Highlighting Inquiry and Innovation in the College of Education

Preparing Teachers to Integrate Computer Science into Science Instruction

There has been a surge of activity aimed at bringing computer science learning to all students, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in computer science. The Maker Partnership is a collaboration between researchers, including Dr. Zitsi Mirakhur, and practitioners that is designed to build knowledge about how to help … Read More

STEM Education Professor Collaborates with Medicine Faculty on Cancer, Covid Projects

Dr. Sahar Alameh, assistant professor of STEM Education in the UK College of Education, is collaborating with UK College of Medicine faculty on two projects that focus on the needs of Appalachian Kentucky. In the first project, the research team developed a middle and high school cancer education curriculum that … Read More

Improving Hip Pain and Bone Health for Osteoarthritis Patients

Aerobic exercise is prescribed to conservatively treat hip osteoarthritis, yet there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate the effects of aerobic exercise, such as walking, in reducing hip osteoarthritis-related symptoms. Kinesiology and Health Promotion faculty Dr. Michael Samaan, Dr. Jody Clasey, and their team are assessing the effects of a … Read More

Enhancing Education Opportunities for Students in Peru and Beyond

Dr. Kayla Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, works collaboratively with Indigenous students and communities in the Peruvian Andes to align educational opportunities to their needs, values, and goals. Her team founded and operates an in-community education center where they put much of their … Read More

Educational Equity Audits 

  The Educational Equity Audit process uses multiple methods (surveys, focus groups, policy analysis) to assist schools and districts with the identification of institutional policies and procedures that result in disparate and discriminatory impacts on students’ educational opportunity and experience.  As part of this research, Gregory Vincent, J.D., Ed.D., Professor, … Read More

Leadership Practices of Preschool Administrators

Drs. Beth Rous, Victoria Sherif, and Kathryn Chapman are currently implementing a national survey focused on leadership beliefs and practices of U.S. early childhood program and public preschool administrators. Initial findings indicate a gap between administrator beliefs in the importance of leadership-based practices (e.g., mentoring teachers, listening to staff concerns, … Read More

Capturing Problem-Solving Skills of Students with Math Disabilities

The Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) awarded Professor Brian Bottge in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education a supplemental grant to design a hybrid form of assessment that combines an oral questioning component with a technology-based platform. The need for the new assessment surfaced in two … Read More

Helping Police, Firefighters Meet Physical Demands of Job

Mark Abel, associate professor of exercise physiology in the UK College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, conducts research to enhance the safety, health, and occupational performance of structural firefighters. As a former firefighter, he understands the demands of the job.  As a researcher, his lab is identifying … Read More

Youth Influence Tobacco Use and Policy in Appalachia

Dr. Melinda Ickes, associate professor of health promotion in the UK College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, trains youth in Appalachia as advocates to promote tobacco control policies in Kentucky. Kentucky communities suffer disproportionately from tobacco-related diseases such as lung cancer. Training youth to become advocates is … Read More

Role of Body Weight in Biomechanics of Obesity

Obesity alters muscle recruitment and joint kinematics during gait.  However, it is unclear whether these changes are due to excess body weight itself or differences in limb volume. Dr. Lance Bollinger, a faculty member in the UK College of Education’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, is currently using wireless electromyography, … Read More

Bringing Math to Life for Thousands of Students

Dr. Brian Bottge is known for his research in teaching math to struggling students — and for helping teachers put the findings into action. Over the past 20 years, the Institute of Education Sciences (research and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education), has awarded Bottge three four-year research … Read More

Equipping Teachers with Naturalistic Teaching Strategies

Sarah Hawkins-Lear, Ed.D., clinical associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling, is working with doctoral candidate Meg Gravil on training early childhood teachers, who are not certified in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) or Special Education, to embed naturalistic teaching strategies to teach communication skills. The teachers are … Read More

Student Motivation and Learning in Technology-Assisted Learning Environments

Narmada Paul, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar in Educational Psychology in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, studies student motivation and learning in technology-assisted learning environments. Her dissertation research involved developing and testing an instructional intervention to support fourth grade students’ participation in online discussions and promote their argumentation skills. … Read More

Advanced Musculoskeletal Mechanics and Imaging

Michael Samaan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Samaan and his diverse research team of physicians, physical therapists, medical and exercise science students use biomechanics and imaging to thoroughly understand the effects of orthopedic conditions on joint function and health. More specifically, the … Read More

Preparing Today’s Learners to Become Effective Information Problem Solvers

Students today routinely conduct research online to solve academic and everyday problems. Researchers have established a good understanding of learners’ behaviors in information problem solving (IPS) by quantitatively examining learners’ IPS tracking data. Yet to better teach IPS, we need to know more about learners’ reasoning processes. Applying a self-regulated … Read More

Improving Access to Behavioral Healthcare 

  Joseph H. Hammer, Ph.D., assistant professor of counseling psychology in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, and members of the Help-seeking And Multicultural Measurement Evaluation Research (HAMMER)  Lab study the factors that promote or block people from seeking behavioral healthcare when they have a mental health concern.  They are … Read More

Healing Racial Trauma

Candice Hargons, Ph.D., and the RISE^2 Research Team are investigating the psychophysiological effect of racism on Black students and determining whether meditation can reduce the effect. In a mixed method experimental pilot study, they use biofeedback to observe participants’ heart rate and heart rate variability during the experiment. Then, they … Read More

Politics and Justice Implications

Amanda U. Potterton, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies. Her research and teaching interests include the politics of school choice, charter schools, privatization and public education, and justice-related policy implications for students living in poverty, students with special education needs, and students who are … Read More

Gait Training in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

This study investigates the effectiveness of anti-gravity treadmill gait training on neuromuscular function, dynamic balance and gait in the population with Multiple Sclerosis. Fan Gao, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, is conducting research with two undergraduates, Erick Honaker and Trace Lindquist. Participants receive … Read More

Researching Self-Instructional Behaviors for People with Autism and Intellectual Disability

Dr. Sally Shepley is an assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling. Her research evaluates ways to increase self-instructional behaviors for individuals with autism and intellectual disability. Self-instruction occurs when individuals use smart phones, tablets, or computers to find answers to current problems or questions, … Read More

Collaboration to Further Public Education and Public Health

The research of Professor Joan Mazur, Ph.D., is located at the intersection of public education and public health. Her conceptual focus employs trans-disciplinary research to practice and research and development strategies to address persistent issues that face youth in rural farming communities.​ With over 20 years of research funding from … Read More

High-Leverage and Evidenced-Based Practices in Collaborative Settings

Kera Ackerman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling, studies teachers’ use of high-leverage and evidenced-based practices in collaborative settings and the impact these strategies have on student achievement and behavior. She is currently collaborating with doctoral student Mark Samudre and master’s students … Read More

Preparing Future Faculty through Human Performance Research

Haley Bergstrom, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, and her graduate students are exploring research questions related to two primary areas of focus: 1) the non-invasive assessment of muscle function and fatigue; and 2) mathematical modeling of human performance. These methodologies are used to examine … Read More

Measuring Confidence in Teaching: Lessons from One University Health Course

Elizabeth Whitney, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, teaches a health course for elementary education majors in the College of Education. The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers to recognize and respond to a wide-range of health risk behaviors confronting children. Because … Read More

Effectiveness of Mandated Alcohol and Cannabis Intervention Courses

Use of alcohol and drugs by college students affects academic performance, class attendance, retention, and is associated with many health effects. Students at the University of Kentucky who violate alcohol and drug policies are often assigned to mandated alcohol and drug classes. The purpose of this dissertation study by Ben … Read More

Tracking teacher stress and coping skills

This research focuses on correlations between stressful work-related events and the data provided by the FitBit in order to support future teachers experiencing stress in their teaching careers. Molly Fisher, Ph.D., an associate professor in STEM Education, is conducting research with two undergraduate elementary education majors, Shelby Haarman and Natalie … Read More


This research project explores how students engage in problem-based learning and community action through integration of critical literacy and mathematics learning. Cindy Jong, Ph.D., an associate professor in STEM Education, and Kristen Perry, Ph.D., an associate professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Curriculum and Instruction, along with two undergraduate … Read More

Information for faculty