The Dean's Research & Development Fund

Support early development research that has the potential for significant impact on the field of education and long-term economic return to the UVA School of Education and Human Development.

The UVA School of Education and Human Development is committed to improving children’s education based on expertise gained through rigorous research.

Our School has a track record of attracting large federal and private grants to fund major research projects. Yet, early stage education research—especially by newer “rising star” faculty members—is often stymied in its infancy because funding at that level is so elusive. Potentially significant educational innovations can lose traction without adequate financing or go off with faculty entrepreneurs to other universities with better resources.

The Dean’s R&D Fund is a flexible funding source for supporting the faculty’s early to mid-stage research efforts that have significant potential impact on the field of education. Promising results can then leverage the seed funding ten times or more in subsequent research grants.

Faculty IDEA Grants funded by the Dean's R&D Fund

Each award to be granted may cover up to $10,000 in total costs for pilot or small-scale formative studies that show clear promise to yield significant knowledge or that have potential for well-defined future research. The grants are intended for faculty interested in furthering a career path in research or to initiate a new line of programmatic research.

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the proposed research is pilot or formative in nature
  • Significance and potential for advancing the field of study
  • Potential for leveraging external funding to advance the research
  • Innovation in approach, methods and concept
  • Well-specified research problem
  • Feasibility of the conceptual framework, plan, and methodology
  • Experience and potential of the PI to conduct the proposed research
  • Dissemination plans for outcomes and findings

Doctoral Student Dissertation Grants funded by the Dean’s R&D Fund

Each award provides up to $1,000 to cover the direct costs associated with original data collection in support of dissertation research. Studies that show clear promise to yield significant knowledge will be selected for funding through a formal competitive review process. Doctoral Student Dissertation grants are intended for UVA School of Education and Human Development doctoral students (PhD or EdD) interested in furthering a career path in research through original data collection directly related to their dissertation.

2022 IDEAs Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the following SEHD faculty and student principal investigators and their colleagues who were selected to receive grant awards from the Dean’s Research and Development Fund in 2022:

  • Research IDEAs Grant Faculty Awardees

    Jason Allen
    KINE with Co-PIs Sid Angadi and Norbert Leitinger
    Effects of Inorganic Nitrite Supplementation and/or Metformin Pharmacotherapy on Glucose Uptake and Respiration in Cultured Skeletal Muscle Cells
    Approximately 96 million people in the US have pre-diabetes (PD) of which 1/3 will progress to Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) within 5 years. An appropriate diet represents the cornerstone for diabetes therapy. Recommended diets for T2D such as the DASH diet are rich in inorganic nitrate, which has been shown to increase glucose control (mouse model) and cellular respiration (humans). These benefits were absent in humans with PD/T2D. Interestingly these studies had an 80% incidence of metformin usage. Nitrate (converted to nitrite and nitric oxide) and metformin both increase glucose control via AMP kinase phosphorylation and subsequent GLUT4 translocation. Despite both having beneficial effect on glucose homeostasis they may have opposing effects on cellular respiration. While nitrate/nitrite improves mitochondrial respiration, metformin reduces the ability of muscles to make energy efficiently due inhibition of aerobic pathways. We believe that both treatments will get glucose benefits, but nitrite will show a more efficient cellular respiration. We will use skeletal muscle cells from mice in order to examine signals that control glucose, assess cellular respiration and glucose uptake.

    Catherine Bradshaw
    EDHS/Youth-Nex with Co-PI Toshna Pandey
    Optimizing Coaching to Enhance Teacher Implementation Fidelity of Evidence-Based Preventative Interventions in Classrooms
    There is substantial evidence on the efficacy of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in research studies to prevent challenging behaviors from occurring in classrooms (Bradshaw et al., 2010; Durlak & DuPre, 2008; Sutherland et al., 2020). Professional development supports, such as coaching, show promise for increasing implementation fidelity of EBPs in research, however, issues related to the uptake and fidelity of implementation outside of research studies is inconsistent (Dusenbury et al., 2005; Gottfredson & Gottfredson, 2002). Therefore, the overarching goal of this study is to delineate coach-related characteristics that inform coaches’ use and perceived effectiveness of specific coaching activities to increase teachers’ use of classroom-based EBPs.

    Sara Dexter
    EDLF with Co-PI Michael Hull
    Dissemination and Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the School Technology Leadership Assessment (STLA)
    School leaders today are expected to be good stewards for the estimated (pre-pandemic) $26 to $41 billion spent annually on EdTech in PK-12 schools by directing the use of educational technology (EdTech) so it benefits students’ learning. Yet, without a clear picture of what school technology leadership should look like in the context of their school, leaders will be challenged to enact the practices necessary for technology integration to positively impact teaching practices and student learning. The School Technology Leadership Assessment (STLA) conceptualizes in terms of leadership practices for educational technology an evidence-based framework of how leaders best support student learning. The project will contribute to the validity, reliability, and accessibility of the STLA, by completing a confirmatory factor analysis of user responses and updating this web-based resource. Related study will investigate how the STLA results at a school catalyzed leaders for taking action to improve EdTech leadership practices.

    Wintre Foxworth-Johnson
    CISE/CASTL with Co-PI Subhi Sachdeva
    Teaching Under the Threat of Suppression: Examining Early Elementary Educators’ Perspectives on Justice-Oriented Teaching in a Post-Pandemic World
    Through a series of video-cued focus groups centered on a collection ethnographic classroom observation of social justice-oriented elementary pedagogical practice, this study will address the following research questions: How are early elementary school (K-2) teachers who identify as critical educators making sense of the current political and educational moment? In what ways are they challenging politically conservative educational efforts to quell the teaching of marginalized histories in their individual classroom contexts, if at all? What paths forward do they envision considering the threat of suppression and push-out? This study will contribute to and advance the burgeoning body of qualitative education research that illustrate the urgent need to persist in centering critical pedagogy and historically responsive literacy in post-pandemic elementary schools.

    Tish Jennings
    CISE/CASTL with Co-PIs Pamela Nicholas-Hoff and Tara Hofkens
    Assessing Implicit Racial Bias Among Teacher Candidates: A Replication Study
    Within U. S. public schools there exists an opportunity gap that is exacerbated by a discipline gap. Disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline reduce educational access for Black students, especially Black male students, leading to negative outcomes. Disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline are highest in secondary schools and there is evidence that teachers’ implicit biases partially explain discipline disparities. Gilliam et al. (2016) utilized eye-tracking technology and a staged video of four children (i.e., Black boy and girl and White boy and girl) to investigate whether preschool teachers would differentially surveil Black children over White children, indicating potential implicit bias. Participants were primed to expect the video to depict challenging behaviors, although none existed. Results showed that when anticipating challenging behaviors, teachers gazed longer at Black children, especially Black boys. The proposed study aims to replicate this experiment using video involving middle-school aged adolescents rather than preschool children and teacher candidates as participants. Similar to the results of the previous experiment, we hypothesize that when anticipating challenging behaviors, teacher candidates will gaze longer at Black students, especially Black boys.

    Traci Kutaka
    EDHS/CASTL with Tara Hofkens
    The Importance of Achievement Emotions to Early Arithmetic Strategy Development
    This project will clarify the contributions of achievement emotions to the arithmetic outcomes in a kindergarten sample. Aim 1: Characterize the nature, form, and function of achievement emotions that emerge as children learn to solve arithmetic story problems. Aim 2: Explicate the associations between achievement emotions and number and operations outcomes: (i) accuracy of solutions, as well as (ii) problem-solving strategy sophistication and (iii) breadth. This project builds on a previous IES grant where significant effort was committed to the creation of a novel database where problem-solving strategy sophistication and breadth were defined as outcomes of interest. We propose to link achievement emotions to this database to serve as outcomes and covariates to achieve both project aims.

  • Academic IDEAs Grant Faculty Awardees

    Michelle Beavers
    EDLF with Co-PI David Eddy-Spicer
    Bridging Classroom Practices to Inform Continuous Improvement
    The project involves two main aspects: development of curriculum and online instructional design. Through a lab-school model, the Administration & Supervision program will engage students who have completed 12 hours of coursework and earned 65 field work hours in continuous improvement to co-design the development of the modules, applicable for school leaders and learning communities. The second team overlaps now adding the expertise of the online instructional design team. Utilizing Canvas’ new tool, Catalog, the course will be created with support of design experts. Adding on digital badging, creates a means for participants to not only showcase their accomplishments, but market the certificates offered by the University of Virginia in their email signature lines on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

    Glenn Bull
    CISE with N. Rich Nguyen
    Developing an Educational Model Repository
    Since 2010 the Education and Human Development (EHD) Make to Learn Lab has been developing open-source educational products that are used in EHD courses and by collaborators both nationally and in local schools. These products include a range of educational models that are applicable in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) courses both in EHD courses and in courses in local schools. A key element of this effort has focused on making STEM subjects more appealing by enabling students to create projects in the context of the arts. We propose to build an open-source repository that makes the complete range of models accessible in a format compliant with standards recognized by NSF. In addition to CAD designs that can be used to replicate the physical model, the repository will also include directions, diagrams, and instructional videos to help users fabricate models, and lesson plans and materials aligned with educational standards for using the models in a classroom.

    Melissa Levy
    EDHS with David Aaron Roth
    Laboratory of Citizen Education and Leadership (LoCEL)
    Medical doctors are expected to follow the Hippocratic Oath of “Do No Harm,” and we should embrace that norm in the field of education, too. Our current practices in the realm of community-engaged learning present a major challenge: How do we ensure that students are having immersive experiences and building their capacity for leading and learning while not putting others in harm's way? As one way to address this concern, the Youth and Social Innovation (YSI) major, in collaboration with the EHD Sim Lab, plans to pilot community-engaged learning and leadership simulations that address the same issues, challenges, and opportunities that engaging with real communities provides. With the support of an IDEAS grant, our 2022-2023 intended objectives include: creating the community-engaged simulation sequence, piloting the simulations with students from the YSI major, iterating the simulations based on feedback from both students and local community members, and developing a clear path for program sustainability.

    Rachel Wahl
    Democracy Learning at EHD and Beyond
    This proposal requests funding for an innovative “democracy practicum course” that would integrate the cultivation of democratic skills with democratic theory. The course will help elevate SEHD’s position as a leader of the University’s democracy work by serving as one of the first products of a collaboration between SEHD and the Karsh Institute of Democracy as well as by providing a model for a series of democracy practicum courses that will follow. The course, EDLF 3492 Political Dialogue, enables students to develop the capacities to engage in dialogue and deliberation with politically diverse peers while at the same time engaging in critical analysis of dialogic and deliberative practice from diverse perspectives in political theory. In addition, students will have access to and study primary source data in the form of interviews and observations drawn from the PI’s studies of political dialogue, as well as examine debates about political dialogue in popular culture. Over the course of the semester, students will develop skills related to political discourse across differences while cultivating the capacity to analyze controversies and questions regarding the place of political dialogue in democracy. Students will engage in such analysis by drawing on their own dialogue experiences during the course, primary source research, debates in popular culture, and scholarship in political theory.

  • Research IDEAs Grant Student Awardees

    Sarah Beach
    EDLF with Walt Heinecke, Sponsor
    Student Perspectives on Content-versus Performance-Based Assessment and Accountability Models

    Marissa Bivona
    EDHS with Amanda Williford, Sponsor
    Understanding the Experiences of Early Childhood Education Providers Working to Meet Child and Family Needs in the Pandemic Context

    Amelia Bruce
    KINE with Jake Resch and Joe Hart, Co-Sponsors
    Leveraging Loading Metric to Inform Recovery After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

    Lindsay Carlisle
    CISE with Michael Kennedy, Sponsor
    Leveraging Stakeholder Voices to Operationalize Culturally Responsive Pedagogy for Multiply-Marginalized Students

    Katlynn Dahl-Leonard
    EDHS/CASTL with Colby Hall, Sponsor
    Observing the Gradual Release of Responsibility in Literacy Instruction for Students with Dyslexia

    Catherine Donahue
    KINE with Jake Resch, Sponsor
    Changes in Sleep Architecture Following Sport Concussion in Collegiate Athletes

    Jesse Fleming
    CISE with Bryan Cook, Sponsor
    Using a Peer-Mediated Intervention to Promote Positive Social Interactions for Autistic Students in Inclusive Settings: A Class-wide Approach

    Dana Golden
    KINE with Jay Hertel, Sponsor
    Associations Between the Menstrual Cycle and Running Biomechanics in Young Adult Females

    Stephanie Stephens
    KINE with Sue Saliba, Sponsor
    Muscle Function and Psychological Readiness Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction and Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

2021 IDEAs Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the following EHD faculty and student principal investigators and their colleagues who were selected to receive grant awards from the Dean’s Research and Development Fund in 2021:

  • Research IDEAs Grant Faculty Awardees

    Michaela DuBay
    Expanding Equity Through Culturally Aligned Treatment for Latinx Children with ASD
    The research that forms the basis for strategies used in current evidence-based early interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was conducted with primarily white, mid to upper-class, monolingual English-speaking families (e.g., Baranek et al. 2015; Wetherby et al. 2014). Families outside of this cultural group who participate in early intervention are inevitably presented with strategies designed specifically for those with cultural strengths, skills, and perspectives distinct from their own. To date, there are no studies that have directly tested these research-based strategies in Latinx immigrant families. Focusing on this population, this project will re-examine the parent-child communication patterns which form the evidence base of many ASD interventions.

    Colby Hall
    Observing Under-Researched Components of Instruction for Students with Dyslexia
    The purpose of this project is to systematically observe instruction provided by reading intervention teachers of students with dyslexia and explore the degree to which instructional variables are associated with student word reading and spelling outcomes. In particular, we aim to learn more about two widely used but under-researched components of instruction: multisensory activities and orthographic rules.

    Heather McDaniel
    EDHS with Co-PI Mike Lyons
    AMPED Coping Power: Task Shifting Evidence-Based Preventative Programming to Paraprofessionals
    Implementation of evidence-based behavioral health programs for youth and families in the schools and community continues to be a complex and multifaceted issue. Barriers include a lack of dedicated behavioral health staff, various competing roles and responsibilities, and lack of training. To ensure implementation of evidence-based programming, there is an urgent need to consider “disruptive innovations” that provide more efficient and accessible means of implementation. One such consideration is task shifting, that is, reallocating some roles and responsibilities to less specialized personnel. In the current proposal, we aim to shift implementation of the Coping Power Program parent component, an evidence-based parenting preventive intervention, to paraprofessionals. We intend to draw core content from the Coping Power parent program, while simultaneously drawing training and implementation supports for paraprofessionals from an existing youth focused evidence-informed program delivered by volunteer mentors.

    Yoi Tibbets
    EDLF with Ashlee Sjogren (CASTL/VEST)
    The Cost: Evaluating the Costs Associated with Afterschool Engagement for Students from Historically Marginalized Communities
    For the first time in a decade, student participation in afterschool programs has declined (Afterschool Alliance, 2020). Simultaneously, students' mental health and positive development has been greatly impacted by the tumultuous events and pandemic of 2020 (CDC, 2020). Given that afterschool programs serve as an additional support to student achievement and development (Durlak et al., 2020), it is imperative that stakeholders consider students’ motivational beliefs and behaviors in relation to their afterschool activities. In this mixed-methods study, we plan to explore student perceptions of cost, defined as the negative aspects associated with engaging in afterschool programs (Wigfield et al., 2017) and how their expectancy-value-cost (EVC) related beliefs may differ in relation to their intersectional identities.

    Ginny Vitiello
    EDLF with Jamie Jirout and Tanya Evans
    Bringing the Project Approach to Public Pre-K Programs: A Pilot Study
    This project focuses on a 1-year pilot project examining issues surrounding the scale-up of an emergent curriculum model, the Project Approach, in public pre-K classrooms.The proposed project involves a literature review and qualitative interviews to: (1) develop a theory of change describing how the Project Approach can be implemented effectively in public pre-K classrooms; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to successful implementation in public pre-K; and (3) set the stage for externally-funded empirical work, including developing and testing a program to help teachers implement the Project Approach in public pre-K classrooms.

    Art Weltman
    KINE with Jason Allen, Zhenqui Liu, and Kaitlin Love
    Effects of Inorganic Nitrate and Intensity of Exercise on Cardiovascular Health in Post-Menopausal Females
    Post-menopausal females experience elevated cardiovascular disease risk (CVD), compared to premenopausal females and age-matched males. Current exercise guidelines appear inadequate to ameliorate this increased risk and higher intensity exercise may be necessary. Oral inorganic nitrate supplementation enhances both exercise performance and CVD risk profile in several clinical conditions. However, the effects of this intervention in post-menopausal females is unexplored. We will examine the impact of exercise intensity, inorganic nitrate, and the interaction of the two on outcomes relating to CVD risk.

  • Research IDEAs Grant Student Awardees

    Lydia Beahm
    CISE with Bryan Cook, Sponsor
    Developing an Effective Professional Development for Coping Power

    Charlotte Blain
    CISE with Judy Paulick, Sponsor
    Exploring the School-Based Factors and Principal Actions Associated with Teacher Efficacy for Working with English Learners

    Jacob Elmore
    CISE with Peter Youngs, Sponsor
    Community-Engaged Preparation: Understanding Impact on Practice

    Jieun Sung
    EDLF with Rachel Wahl, Sponsor
    Non-school Settings and the Educational Experiences of Refugee Families in U.S. Resettlement Contexts

    Victoria VanUitert
    CISE with Michael Kennedy, Sponsor
    Learning by Talking: Enhancing Science Achievement of Students with Learning Disabilities or Autism Through Oral Argumentation

2020 IDEAS Grant Recipients

  • Research IDEAS Grant Students Awardees

    Julia Augenstern
    EDHS with Patrick Tolan, Sponsor
    Youth Perception of Social and Emotional Learning

    Natalie Kupperman
    KINE with Jay Hertel, Sponsor
    Structural Equation Modeling In Athlete Monitoring 

    David Saavedra
    EDLF with Diane Hoffman, Sponsor
    Student-Teacher Relationships Across Cultures: An Ethnographic Multiple-Case Study

    Amy Laboe
    EDLF with Diane Hoffman, Sponsor
    Teaching and Learning in Pedagogical Borderlands: Transnational Returnee Teachers in Mexican Schools

    Helen Min
    CISE with Tish Jennings, Sponsor
    Teaching in the time of COVID-19

    Rosalie Chung
    CISE with Julie Cohen, Sponsor
    Potential Variation in Schools' Multicultural Literary Text Selection Process

    Alexa Quinn
    CISE with Judy Paulick, Sponsor
    Preparing Pre-Service Teachers to Design Inquiry-Oriented Social Studies Instruction

    Sarah Lilly
    CISE with Jennie Chiu, Sponsor
    Elementary Teachers’ Verbal Supports in an Interdisciplinary STEM+CS Unit

    Brian Kayser
    CISE with Jen Pease, Advisor
    How First-Generation College Students Experience and Respond to Stress

  • Research IDEAS Grant Faculty Awardees

    Julie Cohen
    CISE with Rose Sebastian
    Bringing artificial intelligence into teacher education: Developing new ways to provide pre-service teachers with feedback on family engagement

    Jason Downer
    EDHS with Brian Wright
    Developing Automated Methods for Assessing Treatment Fidelity and Replication of Sessions

    Chris Chang-Bacon
    CISE with April Salerno
    Speaking Up: Researching Professional Collaboration and Conflict Resolution through Digital Simulations in Teacher Education

    Beth Schueler
    Does High School Debate Improve Civic Competencies? A Field Experiment in Rwanda

    Tonya Moon
    CISE with multiple collaborators
    Equipping Pre-service Secondary Teachers for Data Use: A Study of Teacher Education Programs in Virginia

    Jason Allen
    KINE with Co-Pi Sibylle Kranz, Zhenqui Liu, Art Weltman
    Effects of Obesity and Intensity of Exercise on Serum Ghrelin concentrations, Insulin Sensitivity and Vascular Function

    Tara Hofkens
    CISE with Co-Pi, Tish Jennings, Summer Braun
    Mechanisms of a Brief Mindfulness Intervention for Improving Stress and Practice Among Teachers in Training

    Jacob Resch
    KINE with Co-PI Art Weltman and Christopher McCartney
    Pituitary function of collegiate athletes immediately following and throughout recovery from a diagnosed sport concussion

    Joe Hart 
    KINE with Mandeep Kaur, Co-PI post-doc
    Exploring psychological aspects of recovery following ACL reconstruction in participants with low and high kinesiophobia: a mixed-methods study

    Gail Lovette
    CISE with Co-PI, Rose Nevill
    Leveraging the ECHO in Education Model to Provide Support to Caregivers, Teachers, and Behavioral Therapists for Children with Developmental Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Scott Gest
    EDHS with Chelsea Duran, Marina Serdiouk
    Leveraging Popular, Prosocial Youths’ Responses to Bullying and Discrimination to Inform Upstander Focused Programming

  • Academic IDEAS Grant Faculty Awardee

    Sara Dexter, EDLF

Past Recipients

  • 2018 IDEAS Grant Recipients

    Read more from the student and faculty 2018 IDEAS grant winners.

    Read more
  • 2017 Awards



    Congratulations to the following Curry faculty member principal investigators and their colleagues who were selected to receive $10,000 grant awards from the Dean’s R&D Fund in 2017:

    Vivien Chabalengula, Larry Richards, Jennie Chiu, Ryo Ji Hoon, and Frackson Mumba

    Project Name: Development and Validation of Engineering Design Integrated Science Classroom Observation Protocol

    The New Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasize the integration of engineering design into K-12 science. Yet, little is known about how and if teachers are actually addressing the science and engineering concepts included in these standards. In this project the researchers will develop and validate a reliable classroom observation instrument for assessing the nature and quality of engineering design integrated science teaching in K-12 classrooms. The “Engineering Design Integrated Science Classroom Observation Protocol” (EDISCOP) will also be used to assess instructional planning. The EDISCOP will be piloted with high school preservice science teachers, and the results will be included in an application for external funding for scale-up implementation and evaluation of the EDISCOP in Virginia and beyond.

    Diane M. Hoffman

    Project Name: Literacy Acquisition Through Collaborative Learning: Pilot study of a Peer-based Approach to Literacy in Haiti

    This project implements a collaborative peer-based literacy tutoring program for underserved children and youth (ages 6 to 18) in Southwestern Haiti. The program will use trained literate youth volunteers who partner with small groups of marginal readers to develop learners’ basic skills in reading and writing through engagement with texts and other literacy materials. The project will provide training for a supervisor and tutors, develop materials and activities in Haitian Creole, and collect quantitative and qualitative data on literacy gains/outcomes, challenges, and potentials for further development and dissemination of the program model. The study results will shed light on the ways cultural models of peer-based informal learning can be used for attainment of formal literacy skills. Results will be used to seek funding for further development and scaling up, and to explore feasibility.

    LaVae M. Hoffman

    Project Name: Feasibility Study of Neurofeedback Intervention for Communication Disorders

    The aim of this project is to determine the feasibility of initiating a new line of research applying state-of-the-art neurofeedback technology to the treatment of communication disorders. EEG-based neurofeedback is a specialized and non-invasive form of biofeedback that has been recently established as a potentially effective non-pharmaceutical intervention for attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. It is also being explored for use with populations having communication deficits connected with autism spectrum disorders, brain injury, learning disabilities, reading disorders and stroke rehabilitation. The researchers will build the capacity to conduct neurofeedback intervention in the Curry School and then complete a pilot study of a neurofeedback intervention with individuals who have communication deficits. This potentially groundbreaking approach to intervention attempts to incorporate neuroscience more directly into the treatment of communication disorders.

    Filip Loncke

    Project Name: A Prototype for an Instrument to Use Acoustic Visualizations and Contrasts for Phonetic Learning

    This study focuses on the development of an instrument that allows learners of a foreign language to become aware of the phonetic discrepancies between their own speech production and a model. This project will include background information and a self-training program of (1) English speaking learners of Mandarin Chinese, and (2) Mandarin Chinese speaking learners of English. The program will especially target the phonological distinctive characteristics of both languages, including tonal features of Mandarin Chinese, prosodic features of American English, and phonemic distinctions of vowels of both Mandarin Chinese and American English. The program will make use of a computer software (PRAAT) to help visualize speech production to aid self-measurement of progress and provide visual and instructional guidelines and exercises to prompt self-correction and improvement of pronunciation over time. The project will serve as a basis for similar learning and testing materials to be developed for other languages.

    Ji Hoon Ryoo

    Project Name: Utilization of Machine Learning in Propensity Score Methods for Longitudinal and Multilevel Data

    Propensity score analysis (PSA) is a statistical tool utilized to minimize selection biases that can occur within the context of quasi-experiments. As a result, PSA improves the internal validity and statistical conclusion validity of a study and, thus, allows for the drawing of causal inference. This project will examine machine learning methods utilizing time-varying propensity score weights and also examine the efficiency of machine learning within propensity score models applicable to longitudinal and multilevel data. The researchers will use empirical data of schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports across the state of Maryland and also conduct a simulation study to imitate the empirical data so that the results address issues in a variety of observational settings. Upon completion of this project, the Curry School will have gained valuable additional expertise in longitudinal and multilevel propensity score methods utilizing machine learning, enhancing the area of quantitative methods.

    Ginny Vitiello

    Project Name: Expansion of the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Project’s Math Assessment

    This project will expand the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Project’s (VKRP) mathematics assessment from a fall-only readiness assessment to a measure that can capture gains from fall to spring. Math achievement is an area of critical concern in the United States, and studies show that math readiness is significantly associated with later achievement. However, Virginia school divisions lack a statewide measure of math aligned to the Virginia Standards of Learning that can be used formatively to guide instruction and track growth. Drawing on the substantial expertise within the VKRP team at the Curry School and input from a national expert in early math, this project would develop a math assessment for use in the spring of the kindergarten year and pilot test it with a sample of 200 5- to 7-year-old children.

    Michelle D. Young and Kathleen M. Winn

    Project Name: Supporting Continuous Improvement in Principal Preparation (SCIPP): A Pilot Evaluation of Faculty Communities to Support Redesign of Educational Leadership Programming

     This research project will document the learning and change process for university-based educational leadership preparation programs participating in SCIPP initiatives supported by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). These programs focus on faculty engagement in thoughtfully facilitated cross-institutional learning communities. The study will highlight and support program faculty who engage in continuous improvement processes for their university-based educational leadership programs. Researchers will observe how the different SCIPP communities operate in virtual spaces and will gather evidence demonstrating how faculty participation in these small professional groups can support program changes in different institutions. UCEA is an inter-university collaboration established to build a knowledge base of research and effective practice for the field of educational administration. UCEA’s support of these initiatives will foster knowledge and resource development to inform the educational leadership field, thereby positively impacting the development of leaders to support the success and the wellbeing of all children.


    We also congratulate the 12 students who received Doctoral Student Dissertation IDEA Grants in 2017:

    Jacob Bennett
    Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education
    Relationship Goals: Colorblindness and Teacher/Student Interactions

    Jordan Buckrop
    Reading Education
    Reimagining Teacher Development: A Post-Intentional Phenomenology of an Early Career Kindergarten Teacher

    Revay O. Corbett
    Athletes’ Perception of Ankle Sprains

    Anthony A. DeMauro
    Curriculum & Instruction
    The Influence of Mindfulness on Teachers’ Professional Practice: A Qualitative Case Study

    Natalie Eichner
    Effect of Carbohydrate Intake on Circulating Microparticles Before and After Interval Exercise Training in Adults with Prediabetes

    Nicole Gilbertson
    Exercise Physiology
    Effects of Pre-Operative Exercise Training on Adiponectin and Insulin Sensitivity in Bariatric Surgery Patients

    Rachel Koldenhoven
    Effects of Gait Retraining on Ankle Position During Walking in Individuals with Chronic Ankle Instability

    Colby Mangum
    Examining Lumbopelvic-Hip Complex Function in Patients using Ultrasound Imaging

    Hannah M. Mathews
    Special Education
    Examining Opportunities to Learn in Special Education Teacher Education

    Lauren Christine Mims
    Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science
    A Qualitative Approach to Understanding the Educational Experiences of Black Girls in Schools

    Laura Ochs
    Science Education
    Pre-Service Science Teachers’ Knowledge of Engineering Design and Implementation of Engineering Design Integrated Science in Science Classrooms

    Wesley J. Wilson
    Adapted Physical Education
    The Influence of Sports Camps for Youth With Disabilities on the Socialization of Preservice Teachers

  • Summer 2016 Awards



    Congratulations to the following Curry faculty member principal investigators and their colleagues who were selected to receive $10,000 grant awards from the Dean’s R&D Fund in summer 2016:

    Robert Berry and Michael Kennedy
    Examining Mathematics Teaching Practices

    Many leading classroom observation tools prioritize holistic portraits of instruction at the expense of precise accountings of teacher time spent using high quality practices. This project will create and pilot a hybrid observation tool for mathematics instruction that combines an existing holistic measure of mathematics instructional quality with an emerging measure designed to describe instruction with precision not currently available in observation tools. The hybrid tool will be used to re-score dozens of video recorded mathematics lessons to pilot and develop preliminary psychometric data for the new tool and better describe the topography of mathematics instruction when viewed through a new type of microscope.

    Jennifer Chiu, Amanda Gonczi and Winx Lawrence
    Exploring Engineering Self-efficacy, Mindset, and Career Interest with Global Design Challenges

    Women are consistently under-represented in engineering fields despite academic ability. This study will extend design work previously conducted in formal classroom settings to target at-risk middle school girls in an after-school context. The investigation will explore whether global, human-centered design activities in after-school settings can promote young women’s confidence in their ability to do engineering tasks, their engineering mindset, and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) careers.

    Julie Cohen and Vivian Wong
    A Pilot Evaluation for Mitigating Racial Implicit Bias among Pre-Service Teachers

    Recent psychological research suggests unconscious stereotypes and attitudes affect individuals’ behaviors and decision making and that implicit biases tend to manifest when individuals are under time pressure or in stressful or uncomfortable situations. Despite growing evidence that racial implicit biases affect individuals’ judgments and practices in a number of settings, the role of unconscious racial biases on teacher and student interactions have been underexplored in education settings. This study will examine racial implicit bias among teacher candidates at two teacher preparation programs and the ways in which these biases are linked to perceptions of and interactions with students of different backgrounds in both simulated and real classroom environments.

    Tish Jennings, Catherine Bradshaw and Jessika Bottiani
    A Brief Mindfulness Intervention for Reducing Pre-Service Teachers’ Stress Associated with Managing Challenging Student Behaviors

    Teacher stress is an internationally recognized problem. This pilot study will examine the effectiveness of a brief mindfulness practice for reducing the stress experienced by teacher candidates when confronting challenging student behavior and for improving their behavior management skills. Prior to conducting a lesson in a classroom simulator—in which student avatars will present moderate to high degrees of off-task behavior—teacher candidates will engage in the mindfulness practice intervention. They will wear a biometric assessment wristband to monitor heart rate and galvanic skin response prior to conducting the lesson, during the lesson and throughout a five-minute recovery period.

    Ben Castleman
    Behavioral Insights for Scalable Solutions Lab Branding and Website

    Grant funds will be used to develop branding materials and a public-facing website for the Behavioral Insights for Scalable Solutions (BISS) Lab at the Curry School. The BISS Lab brings together several ongoing large-scale interventions that apply behavioral and psychological insights to improve educational outcomes. The lab catalyzes the development of new innovative, low-cost strategies to improve a broad range of public policy outcomes, including educational attainment for economically disadvantaged and non-traditional populations, labor market outcomes for under- or unemployed individuals, and re-entry outcomes for incarcerated youth and adults.

    Walt Heinecke
    Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement at Public Universities

    In 2012, the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement called on higher education to “reclaim its civic mission and to make civic learning at the college level expected rather than optional.” This project examines how one university is addressing citizenship and civic engagement in its curricular offerings and through students’ extracurricular activities (e.g., student government, organizations, and leadership programs) on campus. It will serve as the foundation for a multiple case study of universities nationwide.

    Luke Miller
    Building a Collaboration with the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet

    The Virginia Governor’s Children’s Cabinet brings together high-level representatives of various Virginia agencies and tasks them with jointly developing a policy agenda and fostering active collaboration among state and local agencies. The Children’s Cabinet lacks sufficient capacity to analyze available state data and realize its mission, however, so the Curry School is partnering on three data analytic projects, each of which explores a dimension of student school attendance—chronic absenteeism, the relationship between student health and absenteeism, and academic year transience. This grant will help support these projects as well as efforts to establish a longer term collaboration between the Children’s Cabinet and the Curry School.


    We also congratulate the following students who received $1,000 Doctoral Student Dissertation IDEA Grants this spring:

    Rebecca Bergey
    Exploring the Use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a Source of Professional Development for Teachers of English Language Learners

    Emily A. Barton
    Factors Influencing Teacher Construction of a System of Practice for Professional Learning

    Sarah Dillon
    Developing Function-Based Interventions to Decrease Inappropriate Self-Touching in Children with Disabilities

    John Fraser
    Multisegmented Foot Motion in Patients With Lateral Ankle Sprains and Chronic Ankle Instability

    Lora Henderson
    Home-School Dissonance: Does It Exist and How Should It Be Measured?

    Sarah Lupo
    Investigating the Relationship of Text Complexity and Instructional Method to Adolescent Readers’ Comprehension Proficiency

    Bart Ragon
    Emerging Roles for Health Sciences Libraries Created Through Data Science Support: Exploring Stakeholder Perspectives

    John Romig
    Monitoring the Progress of Writers with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities

    Lindsay Slater
    Vertical Jump as an Indicator of Performance Deterioration in Individuals After ACL Reconstruction

    Ashley Nicole Stern
    Kinect-based Functional Feedback: Using Technology to Enhance Rehabilitation

    Sarah E. Whitley
    Exploring Academic Major Choice and Self-Efficacy in a Shifting Landscape: Low-Income Undergraduate Students and Pursuit of the Humanities Degree

  • Spring 2015 Awards



    Congratulations to the following Curry faculty member principal investigators and their colleagues who were selected to receive the third round of $10,000 grant awards from the Dean’s R&D Fund in spring 2015.

    Chris Hulleman

    Research Associate Professor

    Project Name: Development of a Real-Time Data Collection and Intervention Platform for Classrooms: The Rapid Assessment Platform and Intervention Delivery (RAPID) System

    Chris and his team are working to develop a data collection platform that allows teachers to design, implement, test, measure, and analyze the efficacy of instructional enhancements aimed at increasing student agency and achievement. Their proposed Rapid Assessment Platform and Intervention Delivery (RAPID) System is a technology that will facilitate his team’s short-cycle research methodology by gathering immediate and continuous feedback from students and providing feedback to teachers on how engaged students were in particular lessons. The system will also recommend possible actions to improve outcomes based on analysis of the collected data. Over time, the data collected through the platform can be aggregated and used for more nuanced analyses by the researchers.

    Valerie A. Futch

    Research Assistant Professor
    Youth-Nex, Center to Promote Effective Youth Development

    Project Name: ConnecTexts: A Simple Message Service to Improve Informal Mentoring Relationships

    Aisha N. Griffith

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Youth-Nex, Center to Promote Effective Youth Development

    Project Name: ConnecTexts: A Simple Message Service to Improve Informal Mentoring Relationships

    Valerie and Aisha will conduct a pilot project aimed at discovering how a text-messaging or other simple messaging technology can be adapted to strengthen informal mentoring relationships between adolescents and adults and provide needed social and emotional support. After conducting a series of focus groups made up of youth mentoring program participants, the team will identify what types of short messages might be most helpful to both youth and adults and develop a texting intervention for beta-testing. Results will inform future proposals to scale up the service and conduct a randomized control trial.

    Michael R. Solis

    Assistant Professor
    Special Education

    Project Name: Efficacy of an intervention to enhance reading comprehension of students with Autism spectrum disorder

    Findings from small-scale interventions suggest that it is possible to improve the reading comprehension of students with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with instruction that explicitly targets reading comprehension and oral language development. Michael will build upon these prior studies and use a matched randomized group design to examine the effectiveness of an eight-week instructional strategy for students with ASD in grades 4-6 who have low reading comprehension.  The intervention will address oral language through instruction with word knowledge and by teaching students to identify main ideas and the logical links between ideas within text.

    Paul C. Harris

    Assistant Professor
    Counselor Education

    Project Name: College and Career Readiness and Success of Black Male Student Athletes: There’s An App for That

    Paul will evaluate the use of a mobile device application, which he designed to promote the college and career readiness and success of collegiate Black male student athletes. A series of weekly messages sent over ten weeks will each consist of three components: (1) “awareness,” highlighting some aspect of college and career readiness; (2) “advice,” providing a suggestion for how students can operationalize the “awareness” component in their own lives, with the intent of maximizing their ownership of their college and career readiness; and (3) “advance,” providing encouragement and reinforcement that will extend the “advice” component.


    We also congratulate six students who received the first round of new Doctoral Student Dissertation IDEA Grants this spring:

    Nora Arkin
    The Body Project: A Narrative and Social Network Analysis
    Award Amount: $1,000

    Andrew M. Colombo-Dougovito
    Utilizing a Dynamic Systems Approach to Build Functional Motor Skills in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Award Amount: $973

    Michael F. Hull
    An Examination of the Problem of Identifying Spurious Classes in Finite Mixture Models: The True One Class Versus the Multiple Class Alternatives in Observed Data, Latent Factor, and Latent 1RT Models
    Award Amount: $240

    Fares J. Karam
    From Baghdad to the US: Iraqi Refugee Students’ Writing Practices and Pedagogies
    Award Amount: $1,000

    Grant E. Norte
    Quadriceps Function Following ACL Reconstruction
    Award Amount: $990

    Sunhee Park
    Motivational Factors Influencing STEM School Students’ Success
    Award Amount: $1,000

  • Winter 2014


    Faculty Grants

    Vivien Mweene Chabalengula

    Award Amount: $10,000

    Project Name: Developing and Evaluating an Instructional Model for Integrating Engineering in K-12 Science Classrooms

    Vivien and a graduate student research assistant will (a) investigate the type of integration in existing K-12 science and engineering integrated curriculum materials, (b) use the results and other resources to develop a new instructional model that teachers can use to plan engineering integrated science units at any grade level, and (c) test the new instructional model at the U.Va.-Buford Middle School Engineering Design Academy.

    Jay Hertel

    Award Amount: $10,000

    Project Name: Plantar Pressure and Muscle Activation Changes with a Novel Therapeutic Exercise Device to Treat Ankle Instability

    Jay and his doctoral student team will test a novel therapeutic exercise device with potential to improve rehabilitation outcomes in patients with chronic ankle instability.  The device will be used in conjunction with a treadmill to facilitate gait retraining. Twenty young adults with CAI will have in-shoe plantar pressure and lower extremity surface electromyography (EMG) measured during treadmill walking with and without use of the device.

    Michael Kennedy

    Award Amount: $10,000

    Project Name: Project Stock Up on STEM: Creating Evidence-  and Multimedia-Based Materials to Improve Science-Related Vocabulary Outcomes for Students with Disabilities.

    Michael and a team of content specialists, special educators, and students will develop a comprehensive set of evidence- and multimedia-based vocabulary vignettes (“Content Acquisition Podcasts, or CAPS”) for the eighth-grade science course in Virginia and then conduct a year-long random control trial to examine impact on student performance on the end-of-year SOL and curriculum-based measures throughout the year. The CAPs are designed to support vocabulary development and performance of middle school students both with and without disabilities.

    Bridget Hamre

    Award Amount: $9,522

    Project Name: Examining Participation and Learning Outcomes from the First Curry MOOC

    Bridget and colleagues will use data from the Effective Classroom Interactions MOOC implemented in fall 2013 to examine the extent to which participation in various components of the MOOC led to higher rates of learning. They will also develop and test a means of automatically scoring open response data on a validated assessment of teachers’ skills in order to more adequately assess the learning outcomes of the MOOC at a large scale.

  • Fall 2014 Awards


    Faculty Grants

    Vivian C. Won

    Assistant Professor
    Education Policy; Research, Statistics & Evaluation

    Award Amount: $9,980

    Project Name: Improving Best Practice in Non-Experimental Evaluations

    Vivian and her team will conduct a meta-analysis of published research that used within-study comparison design. Results will be used (a) to develop empirically based knowledge of best practice in nonexperimental methods that can be generalized across units, times, outcomes, and settings; (b) to understand the specific contexts and conditions under which non-experimental methods and designs perform better in field settings; and (c) to generate new hypotheses for better non-experimental practice through exploratory meta-analysis of within-study comparison results.


    Peter Youngs

    Associate Professor
    Curriculum, Instruction, & Special Education

    Project Name: The Influence of Teacher Preparation Courses and Field Experiences on Beginning Secondary English/Language Arts Teachers’ Instructional Practices


    Julie Cohen

    Assistant Professor
    Elementary Education

    Award Amount: $10,000

    Project Name: The Influence of Teacher Preparation Courses and Field Experiences on Beginning Secondary English/Language Arts Teachers’ Instructional Practices

    Peter and Julie will conduct a one-year pilot study to examine how secondary English/language arts teaching candidates’ experiences in teacher preparation courses and student teaching are associated with their English/language arts instructional practices. Their study will include 100 secondary teacher candidates at four institutions, considering associations between the content and number of English/language arts courses they take, the content and number of English/language arts methods courses they take, and their student teaching experiences. They will also consider teacher candidates’ enactment of ambitious English/language arts instruction.


    Joanna Lee Williams

    Assistant Professor
    Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science

    Project Name:  Social Network Analysis as an Innovative Tool for Unpacking Complex Group Processes: A Pilot Study of a Group-based Youth Mentoring Program



    Lauren Molloy Elreda

    Research Associate

    Award Amount: $9,889

    Project Name:  Social Network Analysis as an Innovative Tool for Unpacking Complex Group Processes: A Pilot Study of a Group-based Youth Mentoring Program

    Joanna and Lauren will use longitudinal social network data collected from a group mentoring program for middle school girls to test an innovative evaluation method for studying group process that integrates current best practices for studying social relationships and change over time. They will also explore how these aspects of group process relate to mentor and mentee group and relational satisfaction, and mentee perceptions of self-improvement.


    Joe Hart

    Associate Professor

    Award Amount: $10,000

    Project Name: Movement Patterns Following ACL Reconstruction

    Joe and his team to will conduct a study to identify subtle changes in muscle strength, jumping performance and lower body biomechanics in patients with ACL reconstructions at varying time-points following surgery. Their results will inform young active persons who have had major knee joint injury of damaging movement patterns that can potentially be fixed. The ultimate goal of this line of research is to promote health and well-being in young active individuals despite history of knee injury.

    The fund is supported by philanthropic gifts from Curry Foundation donors. It was established with lead gifts by Dick Abidin, Faculty Emeritus, and Peter Scaturro, both of whom are directors on the Curry Foundation Board.