College of Education *
College of Education *

Research

 

Counseling Psychology, School Psychology, and Counselor Education (CoPE)

A Longitudinal, Mixed-Method Test of a Social Cognitive Model of Women’s Adjustment to STEM Majors:  Building an Empirical Foundation for Theory-Based Interventions
Principal Investigator: Robert W. Lent, Ph.D.; Co-Principal Investigator: Matthew J. Miller, Ph.D.
There is widespread recognition of the need to attract more women and students of color to, and to enable them to persist in, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in the U.S. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) has proven to be a heuristic framework for understanding women’s and men’s interest in, choice of, and performance and persistence in various academic and career fields. The theory has been studied extensively in the context of STEM academic options and major choices. Lent and Brown (2006) recently presented a new SCCT model of satisfaction in, and adjustment to, educational and occupational environments. This research project, funded by the National Science Foundation, tests the new model within a longitudinal study of students at two predominantly White and two historically Black universities. The project focuses on women’s and men’s transition to, and persistence within, the STEM environment over a three-year period.

Temperament, Emotion Understanding, Social Competence, and Executive Functions
Principal Investigator: Hedwig Teglasi
The role of temperamental predispositions as risk factors in the development of psychopathology and resilience is widely recognized. Temperament influences our interactions within our various environments. Consider how you might experience (or even recall) an interaction differently when you are in an unhappy versus happy mood. Our research team is investigating the links between temperament and important resources for effective interactions with the world, including emotion understandings, social skills, and executive functions, requisites for school readiness. With preschool and kindergarten students, teachers, and parents, we are investigating: (a) ways to measure and conceptualize emotion understanding; (b) informant discrepancies in rating scale/questionnaire measures of children’s temperament, social competence, and executive functions; (c) discrepancies in the measurement of executive functions across different types of performance tasks; (d) relations among temperament, emotion understanding, social competence, and executive functioning as measured in different ways; (e) the use of narrative (stories) as the language of experience to assess concepts like theory of mind, emotion understanding, self-regulation, executive functions, and social problem-solving; and (f) potential linkages of temperament, emotion understanding and social competence to mental health and development.

Stories about Experiences of Beginning Professionals (Teaching Interns) and Reported Stress Reactivity and Coping Efficacy
Principal Investigator: Hedwig Teglasi, Co-Principal Investigator, Jill Jacobson 
Given the high attrition among early career teachers, we initiated this project in collaboration with the coordinators of student-internships in elementary education at UMD, with the aim of improving our understanding of day-to-day experiences in their school placements. As is generally the case with professional preparation programs, the “internship” year is a challenging one, filled with new experiences that require relatively inexperienced professionals to make ongoing judgments and decisions. Whereas prior research documenting teachers’ stress and burnout rely heavily on self-report, we employ a variety of measures, including interns’ stories about a range of experiences, in their classrooms and elsewhere. Self-report questionnaires, often used to gather specific information about what is stressful and what coping strategies are used, separate these aspects from the whole experience, conveyed by stories. We address three sets of questions: a) what can we learn from different measures about stress reactivity and coping; b) how can this knowledge be useful to teacher–preparation programs; and c) how can we harness the power of the story form, which provides an organizational structure, to enable individuals to reflect on the stream of subjective experiences, recognize patterns, and establish a sense of purpose and agency as teachers.

Links among Temperament, Emotion Understanding, Social Competence, and Executive Functions
Principal Investigator: Hedwig Teglasi
This project has multiple components that are being investigated by Teglasi and student team members. Specific research questions pertain to: (a) Measurement and conceptualization of emotion understanding; (b) Informant discrepancies in rating scale/questionnaire measures of children’s temperament; (c) Discrepancies in constructs measured by tasks that set different performance demands; (d) Relations among temperament, emotion understanding, social competence, and executive functioning; (e) Narrative (stories) as the language of experience may be used to assess concepts like theory of mind, emotion understanding, self-regulation, executive functions, and social problem-solving; and, (f) Potential linkages of temperament, emotion understanding and social competence to developmentally important concepts.

Refugee Teacher Training and Consultation in Malaysia
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Colleen O’Neal

A refugee school can serve as a place of healing, hope, and learning. With recent funding from the US State Department’s Fulbright Alumni Engagement Innovative Fund (AEIF), Colleen O’Neal has teamed up with other former Fulbright alumni from around the world to help refugee teachers improve their students’ socioemotional and academic functioning. The goals of the study are to: (1) Train refugee teachers to manage refugee students’ emotions, attention, and behavior, (2) Use a sustainable “Refugee Teachers Train Refugee Teachers” model to help trained refugee teachers mentor new teachers, (3) Conduct in-class consultations with refugee teachers, (4) Evaluate the program using quantitative and qualitative research, and (5) Document the program via film, blog, and written reports.

Click HERE to view the refugee study blog.

The Development and Validation of the Critical Consciousness Scale
Principal Investigator: Richard Shin
In this project, I am gathering data to examine the psychometric properties of a scale I have developed to assess one’s levels of critical consciousness. The purpose of the scale is to measure the subtle distinctions between those individuals who take a well intended but more superficial position towards critical consciousness and social justice and those who have more complex and nuanced understandings and behaviors.

The Identification of Resiliency Factors related to Academic Achievement among Youth of Color who live in Under-Resourced Communities
Principal Investigator: Richard Shin

The primary purpose of this research project is to document the sources of strength and protection available to youth of color in urban contexts. Specific protective factors I have examined using quantitative methods include peer support, positive ethnic identity, and neighborhood satisfaction.

The Impact of the Maryland DREAM Act on University Policies, Support Services, and the Academic Success of Undocumented Latina/o Students
Co-Principal Investigators: Michelle Espino, Ph.D. and Colleen O’Neal, Ph.D.
The aims of this interdisciplinary pilot study are to (1) replicate psychometric studies of psychosocial measures with a Latina/o sample; (2) relate grit and emotions to engagement, grades, discrimination, and stress; and (3) determine how psychosocial and academic factors, as well as the use of support services on college campuses differ for documented versus undocumented Latina/o students.  This study is multilevel, examining U.S.-born, Latina/o students and undocumented Latina/o students, political change such as the implementation of SB167 (Maryland DREAM Act), and university policies and support services. We will administer a survey to students, and conduct one-on-one interviews with key university/college administrators who are implementing policies or providing support services for undocumented Latino students.  If you are interested in learning more about the study, please visit our website or blog.

The Navigation of Heteronormativity among Heterosexual Identifying Counseling Professionals of Color
Principal Investigator: Richard Shin

The primary purpose of this research project is to explore how persons of color who identify as heterosexual, egalitarian and positively disposed toward LGBT individuals negotiate the oppressive discourse of heteronormativity. In this study, I am using Qualitative Consensual Research methods to analyze and interpret interview data. 

Where Do Gang Problems Develop in Schools?
Principal Investigators: Gary D. Gottfredson, Professor, and Ho Lam (Eva) Yiu, Doctoral Student 
Schools characterized by violence have difficulty recruiting and retaining good teachers. In turn, families with the means to do so migrate away from such failing schools, leaving behind students with fewer resources. The cumulating effect is an increasing level of concentrated disadvantage at these schools and their surrounding communities, which leads to higher crime rates in the communities. Our line of research has shown that students who feel unsafe in school are more likely to join gangs, perhaps spurred by a misguided notion that they would thereby be protected. This research involves a large probability sample of secondary schools combined with U.S. census data on community characteristics and demographic change. We are assessing the extent to which school and community characteristics and demographic change influence gang participation net of a variety of individual student risk factors, including school bonding.  We are grateful for the grant support from the National Institute of Justice and the U.S. Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that made possible the collection of these data.

Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy (HESI)

Advance
Co-Principal Investigator: KerryAnn 'O'Meara

KerryAnn O'Meara serves as Co-PI of the University of Maryland's NSF funded Advance grant and as part of this work, leads a research team studying the professional growth experiences of women faculty. They are studying the differences in work environment of the faculty who stay and decide to leave the university pre-tenure, and strategies both individual faculty and departments and colleges can take to improve the agency faculty feel in their careers to achieve key goals. The research team has a work environment survey implemented in 2011, 2013 and 2015, focus groups, individual interviews and career portraits, focus groups with administrators and participant observations of faculty learning communities and action groups underway.

African Teacher Project on the Underrepresentation of Female Secondary School Teachers.
Co-principal investigators:  Steve Klees, Jing Lin, and Nelly Stromquist
This is a research project focusing on the social and institutional factors that account for the very low participation of women as teachers in secondary schools in many African countries. The project centers on three countries (Uganda, Tanzania, and Mali); through qualitative methodologies it presents the perspectives and experiences of women both as students in teacher training programs and as professionals in the field.  Based on the research findings, the study seeks to design an action plan for education authorities to improve the conditions of women teachers. The study is being financed by MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation, and an anonymous donor ($725,000 for 3 years). 

Assessing the Determinants of Career Choice in Recent Ph.D. Biomedical Scientists from Underrepresented Minority (URM) Backgrounds.
Co-Principal Investigator: Kimberly Griffin

Sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) for $52,868 to conduct a mixed methods study of the factors, forces, and structures related to the career choices of PhD biomedical scientists.  This study emphasizes developing wider understandings of the factors that promote successful transitions into and through postdoctoral appointments to independent research careers.  Our focus is to begin the process of understanding career development for scientists generally, and to specifically identify whether and how the experiences and career decision-making of scientists from underrepresented backgrounds are distinctive from their peers. 

Consultant and Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt.
Sharon Fries-Britt’s research team is comprised of doctoral and masters students conducting research on underrepresented student populations. The research team is currently presenting and writing manuscripts based on data collected through the National Society of Black and Hispanic Physicists from 2004-2009. Each year the research team interviewed approximately 25-30 students, interviewing a total of 162 students. This five-year effort to build a qualitative database of the experiences of underrepresented students is now complete and from this research Dr. Fries-Britt and her research team have published two book chapters, has manuscripts currently in review, and several journal articles in preparation. The team has been examining a range of issues including student interactions with faculty, peers, the influence of K-12 teachers, foreign-born students experiences in physics, and women in physics. The research teams has also worked with the University of Maryland Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering to examine the experiences of graduate students in STEM fields. Recently, the team designed a follow up survey to reach out to student who participated in the original data collection.

Exploring the Educational Experiences of Black Immigrant College Students.
Principal Investigator: Kimberly Griffin

Sponsored by the Pennsylvania State University Africana Research Center and Social Science Research Institute, this qualitative study examines the educational experiences of Black immigrant college students.  While there has been increased attention to the growth of this population on college and university campuses, little work has considered their experiences once matriculating, noting whether and how their experiences differ from their native Black peers.  This work considers college decision-making, engagement in campus activities, perceptions of diversity and climate, and academic experiences, comparing the narratives of Black students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Queering Philanthropy Project
Dr. Noah Drezner
This research project looks at how and if sexual identity affects a person’s philanthropic behavior. Little research exists on many non-traditional communities of potential philanthropic donors. For example, until this project, no empirical research existed on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities’ involvement in and motivation to be philanthropic.  In order to further understand why people engage in philanthropic behavior, Dr. Noah Drezner and his research team have begun a study that aims to examine the phenomenon of philanthropy within the LGBTQ communities as it relates to their experiences and characteristics specifically within the context of giving to higher education. This project includes both qualitative and quantitative data.

The Impact of the Maryland DREAM Act on University Policies, Support Services, and the Academic Success of Undocumented Latina/o Students
Co-Principal Investigators: Michelle Espino, Ph.D. and Colleen O’Neal, Ph.D.
The aims of this interdisciplinary pilot study are to (1) replicate psychometric studies of psychosocial measures with a Latina/o sample; (2) relate grit and emotions to engagement, grades, discrimination, and stress; and (3) determine how psychosocial and academic factors, as well as the use of support services on college campuses differ for documented versus undocumented Latina/o students.  This study is multilevel, examining U.S.-born, Latina/o students and undocumented Latina/o students, political change such as the implementation of SB167 (Maryland DREAM Act), and university policies and support services. We will administer a survey to students, and conduct one-on-one interviews with key university/college administrators who are implementing policies or providing support services for undocumented Latino students.  If you are interested in learning more about the study, please visit our website or blog.

Special Education Program

Adolescent Literacy/Incarcerated Adolescents
Principal Investigator: Jade Wexler

This project is investigating evidence-based literacy practices for adolescents in the incarcerated alternative school setting.  The goal is to enhance literacy outcomes and explore social validity issues for students with reading difficulties who reside in this complex setting. We are specifically interested in not only what evidence-based practices are effective with this population, but also how to most effectively deliver evidence-based instruction in the incarcerated setting.  A related project involves a peer-based reading comprehension strategy designed to improve reading comprehension and engagement for incarcerated adolescent struggling readers.

Disciplinary Writing/Adolescent Literacy
Susan De La Paz, Associate Professor

This project, funded by the U. S. Department of Education, focuses on developing strategies that enable teachers to systematically develop students’ writing in the discipline of history. Disciplinary literacy has emerged as a pathway to advance students’ literacy skills and subject matter learning. We know that writing essays in history can improve students’ understanding of the content, enhance their ability to integrate content from sources with their own thinking, and promote historical thinking. Participating students included those with special needs, students learning English as a second language, basic and struggling readers, as well as those who are proficient and advanced readers.

Reading Buddies
Dr. Rebecca Silverman, Dr. Melinda Martin-Baltran, and Dr. Megan Peercy
Drs. Silverman, Martin-Beltran, and Peercy of the University of Maryland lead a $1.5 million dollar grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to develop a cross-age reading buddies program with fourth grade and kindergarten students focused on vocabulary and comprehension.  The program is meant to support all students, but particularly English learners (ELs), in language and literacy in school.  The program includes teacher-led lessons to prepare buddies to work together and multimedia supports such as video and digital text to scaffold students’ acquisition of in vocabulary knowledge and comprehension skills.  The investigators are using both qualitative and quantitate methods to understand the efficacy and feasibility of the program in local public schools. 

   CoE