaith work in higher education, campus religious climate for religious minoritized students, experiences of international and domestic Muslim students and pervasiveness of Western Christian worldview within secular spaces in higher education. Sadaf has a background working in university relations and was part of the executive team that planned & established a private liberal arts & sciences university in Pakistan. She received her master’s in Business Administration from Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan.
Catherine Manly is a doctoral candidate in higher education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and she teaches statistics for The American Women’s College @ Bay Path University. Her dissertation research investigates the effectiveness of the use of multiple modalities for presenting course content (one aspect of Universal Design for Learning) for improving student learning outcomes in online courses. She is interested in issues of postsecondary access and success, particularly for students underserved by traditional higher education, and the disruptive changes possible because of online and educational technologies.
119N Furcolo Hall
813 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA, 01002
Koboul E. Mansour
Koboul El Sayed Mansour is a Doctoral Student in Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Koboul earned her Master’s degree in International and Comparative Education from the American University in Cairo (AUC) in 2014. She worked as a college administrator for a number of years in various capacities including Student Conduct, Diversity and Advocacy and Educational Outreach. Her research interests focus on the educational attainment for disadvantaged youth, College Access and Equity, Educational Policy and Reform with a particular focus on Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa.
Kat J. Stephens, Ed. M., is a first year doctoral student in the Higher Education program at UMass Amherst. Her research interests include high-achieving community college students and their transfer choices, and higher education choices of Afro-Guyanese women in Guyana, desiring to study in the United States. Further interests include bi-cultural socialization of Afro-Caribbean descendant students as they navigate American graduate programs.
Erika Tai, MPP is a second-year doctoral student on the higher education track of the Social Justice Education program at UMass Amherst. Erika's previous work for her Master of Public Policy degree and Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies examined the effects of transnational and transracial adoption on undergraduate adoptees' notions of kinship, identity, and belonging. Her current research focuses on the impact of intergroup dialogue on undergraduate students' understandings of social identities.
I'm a first year doctoral student in the Higher Education program after receiving my master's degree from UMass Amherst in School Counseling. I'm from Springfield, Massachusetts and have an interest in working with the Latino Male community in college looking specifically at their engagement with student involvement and masculinity.
Hanni is a doctoral student in Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, Hanni went on to complete a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Bilingual/ESL/Multicultural Studies. A former Fulbright grantee to Hungary, Hanni’s current research interests are centered on the experiences of refugees and displaced scholars in US and European higher education systems.