Curry Education Research Lectureship Series Spring 2013


Pamela MorrisReducing Poverty-related Disparities: Innovative Approaches for a Way Forward

Pamela Morris, Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University
January 25, 2013; 11:00-12:30
Harrison Institute

Pamela Morris is a Developmental Psychologist who is a Professor of Applied Psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and a Senior Fellow at MDRC, a non-profit social policy research organization.  Dr. Morris has conducted more than a decade of research working at the intersection of social policy, practice, and developmental psychology, testing promising interventions for low-income families and children.  Dr. Morris’ research is characterized by the study of theoretically-informed interventions, strong attention to measurement of developmental outcomes for children, cutting-edge analytic strategies on causal inference, and strong research designs. She received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University.


Gregory WaltonWise Interventions: How Brief Social-Psychological Interventions Can Help Raise Students’ Achievement Far Into the Future

Gregory Walton, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
February 1, 2013; 11:00-12:30
Holloway Hall, 1st floor Bavaro Hall

Greg Walton is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Much of his research investigates psychological processes that contribute to major social problems and how “wise” interventions that target these processes can help address such problems. These psychological interventions can be minor in scope and duration but generate long-lasting effects. For instance, one 1-hour intervention he developed with Geoffrey Cohen to bolster students’ feelings of social belonging in the transition to college raised the academic achievement of ethnic minority students over 3 years, and cut by half the achievement gap with white students. Other research investigates the bases of academic motivation and of willpower, how to increase voter turnout, and how to promote environmental behaviors.  In addition to his research, he teaches courses on psychology and social problems, including one entitled “Wise Interventions.” He earned his A.B. in Philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in Psychology from Yale University. After graduate school, he worked for a year as a fellow in the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Waterloo.


Charles HillmanThe Relation of Childhood Fitness to Brain Health, Cognition, and Achievement

Charles Hillman, Associate Professor of Kinesiology & Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
February 22, 2013; 11:00-12:30
Alumni Hall

Charles Hillman received his doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in 2000, and then joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. He also holds appointments in the Department of Psychology, the Department of Internal Medicine, the Neuroscience Program, the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He directs the Neurocognitive Kinesiology Laboratory, which has the mission of determining lifestyle factors that improve cognition, maximize health and well-being, and promote the effective functioning of individuals as they progress through the human lifespan. Dr. Hillman has published more than 80 journal articles, 10 book chapters, and co-edited a text entitled “functional neuroimaging in exercise and sport sciences”. His work has been funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and Abbott Nutrition. Dr. Hillman's primary research emphasis is to better understand factors that relate to increased neurocognitive health and effective functioning of individuals across the lifespan. He has predominantly focused his research on preadolescent children with the goal of understanding how both single bouts of exercise and chronic physical activity participation promote basic changes in brain health that may lead to better cognition and scholastic performance. This talk is sponsored by Youth-Nex.


Celene E. DomitrovichThe Role of Social-Emotional Learning for Children’s School Readiness: Findings from the Head Start REDI Project

Celene Domitrovich, Research Assistant Professor of Health & Human Development, Pennsylvania State University
March 1, 2013; 11:00-12:30
Alumni Hall

Celene E. Domitrovich is the Director of Research for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and an Associate Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before starting with CASEL this summer, Dr, Domitrovich was the Assistant Director of the Penn State Prevention Research Center. She collaborates with Dr. Nick Ialongo of the Center for Prevention and Early Intervention at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Mental Health.

Dr. Domitrovich has co-authored two federal reports for the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA. The first was a review of programs that have been effective in preventing mental health disorders and the second described a conceptual model of implementation of preventive interventions in schools.  She served two terms on the board of the Society for Prevention Research one of which as the Chair of the Early Career Prevention Network. In 2011, Dr. Domitrovich won the CASEL Joseph E. Zins award for Action Research in Social Emotional Learning.


Charles SmithContinuous Quality Improvement in Afterschool Settings: Impact Findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention Study

Charles Smith, Executive Director of the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Forum for Youth Investment
March 29, 2013; 11:00-12:30
Holloway Hall, 1st floor Bavaro Hall

Charles Smith is the Executive Director of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum for Youth Investment and the Vice President for Research at the Forum. Dr. Smith has guided the Weikart Center to a position of national prominence in the area of quality measurement, performance improvement, and accountability policy for out-of-school time systems. The Weikart Center currently manages portfolio of over 70 quality improvement system clients in 38 states and supports implementation of the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) in several thousand out-of-school time sites. Dr. Smith also co-leads design, development and evaluation for the Ready by 21 Comprehensive Community Change Intervention. Dr. Smith received his degrees (BA, MA and Ph.D.) from Wayne State University in Detroit with concentrations in welfare state history, urban planning, adult education and youth civic literacy. This talk is sponsored by Youth-Nex. Audio.


Vivian TsengThe Uses of Research in Policy and Practice

Vivian Tseng, Vice President, Program, William T. Grant Foundation
April 5, 2013; 11:00-12:30
Holloway Hall, 1st floor Bavaro Hall

Vivian Tseng is the vice president, program, at the William T. Grant Foundation. Dr. Tseng leads the Foundation’s grant making, and she spearheaded its initiatives on the use of research and improving research-practice connections. Since joining the Foundation in 2004, she has served in multiple capacities, most recently as senior program officer. Dr. Tseng has a deep interest in mentoring young researchers, particularly those of color. Thus, she also oversees the William T. Grant Scholars Program for promising early-career researchers and has significantly enhanced the program’s mentoring components. Previously, Dr. Tseng was an assistant professor in psychology and Asian American studies at California State University, Northridge. She received her doctorate in community psychology, with a minor in quantitative methods and a concentration in developmental psychology, from New York University and her bachelor of arts in psychology, with a specialization in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examined how immigration, race, and culture affect youth and their families. Dr. Tseng has been published in Child Development, Journal of Marriage and the Family, American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and the Handbooks of Parenting, Asian American Psychology, and 21st Century Education, among others.