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Researchers Examine Back-to-School Issues

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are available to address issues ranging from college binge drinking behavior to social anxiety to classroom bullying.

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Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are available to address issues ranging from college binge drinking behavior to social anxiety to classroom bullying.

Confronting Prejudice, Bullying in the Classroom
Rebecca Bigler
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. She examines the role of gender differences in occupational values in shaping children’s occupational interests, and the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at reducing gender-related bullying in school. She has also examined children’s views about the U.S. presidency and race, ethnicity and gender. Learn more in the feature story “Primary Education.”

Yvon Delville
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Delville studies how environmental changes influence personality traits and alter social behavior. He examines social stress and how it affects aggressive behavior during puberty. Learn more in the feature story “Born to Be a Bully?

Binge Drinking, Dangers of Alcohol
Kim Fromme
Professor, Department of Psychology

Fromme directs the Studies on Alcohol, Health and Risky Activities Laboratory, where she examines the prevention of alcohol abuse and its negative consequences among adolescents and young adults. Her ongoing research “The UT Experience!” tests the influence of individual, social and environmental factors on alcohol consumption and associated behavioral risks of young adults as they make the transition from high school to college.

Sexual Behavior Among Teenage Girls
Mark Regnerus
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Regnerus’ research covers a wide range of topics, including sentiment about waiting to have sex until marriage, motivation to pursue sexual relationships and teenagers experience of virginity loss. He is the author of “Forbidden Fruit,” which tells the definitive story of how religion shapes the sexual values and practices of American teenagers.

Pressure and Learning Performance
Arthur Markman
The Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor, Department of Psychology

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 insights into a range of topics, including successful study habits, motivation for staying in school, math anxiety and first-day jitters.

Children’s Mental and Emotional Health
Rob Crosnoe
Research Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Crosnoe is a research associate at the Population Research Center, where he 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. Learn more in the feature story “Making the Grade.”

Michael Telch
Professor, Department of Psychology

Telch explores the nature and treatment of anxiety-related disorders. He has expertise and professional experience in behavior and cognitive therapy. Telch founded the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders, where he examines panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety.

Kevin Stark
Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Stark completed the largest study on depression in preteen and teen girls. He examines prevention, assessment and intervention strategies. Stark created the Texas Child Study Center in Austin, which provides child and family mental health services to the central Texas area.

Kristin Neff
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Neff examines the benefits of nurturing self-compassion (self forgiveness, a feeling of interconnectedness with others, mindfulness) versus self-esteem and can speak about the importance of building self-compassion in children as part of their healthy moral development and identity construction.

College Weight Gain
Gayle Timmerman
Assistant Dean, School of Nursing

Timmerman focuses on restaurant eating, weight management and the assessment of eating patterns and obesity. Her research, “Dieting, Deprivation and Nonpurge Binge Eating in Women,” has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health. Learn more in the feature story “Fighting the Freshman 15.”

School Behavior Problems and Dropouts

Cynthia Franklin
The Stiernberg/Spencer Family Professor in Mental Health, School of Social Work

Franklin studies solution-focused brief therapy, a therapeutic intervention that helps improve student behavior and academic performance for youth who may drop out of school. In a recent study, Franklin found therapy could help students reach their goals, reduce the intensity of negative feelings, manage their conduct and improve grades.

Childhood Obesity and Increasing Physical Activity
Diane Tyler
Professor of Clinical Nursing, School of Nursing

Tyler researches health promotion and disease prevention, with a particular focus on weight and health of children and their families. Helping overweight children adopt healthier lifestyles was the focus of her recent nationally funded study, which focused on reasonable weight-loss goals, physical activity, dietary management and family involvement. Learn more in the feature story “Clear Choices.”

John Bartholomew
Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education
Director, Exercise and Sport Psychology Laboratory

Bartholomew researches obesity intervention in Texas elementary schools. He conducted a study on the health benefits of increasing the number of low-fat entrees offered by school cafeterias. He has done numerous studies on the relationship between physical activity and emotional health, including a landmark study that indicated symptoms of depression are alleviated with as little as half an hour of exercise.

Joe Frost
Professor Emeritus, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Frost is the top national scholar on the benefits of play for children. He is often interviewed for stories regarding the “demise of play” and the importance of unstructured physical activity to a child’s normal emotional and mental development as well as physical health.

Dolly Lambdin
Senior Lecturer, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education

Lambdin researches physical education and assessment in elementary schools. She is active in the policy arena, where she advocates increasing physical education class time in schools, stressing that fitness for children is a compelling, critical quality-of-life issue.

Bill Kohl
Research Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education

Kohl examines ways to encourage physical activity in children and how physical environments influence the level of physical activity. He came to the university from the Centers of Disease Control, where he was team leader in the physical activity and health branch of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. In 2006, he worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create the first national physical activity guidelines.

Swine Flu Epidemiology and Infection

Robert Krug
Professor, Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Krug is an expert on influenza virus biology. His research focuses on proteins encoded by influenza A viruses (including avian flu) in cells during infection. He recently identified an “Achilles heel” in the flu virus that would be a good target for new antiviral drugs.

Lauren Ancel Meyers
Associate Professor, Section of Integrative Biology

Meyers in an evolutionary biologist who studies disease transmission dynamics. She has developed powerful models to forecast the spread of SARS and influenza and designed effective disease control strategies for hospitals and metropolitan areas.

Children’s Reading Skills and Interest in Reading

Joan Shiring
Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Shiring coordinates the Secondary English Education Program and teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in young adult literature. She has been co-director of the Austin Writing Project and is a founder of the innovative Web sites, Books R4 Kids and Books R4 Teens. The Web sites feature book reviews and suggestions for getting youth engaged in the books.

Underserved Student Populations

Angela Valenzuela
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Director, Texas Center for Education Policy
Associate President for School Partnerships, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

Valenzuela’s research interests are in the sociology of education, race and ethnicity in schools, urban education reform, educational policy and immigrant youth in schools. She is the author of “Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring.”

Developments in Math and Science Education
Kamil Jbeily
Executive Director, Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching

The Texas Regional Collaboratives offers award-winning, sustained, research-based professional development to science and math teachers in almost every county in Texas. The program is made up of partnerships among schools, state agencies, regional education service centers, businesses, policy makers, universities and parents.

James Barufaldi
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education

Barufaldi’s research interests include science and math curriculum design, instructional strategies, implementation, evaluation and teacher education. He received a National Science Foundation grant to determine how to help science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers grow professionally.

Training for Future Teachers, Teacher Retention
Sherry Field
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Association Dean for Teacher Education, Student Affairs and Administration

Field oversees degree evaluation, student teaching experiences, career services, induction and educator certification for undergraduate teacher education students. She is also a leader in the effort to prepare future teachers for culturally diverse classrooms.

Preparation of Education Leaders

Mark Gooden
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration
Director, Principalship Program

Gooden is director of the Principalship Program, which trains select teacher leaders from around the state to be school administrators. He can discuss what creates a strong school leader as well as how the role of principal has changed significantly over the past couple of decades.

Ruben Olivarez
Professor, Department of Educational Administration
Director, Cooperative Superintendency Program

The Cooperative Superintendency Program prepares executive level education leaders, including school district superintendents, state education chief executives and education service center directors. Olivarez was superintendent of San Antonio Independent School District before joining the university.