Current Faculty Research

Curriculum Studies

Dr. Sarah Stitzlein, Associate Professor of Curriculum Theory, is examining new laws that allow parents to engage their conscience to remove children from curriculum that they find offensive.  These laws indicate a shift in parent school choice rationales and likely legislation.  Moreover, they raise some points of conflict with the public nature of education in a democracy.  Early findings were shared at the Philosophy of Education Society conference in March 2013.

Early Childhood Education

Dr. Victoria Carr, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education and Human Development and Director of the Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center is Principle Investigator for a National Science Foundation grant titled PlayScapes: Designed Nature Environments to Promote Informal Science Learning (2011-2013). This project investigates preschool children’s behaviors, attitudes about science, and learning outcomes during and after self-directed play at two premiere Cincinnati PlayScapes, one at the Cincinnati Nature Center and the other on the UC campus. Co-investigators on this project are Dr. Cathy Maltbie, Evaluation Services Center, Rhonda Brown, CECH Developmental and Learning Sciences, and Dr. Heidi Kloos. A&S Psychology.

Dr. Jon Lee, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, works as co-investigator on projects focusing on motivational techniques to enhance parent and teacher use of positive behavioral support principles to interrupt the cycle of coercive interactions typically seen with young children who demonstrate serious school adjustment, behavioral, and learning challenges. The research group, which includes the Universities of Louisville, Oregon, and the Oregon Research Institute are completing work on a three-year intervention development grant (IES R324A090237) that has demonstrated promising results and is the subject of an IES efficacy trail grant application (submitted-funding decision pending). As well, the group is piloting a school personnel training and support module that will be the subject of a training and professional development grant

Dr. Sally Moomaw, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, is collaborating with consultants from Math Works! to chart growth in the development of number sense in preschool children in several schools in Minnesota. Math Works! is funded by the St. Paul Foundation. Findings will be presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference in San Francisco in late April, 2013.

Educational Studies

Dr. Vicki L. Plano Clark, Assistant Professor of Research Methodology, is collaborating with nursing researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco to understand the process and impact of a psycho-educational intervention to help cancer patients manage their cancer-related pain.  The study design is a randomized clinical trial (RCT) that includes longitudinal quantitative and qualitative databases.  Their research efforts focus on empirical questions about patients' experiences and outcomes and methodological questions about strategies for embedding qualitative methods in RCTs and integrating longitudinal mixed methods databases.  (Information on article)

Dr. Marcus L. Johnson, Assistant Professor, has several research projects in progress that center around “motivation in education.” Alongside doctoral students and researchers both at UC and across the U.S., Dr. Johnson is exploring the academic motives of adult learners, as well as preservice teachers’ beliefs about motivational instructional strategies. In addition to these primary areas of research, Dr. Johnson is engaged in research through the Developmental and Learning Sciences Research Center that is exploring common misconceptions learners have in informal science education settings, as well as learners’ attitudes towards a burgeoning area of research known as Educational Neuroscience.

Dr. Sam Stringfield, Director of the School of Education, is working with Professors David Reynolds (University of Southampton, UK, and Gene Schaffer, University of Maryland--Baltimore County on a book regarding their 15-year efforts to improve student achievement in three districts in Wales.  Stringfield is working with Dr. Tom Shelton, Superintendent of the Fayette County (Lexington, KY) schools to bring the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement to Cincinnati in January 2015. 

Dr. Lihshing Leigh Wang, Professor of Quantitative Research Methodology, is serving as psychometric and statistical consultant to Mathematica Policy Research in collaborating with University of Illinois at Chicago on a $14,000,000 grant funded by the US Department of Education. This 5-year project uses latent variable and latent trait models (including item response theory, factor analysis, and structural equation modeling) to measure teaching quality and student learning and conducts a multilevel longitudinal analysis to identify effective educational practices in improving early-year cognitive development.

Literacy and ESL

Dr. Haiyang AiAssistant Professor, is in Literacy and Second Language Studies in the School of Education. His research primarily focuses on corpus linguistics, computer-assisted language learning, and second language acquisition. One of his recent research projects involves the development of a corpus-informed computer-assisted language learning system that provides corrective feedback to ESL/EFL students in the area of collocation in second language writing.

Dr. Mary Benedetti, Associate Professor of English as a Second Language, is leading several research studies in collaboration with her graduate advisees.  One is a comprehensive analysis of the English language needs of international students enrolled at the University of Cincinnati.  Another study examines how short-term study abroad experiences promote a sense of cultural humility and “otherness” in pre- and in-service teachers.  A third study uses discourse analysis to examine successful and unsuccessful moves in undergraduate international students’ writing placement essays. 

Dr. Holly Johnson, Associate Professor, is in Literacy and Second Language Studies.  Her research interests include adolescent and children's literature; Global literature, and; Disciplinary literacy.  Her most recent work includes the co-authored, Essentials of Young Adult Literature (3rd Ed) as well as the forthcoming edited book entitled, Reframing Perspective: Critical Content Analysis of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, and a discussion of “The Social Responsibility of the Reader: Becoming Open to Global Perspectives” in the forthcoming Reframing Curriculum: Reading the World through Literature. 

Dr. Connie Kendall Theado, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the School of Education, is launching an archival research project focused on the 1917 Literacy Test—our nation’s first large-scale, federally mandated, and “high stakes” test of literacy—in its connections with early 20th century immigration law and the ongoing process of nation-building. An extension of previous research, this project investigates the continuities and discontinuities between the legal protocols for the construction of test cards and the ways in which literacy testing was actually conducted in the Great Hall at Ellis Island. The project’s outcome will be a comparative rhetorical analysis of the original test cards in an effort to wage a counter-narrative to the discoursed history of high-stakes literacy testing in the US and a more nuanced view of the terrain of nation-building, particularly the costs and benefits of legislative attempts to unify a citizenry via their language and literacy practices.

Dr. Susan Watts-Taffe is an Associate Professor of Literacy & Second Language Studies. Her interests are vocabulary learning and teacher professional development in culturally diverse settings. Recent projects include work with fifth- through eighth-grade teachers and their students in a small urban school and work with teen youth and volunteers in an after school program at WordPlay Cincy, a non-profit creative writing and learning center. Her recent publications include Literacy Teacher Education Online: Tools, Techniques, and Transformations (with L. Clarke; Teachers College Press) and Teaching Academic Vocabulary K-8: Effective Practices Across the Curriculum (with C. Blachowicz, P. Fisher, & D. Ogle; Guilford).

Dr. Cheri Williams (Professor of Literacy & Second Language Studies) and colleague Dr. Connie Mayer (York University, Ontario) recently published a comprehensive review of the research literature on "Writing in Young Deaf Children." The article was published in Review of Educational Research, the #1 journal in the fields of education and educational research. 

Special Education

Dr. Stephen D. Kroeger, Associate Professor of Special Education, is collaborating with University of Cincinnati faculty members and undergraduate students regarding the development of culturally relevant pedagogy. Preliminary findings indicate that in spite of the cultural isolation of many of our preservice teachers, many are able to deepen awareness of how to undo racism in order to influence teaching practice. An examination of impact on student achievement will also be conducted. The project began in 2007 with a 325T Federal OSEP Grant that supported program restructuring with the aim at cross-program integration. 

Instructional Design and Technology

Dr. Janet Zydney, Associate Professor in Instructional Design and Technology, is studying the use of online protocols in improving the depth of discussion and student interaction/connection.  Protocols are structured ways of having conversations that promote equity, multiple perspectives, and shared cognition. Dr. Zydney recently published a book on protocols with Teachers College Press called Going Online with Protocols: New Tools for Teaching and Learning.  And, she is continuing to collect data with different learners and in different settings.