Our Staff and Faculty

Headshot of Jacinda K Dariotis

Jacinda K Dariotis

Director, Evaluation Services Center & Director of Research, CECH & Professor, School of Education

Dr. Dariotis has nearly 20 years of research and evaluation experience in human development and public health, with a particular focus on adolescent risk-taking behaviors and decision-making.  Dr. Dariotis has advanced degrees in Human Development and Family Studies and Statistics.  After serving as faculty for nearly a decade at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Dr. Dariotis now directs the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center.  She brings expertise in evaluation, prevention, and implementation science as well as quantitative, qualitative, biosocial, and survey research methods.  Her background includes public health, community based participatory research, school-based programs, and child and adolescent cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional development.  Dr. Dariotis has worked and conducted research extensively with disadvantaged urban youth and young adults in distressed environments, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA), incarcerated women and men, youth and adults in substance abuse treatment programs, and other at-risk populations.  Her work focuses on risk-taking decisions and behaviors (e.g., sexual, substance use, violence) and how prevention and intervention programs may promote positive well-being among at-risk youth and adults.  Her basic and applied research has resulted in over 40 peer-reviewed publications, 92 presentations, and 60 technical reports.  She has taught both content (lifespan development, human development, family studies, child health and adolescent development seminar) and methods (empirical inquiry, survey research methods, biosocial methods, evaluation methods) courses at undergraduate and graduate levels.  Dr. Dariotis is committed to quality research and evaluation to promote the health and well-being of individuals, families, and society as well as empowering program providers with meaningful and high quality data and tools to make informed decisions about current and future programming.
Headshot of Benjamin M Kelcey

Benjamin M Kelcey

Associate Professor of Quantitative Research Methodologies, CECH Research Methods

3311B Teachers College


My research focuses on causal inference and measurement methods within the context of multilevel and multidimensional settings such as classrooms and schools. With respect to causal inference, I develop and apply methods for statistical adjustment that enable researchers to mount focused, specific analogies of their observational studies to randomized experiments with emphasis on multilevel or clustered settings. In this way, I view statistical methods not as substitutes for random assignment but rather as tools to uncover objective information that will lead to well specified and designed randomized studies. My measurement work is also generally situated within multilevel contexts (e.g., measurement of teaching) and develops and applies methods to address the multilevel and multidimensional nature of teaching and learning. Statistically, these research areas unfold within the context of multidimensional, multilevel and cross-classified explanatory item response models, mixed effect models, propensity score methods, and analogues and extensions of each of these. The confluence of these statistical foci take substantive root in understanding the extent to which teacher and school factors can intervene to promote more effective and contextually responsive classroom and school environments. This work has included the measurement and analysis of teachers' knowledge, instructional quality and strategies, and student achievement to identify and develop methods of effective teaching and to establish links among these constructs.

Headshot of Mark Lai

Mark Lai

As a quantitative research methodologist, my current research interest includes developing and evaluating methods to estimate effect size, understanding the need for multilevel modeling in education, and exploring interpretable ways to evaluate the impact of measurement non-invariance. I am also interested in collaborations in substantive areas such as addiction and child development.

View Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Personal website: https://marklai.netlify.com
Headshot of Vicki L. Plano Clark

Vicki L. Plano Clark

Associate Professor, CECH Research Methods

638N Teachers College


Vicki L. Plano Clark is an associate professor in the Research Methods area of the School of Education.  She advises students in the Quantitative and Mixed Methods Research Methodologies (QMRM) concentration of the Educational Studies doctoral program and the Applied Research Methods (ARM) track of the Educational Studies master's program. 

As a methodologist specializing in mixed methods research, Dr. Plano Clark studies how researchers effectively integrate quantitative and qualitative approaches to address their research questions.  Her scholarship focuses on delineating useful designs for conducting mixed methods research, examining procedural issues associated with these designs, and examining larger questions about the contexts for the adoption and use of mixed methods.  She has written numerous books and articles in the field of mixed mehtods research.  She was the founding Managing Editor for the Journal of Mixed Methods Research and currently serves as an Associate Editor.  In 2011, she co-led the development of Best Practices for Mixed Methods in the Health Sciences for NIH's Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.  In 2012 she became a founding co-editor of the new Mixed Methods Research Series with Sage Publications. She recently served as Chair of the Mixed Methods Research Special Interest Group of the American Association of Educational Research (AERA).

As an applied research methodologist, Dr. Plano Clark also engages in research and evaluation projects on a wide array of topics such as the management of cancer pain, the identity development of STEM graduate students, the professional development of teachers of Chinese, and the well-being of rural low-income families.

Before joining the University of Cincinnati in 2012, Dr. Plano Clark was the director of the Office of Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research, a service and research unit that provided methodological support for proposal development and funded projects at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL).  She also taught research methods courses in UNL's Educational Psychology department.  Prior to that work, she spent 12 years developing innovative curricular materials for introductory physics as UNL's Physics Laboratory Manager.
Headshot of Christopher Swoboda

Christopher Swoboda

Associate Professor & Associate Director of Research Methods, CECH Research Methods

638Q Teachers College


Christopher M. Swoboda is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Research Methods sub-unit in the School of Education.  As an applied quantitative research methodologist, he has focused his scholarship on implementing, evaluating and developing tools for educational, social science and health researchers to appropriately analyze the types of data that are inherent to their field. Amongst other things, these include missing data, causal inference and single-case research designs.