Category Archives: Psychological Foundations of Education

Ed Psych, special education receive top rankings

Education Sciences Building
Education Sciences Building

The Department of Educational Psychology and our special education program were ranked in the top 10 of the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate schools. We maintained a #8 ranking in special education and moved up to #9 in educational psychology. The department is part of the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) which ranked 12th among public professional schools of education, 21st among all schools, in the rankings.

CEHD is a world leader in developing innovative programs to address opportunity gaps in child development, teaching, and learning. Consider its outstanding partnership programs with school districts in Minnesota that apply evidence-based teaching methodologies to strengthen schools. Note also the impact of recent groundbreaking research on autism—which Jason Wolff, assistant professor in special education was a part of—has uncovered new patterns of brain development in infants. CEHD’s productivity last year included $44.3 million of externally funded research.

CEHD’s developmental psychology program (Institute of Child Development) was also ranked by U.S. News &  World Report and is #1 in the country.

“Our college continues to reach new heights of excellence in graduate teaching, research, and outreach,” said Dean Jean K. Quam. “We are focused on improving the lives of students across Minnesota, the nation, and the world.”

Learn more about Educational Psychology’s top rated masters and doctorate programs.

Rankings methodology: U.S. News surveyed 379 schools granting education doctoral degrees. It calculates rankings based on quality assessments from peer institutions and school superintendents nationwide, student selectivity, and faculty research and resources, which includes student/faculty ratio and faculty awards as well as support for research.

Psych Foundations undergraduate researchers to train with AERA

Two undergraduate students conducting research with Department of Educational Psychology faculty members in the psychological foundations of education program have been invited to participate in an Undergraduate Student Education Research Training Workshop put on by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

  • Drake Bauer is an undergraduate student majoring in life sciences and psychology. Bauer works with two psychological foundations of education faculty members, Sashank Varma in the Cognitive Architecture Lab and Keisha Varma in the STEM Thinking, Reasoning, & Learning Lab.
  • Nikita Salovich, an undergraduate majoring in psychology, works with Panayiota Kendeou—also a faculty member in psychological foundations of education—in the Reading & Language Lab.

Bauer and Salovich will attend the AERA workshop, April 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas. This workshop, led by early career and senior scholars, will give the students an overview of how education research is designed across disciplines, how quantitative and qualitative research methods are used in studies, and how research is applied to education policy and practice. Bauer and Salovich were selected for the workshop based on their strong academic performance, research skills and experience, and potential to contribute to the education research field.

The AERA Undergraduate Student Education Research Training Workshop is part of the 2017 AERA Annual Meeting. Leading researchers and scholars provide guidance to undergraduates as they learn about research. Attendees participate in focused lectures and discussions about education research and attend some general Annual Meeting activities.

Varma, student present research on the origins of numerical abilities to Royal Society

Sashank Varma, associate professor and coordinator for the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, and doctoral student, Soo-hyun Im, recently traveled to London for the Royal Society Meeting on the Origins of Numerical Abilities, a scientific discussion about how when humans acquire numerical competence, we build upon an inherited cognitive foundation. At the meeting, Varma and Im presented their research projects entitled Mathematical insight predicts mathematical achievement in college students1 and From number sense to arithmetic sense: A theoretical and empirical synthesis.2

Co-authors of Mathematical insight predicts mathematical achievement include: Purav Patel, a doctoral student in psychological foundations of education and Rachel Voit, a Macalester College student at the time of data collection and now a masters student in social work.

The Royal Society is a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

  1.  Varma, S., Voit, R., Im, S.-h., & Patel, P. J. (2017, February). Mathematical insight predicts mathematical achievement in college students. Poster presented at the Royal Society Meeting on The Origins of Numerical Abilities, London, UK.
  1. Im, S.-h., & Varma, S. (2017, February). From number sense to arithmetic sense: A theoretical and empirical synthesis. Poster presented at the Royal Society Meeting on The Origins of Numerical Abilities, London, UK.

Anthony Schulzetenberg receives “Thank a Teacher” note from student

Anthony Schulzetenber

The Center for Education Innovation allows students to send thank you notes to teachers who make a positive difference on their achievement and development. Educational psychology Ph.D. student and teaching assistant, Anthony Schulzetenber is already making a difference in his students’ lives, and received a “thank you” note from one of them in an official letter from the Center of Education Innovation. The note reads:

“Thank you, Anthony for your help and patience during the semester! You went through very important stuff covered in lectures with us and explained everything with great examples in our lab. You are the best TA I have ever had. I feel really lucky to be in your lab section. Thanks a lot!” -Yue Zuo

Since 1998, the Center for Educational Innovation has formally recognized unsolicited student feedback and praise to University of Minnesota teachers through the Thank a Teacher program.

Have you had a teacher that has made a difference in your education? Thank them here.

Trevors’ research mentioned in “Learning from Donald Trump’s new rules”

Dr. Gregory Trevors

Dr. Gregory Trevors, post doctoral fellow in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program and the Reading & Language Lab, was recently mentioned the Globe and Mail article, “Learning from Donald Trump’s new rules.” The article argues, “while leaders in the political arena and outside have followed certain time-honored rules for handling controversy and scandals… Trump has not” and shares five “new rules” based on his behavior.

Specifically in Rule 3 of the article, “Persuading people with facts may not work,” Globe and Mail argues that “facts failed to stop” Trump from winning the presidency. The publication supports this argument with Trevors’ research on how new information can threaten its recipients’ sense of identity. Originally covered by the British Psychological Research Society’s Digest, Trevors’ research shows that new information can trigger negative emotions, which impair the understanding and digestion of written information.

Learn more about research being done in the Reading & Language Lab.

Kendeou presents at symposium on reducing impact of misinformation, fake news

Dr. Panayiota Kendeou

Panayiota Kendeou, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s Psychological Foundations of Education program, recently traveled to Sydney, Australia, to present her work on the 12th biennial meeting of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC). Kendeou was part of a featured symposium–organized by two world-renowned experts on misinformation,  Ullrich Ecker (The University of Western Australia) and Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol)–on research advances that reduce the impact of misinformation and fake news. At the event, Kendeou presented her work on the conditions that promote successful change of pre-existing beliefs in the context of her Knowledge Revision Components framework (KReC; Kendeou & O’Brien, 2014).

Dedicated to encouraging and promoting quality scientific research in applied domains, the SARMAC’s purpose is to enhance collaboration and co-operation between basic and applied researchers in memory and cognition.

Learn more about this and other work conducted in Kendeou’s Reading & Language lab.

Johnson awarded APF 2016 Gold Medal for Life Achievement in the Application of Psychology

David W. Johnson

David W. Johnson, emeritus faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology’s Psychological Foundations of Education program, was recently awarded the American Psychological Foundation (APF) Gold Medal for Life Achievement in the Application of Psychology. Johnson received the medal in a ceremony held in Denver, Colorado in August of 2016.

Johnson has authored over 500 research articles and book chapters and over 50 books. He’s a former editor of the American Educational Research Journal and has served as an organizational consultant to schools and businesses throughout the world. His research interests include: cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts; conflict resolution (structured controversy and peer mediation); and social psychology of groups in general. Johnson is active in the field of organizational development and change, and in innovation in educational practice. His work emphasizes the integration of psychology theory, research, and practice.

Psych foundations students to present at annual AERA meeting

Psychological foundations of education students, Kelsey Will, Reese Butterfuss, Bader Moshen, and Nic VanMeerten—as well as post-doctoral researcher Gregory Trevors—will present at the 2017 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting April 27-May 1. The theme of this year’s event is Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity. Presentation topics will include:

  • “Reducing Interference from Misconceptions: The Role of Inhibition in Knowledge Revision,” Reese Butterfuss
  • “Exploring Student Engagement in an Augmented Reality Game,” Nic VanMeerten
  • “The Role of Quality Explanations in Knowledge Revision,” Kelsey Will
  • “Refuting vaccine misconceptions,” Gregory Trevors

Learn more about AERA’s Annual Meeting.

 

Nic VanMeerten, psych foundations student, hosts Games Research Forum

Nic_VanMeerten-thumbnailOn December 2nd, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Digital Games and Learning Research Collaborative led by Nic VanMeerten, Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, hosted a Games Research Forum that explored how to broaden interdisciplinary research on digital games and learning within the University of Minnesota system.

University of Minnesota faculty members Keisha Varma (Department of Educational Psychology), Lana Yarosh (College of Science and Engineering), and Edward Downs (University of Minnesota-Duluth) supported the effort as part of a collaborative leadership team.

Read the TECHdotMN article “Minnesota’s digital gaming minds meld at Games Research Forum” for a full recap of the event.

Varma promotes positive math mindsets, parent involvement for minority and immigrant families

Keisha Varma, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, is working with Anne Sullivan Middle School, as part of the project GopherMath to design programs to increase parent involvement for minority and immigrant families. Her work is a collaboration with faculty from the Department of Educational Psychology, Institute of Child Development, and Department of Curriculum and Instruction and is funded by the University of Minnesota’s Office of the President and Generation Next.

Currently, Varma is designing programming promoting positive mathematical mindsets, including dealing with math anxiety and supporting math learning in 3rd – 6th grade students. Parents attend monthly meetings that include presentations and small group discussions. Next semester, her work is expanding to include text messaging to support interactions between parents and teachers and encourage curriculum-informed math activities at home.

Three Educational Psychology faculty recognized with endowed chairs and professorships

Recently, three faculty members from the Department of Educational Psychology were honored with endowed chairs and professorships. These appointments— awarded over a period of three years— recognize the professors’ professional achievements and the impact of their work.

Dr. Clayton Cook (school psychology) is the first-ever John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing.  Dr. Panayiota Kendeou (psychological foundations of education) holds the Guy Bond Chair in Reading, and Dr. Michael Rodriguez (quantitative methods in education) will continue in his role as Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development. Please join us in congratulating them on their excellent contributions!

Faculty members in the Department of Educational Psychology hold a total of seven active endowed chairs and professorships.

Learn more about the other endowed chairs and professors of educational psychology.