University Experts Available to Discuss Back-to-School Topics

University of Texas at Austin faculty experts are available to talk about a wide range of K-12 and higher education issues related to the start of school, including education policy, teaching strategies, children's mental and emotional health, and closing the achievement gap.


Children's Mental and Emotional Health

Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Stark is founder and clinical director of the Texas Child Study Center, which provides mental health prevention and intervention services (including PTSD screening) to children and families. He conducted the first-ever large-scale, long-term study on depression in girls and was called in to develop intervention strategies for children in New York City and New Orleans after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Neff, a leading national expert on self-compassion, developed the first clinical self-compassion measurement tool and recently published a book titled "Self Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind." She could address why it may be more beneficial to nurture self-compassion in children rather than self-esteem.


Educational Assessment Tools

Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Dodd is an expert in educational assessment and director of the College of Education's Pearson Center for Applied Psychometric Research. The center provides research support for innovative approaches to online assessment, automated scoring technology and student performance-based assessment.


At-Risk Student Performance

H.E. Hartfelder/Southland Corp. Regents Chair of Human Development, Department of Special Education

Vaughn is executive director of the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and has consulted with international education leaders on literacy issues.


Student Motivation

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Patall has written about and conducted research on the relationship between student motivation and academic achievement. She's particularly interested in how academic outcomes are affected when students are allowed more autonomy and choice. Patall also is examining how activities outside of school influence students' academic performance and is specifically looking at homework, after-school programs and parent involvement in homework.


Keeping Youths Physically Fit

Clinical Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education

Lambdin is an expert on school physical fitness programs and the physical activity needs of children. She has taught future physical education teachers for 33 years and is a former president and board member of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Lambdin also served on the state team that developed the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for physical education.


Improving Science and Math Teaching and Learning

Ruben E. Hinojosa Regents Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Barufaldi is director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education and has researched how to build successful collaboratives in the science education community. He's principal investigator for the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching, which offers professional development for science, math, engineering and technology teachers throughout Texas and has been replicated in other states.


Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Faculty Fellow, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education

Abraham is co-director of UTeach, a nationally replicated, award-winning program that prepares high-quality secondary science, engineering and math teachers. UTeach is the result of a partnership between the Colleges of Education and Natural Sciences and has been lauded by national policymakers, corporate leaders and educators.


"Helicopter Parents"

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Somers conducted the first large-scale study of "helicopter parents," a term coined in the 1990s to describe parents who have an intense, prolonged involvement in and focus on their children's lives. Somers can talk about why this phenomenon arose, the traits of helicopter parents and the effects on children.


Learning a Foreign Language

Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Horwitz is a top national expert on foreign language anxiety, preconceived notions people have about learning a foreign language and language-learning strategies. She created the first foreign language anxiety measurement tool.


Technology and Learning

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Veletsianos recently completed a study on using social media platforms in teaching and last year received a $1 million grant to develop ways to increase the number of high school computer science teachers and students. He also recently received a grant to investigate innovative uses for "adventure learning," a hybrid, inquiry-based distance learning strategy that turns students into researchers who investigate real-world issues in a collaborative online learning environment.

Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Liu is program coordinator for the College of Education's Instructional Technology area and is an expert in educational uses of new media and other emerging technologies and in cutting-edge media design. She recently completed a study on how students and teachers respond to the use of iPods in English as a Second Language classes and recently updated "Alien Rescue," a problem-based hypermedia learning environment that has been adopted by school districts nationwide as part of their middle school science curriculum.


Helping Teachers and Students Become Better Writers

Fellow of Charles H. Spence Centennial Associate Professorship in Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Bomer is a language and literacy expert, chairman of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and director of the Heart of Texas Writing Project. For more than two decades he has been a literacy consultant with K-12 teachers and administrators around the country, helping them launch reading and writing workshops.


School Administration

Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Olivarez is a former superintendent of San Antonio ISD and current director of the College of Education's Cooperative Superintendency Program. He can discuss effective curriculum and instruction programs, traits of exceptional teacher preparation programs, school finance and allocation of resources, academic achievement of English-language learners, and developmental education courses that successfully prepare minority students for college.

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Gooden is director of the College of Education's Principalship Program, which offers a master's degree that prepares future school leaders.


Community College Leadership and Student Engagement

Program Director, Department of Educational Administration

McClenney is director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, which conducts the national Community College Survey of Student Engagement and Survey of Entering Student Engagement.


African American and Latino Academic Outcomes

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Saenz's primary research focus is the "disappearance" of Latino males in higher education, and he has presented his research findings on Capitol Hill several times. He has expertise in U.S.-Mexico border higher education issues, desegregation, Latinos' college access and readiness, first-generation and low-income college students, and assessment issues in higher education. Diverse Magazine named Saenz "One of 25 to Watch" among diversity leaders in American higher education.

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Vasquez Heilig studies access, diversity and equity in higher education. He's currently researching how high-stakes testing and accountability-based reforms and incentive systems affect urban minority students. He has examined the mechanisms by which student achievement and progress occur under No Child Left Behind accountability policies.

Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Valenzuela is director of the University of Texas Center for Education Policy, associate vice president for University-School Partnerships and recently was named director of the National Latino Education Research Agenda. She's author of "Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring" and "Leaving Children Behind: How Texas-Style Accountability Fails Latino Youth."

President's Chair for Education Academic Excellence, Department of Special Education

Ortiz is an expert on the education of bilingual students with special needs. She has received numerous presidential, federal commission and gubernatorial appointments and is a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children, the premier national professional organization for special education.

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Holme has conducted research on school desegregation, high stakes testing and school choice policies, with a focus on the relationship among school reform, equity and diversity in schools.

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Callahan studies the ways in which school context, social processes and teachers' pedagogical strategies affect minority students' and English-language learners' social and academic development. She recently did a study on the over-representation of English-language learners in special education classes and is looking at how placement in English as a Second Language classes affects students' preparation for college.

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration

Reddick researches diversity in higher education and the sociocultural adaptation of African American families. He has co-edited four books on African American families, historically black colleges and universities, and the effects of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling on diversity in American education.


Early Childhood Education

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Adair is an early childhood education expert who recently received a grant to examine how young students of immigrant parents respond to increased freedom of choice and opportunities for exploration in class.


Increasing Efficiency and Accountability in Schools

Senior Research Fellow

Winick is executive director of the College of Education's Institute for Public School Initiatives. Previously, he organized the Texas Business and Education Coalition and Texans for Education. He was chairman of the Research Advisory Committee of the Texas Educational Economic Policy Center, which set out the framework for the current Texas Public School Accountability System. He has served as chief of staff for the Texas Governor's Task Force on Education and as vice chairman of the Governor's Focus on Reading Task Force. Winick was a member of the Education Commissioner's Committee on Accountability and was an adviser to the U.S. secretary of education.


Physical Activity and Cognitive Skills

Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education

Castelli is an expert on physical activity interventions for children, and she was among the first to study the effects of physical activity on cognitive performance in youths. She has presented her study findings at U.S. Congress briefings in support of the FIT Kids Act.


Gender, Racial, Ethnic Differences in Students' Academic Achievement

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Riegle-Crumb is co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant to study how academic preparation in high school predicts students' entry into college science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors. Riegle-Crumb is giving special attention to the trajectories and unique experiences of African American and Latino students in STEM fields. She's also examining the role of teachers in influencing elementary and secondary students' perceptions of themselves in science.

Professor, Department of Psychology

Bigler directs the Gender and Racial Attitudes Lab and studies the formation and consequences of racial and gender stereotypes among children. In recent work, she has reported that single-sex schooling fails to produce higher achievement than coeducational schooling and facilitates gender stereotyping.


Nature's and Nurture's Impact on Development

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Tucker-Drob studies the genetic and environmental factors that affect cognitive development, academic achievement and personality over time. With a focus on reducing the achievement gap between privileged and underprivileged students, he examines the ways in which a family's socioeconomic status affects a child's academic achievement.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Harden researches adolescent development, particularly how family and social environments combine with genetic factors to shape delinquent behavior. Using twins in her research, she investigates the genetic and environmental factors that influence behavioral problems, sexual activity and drug and alcohol addiction.


Developing Effective Study Habits and Effects of Motivation on Learning

The Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor, Department of Psychology
Director, Human Dimensions of Organizations

Markman researches a range of topics in the way people think, including the effects of motivation on learning and performance, analogical reasoning, categorization and decision making. He is available to share insight into effective study habits from time management to self-discipline to achieving goals. He covers this topic and more in his new book "Smart Thinking."


Influence of Personal Relationships on Academic Progress

Professor, Department of Sociology

Crosnoe examines the long-term effects of not "fitting in" during high school and the link between academic progress and personal relationships. He focuses on the connections among child and adolescent development, health and education and how they help us understand inequalities. He is available to discuss an array of topics, such as the harmful consequences of teen drinking and the long-term effects of bullying.