STAR Presentations

The Graduate School’s Student Teaching as Research (STAR) Grant Program offers competitive funding to MU graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are conducting teaching as research projects.  The “teaching as research” (TAR) approach translates research skills into teaching and learning, and helps scholars to become more reflective teachers and researchers. The students and postdocs selected for this award prepare proposals during the fall semester and collect data during the spring semester. The STAR awardees collectively represent excellence in employing reflective research methods to help improve our knowledge of effective learning practices.

Doctoral Candidate, Educational Psychology

 This grounded theory study examines sense of belonging development of rural students in the College of Education at a flagship university. Guided by an ecological systems framework, I evaluated how rurality intersects and influences higher education experiences. I collected data from eleven preservice teachers, originating from rural (8) and urban (3) locales, in three phases of semi-structured interviews. The iterative process of constant comparison revealed divergent findings that indicate an emerging sense of agency in rural students to earn a feeling of mattering through proximal connections. This emerging theory contributes to generalized models of student development.

Doctoral Student, Educational Psychology

There are differences between online classes and traditional, face-to-face classes. The goal of my research is to see if the motivational needs of students change based on learning context. My study gathered data on the epistemological beliefs of learners, along with their felt motivational needs in courses taught either online or face-to-face by the same instructor. The analysis of courses taught online or traditionally by the same instructor helps to eliminate confounding variables. Preliminary findings of my research suggest that: Online learners tend to believe intelligence comes from effort, while face-to-face learners were more likely to see intelligence as fixed; Both groups have similar autonomy support needs; Online learners report feeling more competent regarding their learning and subject mastery than face-to-face learners; Face-to-face learners report more relatedness and connection with other learners, compared to online learners.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Public Health and Women’s & Gender Studies

In their seminal text titled “Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?” the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (2003) asserts that “all undergraduates should have access to education in public health” (pg. 20). In an effort to respond to IOM’s call, the primary aim of the proposed project is to employ best practices in teaching and learning, as guided by the National Education Association (NEA). The proposed teaching as research project will bring public health into conversation with issues of race, ethnicity, and gender. In this course, we will draw on a range of interdisciplinary literature and quantitative data to challenge categories of race, ethnicity, gender and health.


Doctoral Students, Philosophy

In the context of Philosophy courses, office hours constitute an opportunity to delve deeper into the topics discussed in class, and also to address particular students’ concerns and interests. However, it remains an open question whether students utilize this resource effectively, since the factors involved in the practice (such as the number of students that participate, the methodology employed, and the students’ general expectations, to name a few) are unclear and not systematically studied. This research project will help to shed light onto these issues by determining key factors pertaining to this practice that can lead to greater student success.

Doctoral Candidate, Special Education

Students with disabilities or difficulty learning mathematics can be found in almost every classroom. With both general and special education teachers making an instructional impact on these students it is critical for proper mathematics preparation. Teacher noticing is a skill that encourages teachers to understand the significance of what they are seeing during a lesson and attend to it, which enables them to make connections with broader mathematical teaching principles. This descriptive research study is designed to understand the content knowledge, mathematical beliefs, and teacher noticing of 120 general and special education pre-service teachers in differing stages of their certification program.

Doctoral Student, School Psychology 

The primary objective of the current study was to examine the effects of an intervention to promote preservice teachers’ sense of efficacy, attitudes, and perceived preparation for teaching English learners (ELs). Participants were 58 preservice teachers who were enrolled in a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL) undergraduate course. The preservice teachers completed a pre and post survey on: (a) their self-efficacy regarding EL students, (b) their attitudes towards EL students in classrooms and their parents and (c) their perceived preparation towards working with EL students.