At the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), we advance knowledge through rigorous research that improves policy and practice. Committed to the ideals of equity and justice, our research is relevant, timely, and contributes to the goal of social progress through education.

GSEHD faculty and researchers address the real-world challenges in education through their work. Sample research projects include:
  • Using Robots to Prime Neuropredictive Brain Circuits in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Children with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty learning to communicate and socially interact with others. While researchers have identified language interventions that improve children's language skills, some children fail to respond to these interventions. Recent neuroimaging research offers clues to better understand the specific neuro circuits that mediate intervention success.

    In this project, Dr. Jennifer Frey (Co-PI) of GSEHD collaborates with Dr. Chung Park (Principal Investigator) from GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and Dr. Kevin Pelphrey (Co-PI and Director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to develop and pilot a new neuropriming approach to increase the effectiveness of an evidence-based language intervention with minimally verbal young children with autism. Specifically, Dr. Frey and her colleagues will utilize robots to prime neuropredictive circuits associated with social communication and will examine the effects of this approach on enhancing intervention outcomes.

  • Educational Equity and School Improvement Research Interest Group (RIG)

    This cross-disciplinary group of faculty is committed to cutting-edge research and innovation to tackle the complex challenges inherent in school improvement efforts in the U.S. Balancing rigorous education research with policy and practice expertise, as well as an intense commitment to participatory approaches, this team of faculty works in close partnership with communities and schools to examine and address effectively a wide variety of critical education issues. The work is grounded in an overarching focus on equity in education, an endeavor that requires a fundamental focus on school improvement. The cross-disciplinary group of faculty recognizes the urgent need to address these issues from a variety of disciplinary lenses, and uses research, policy and practice expertise in collaboration with educational partners to leverage local community strengths, address problems of local practice to create new knowledge for the field. The improvement sciences inform this work, and the expertise of the local education community is central to defining, wrestling with and iteratively tackling these problems of practice.

    Researchers look to link educators, professionals, community leaders, families and youth to processes and resources to address issues of equity in educational policy, process, and outcomes. The RIG addresses a diverse range of research areas related to school improvement with particular focus on: equity factors, academic achievement, educational wellbeing, school performance, and graduation rates within economically disadvantaged communities and communities predominantly of color. The RIG aims to advance improvements in educational wellness and success through its commitments to improved student wellbeing and outcomes, teacher wellbeing, and institutional wellness.

    The Educational Equity and School Improvement (EESI) Research Interest Group, organized in 2017, is quickly growing in interest amongst the Graduate School of Education and Human Development research faculty, the university and throughout the education community. Under the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Tuckwiller and Dr. Rebecca Thessin, EESI offers research, policy, resources, translation, and capacity building to improve educational outcomes. The group collaborates with coalitions of teachers, support staff, principals, superintendents, state education agencies, and community agencies to help them determine how to best support positive educational outcomes for students, iterative and relentless improvement, and equitable opportunities to learn for all students.

  • Unlocking Futures: An Online Master’s Program in Secondary Transition Services For Students with High Needs Disabilities

    Special education is a field that is significantly threatened by teacher shortages, according to the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing from the federal government. To address this shortage, Dr. Carol Kochhar-Bryant is leading the launch of a new online master’s program that will train teachers working with high-needs disabled students to transition into adulthood-- a program started with support from a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

    Students with acute brain injury and autism have been identified as high-need target populations by the U.S. Department of Education and most state education agencies. This program is one of a few in the United States and is the first to combine transition services with a focus on acute brain injury and autism. The degree will prepare educators to align the secondary general education curriculum with community-based learning and transition services and to promote the success of all students by nurturing and sustaining school cultures and instructional programs.

  • Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education

    Concerns about the quality of education in the Jewish community mirror concerns of the more general community. The Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE) is an alliance of educational, philanthropic and research institutions aiming to provide improved data and scholarship relevant to the practical needs of teachers, administrators and leaders in Jewish education to address these concerns. Led by GSEHD’s Dean Michael Feuer and Stanford Professor emeritus Lee Shulman, CASJE includes scholars and practitioners from Brandeis, Vanderbilt, and the American Jewish University, the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, the Evanston school district, and the National Ramah Commission.  The consortium is funded by more than $2 million in grants from leading foundations.

    CASJE’s current projects include research on leadership at Jewish day schools, Jewish early childhood education, experiential learning, Jewish camps, and teaching of Hebrew.

  • Structural and Behavioral Barriers to Student Success

    In 2013, the George Washington University released six papers to increase the understanding of how student behaviors and decisions can affect educational success. Written by an interdisciplinary group of researchers from around the country, including the George Washington University, the papers examine the impacts of students’ responses to the financial aid system, to information about college and to classroom and institutional processes. The project was commissioned by GSEHD and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Center for the Advancement of Research in Distance Education (CARDE)

The Center for the Advancement of Research in Distance Education (CARDE) is a research center affiliated with the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. In partnership with institutions, scholars, policy-makers, organizations, and corporations we research theories and constructs to inform best practices of policy-makers, teachers, and learners. Research findings at CARDE offer innovative ways to advance the field of distance education while inviting collaboration and partnerships.

Center for Applied Developmental Science and Neuroeducation

Situated within the Special Education and Disability Studies (SEDS) program, we work with SEDS faculty to train doctoral scholars. Through coursework, internship opportunities, and independent research, students learn to integrate, apply, and advance educational and neuroscientific perspectives. Workshop and symposia led by the Neuroeducation Center will foster collaboration among diverse communities of researchers and practitioners. Through these events and other activities we support the synthesis and dissemination of new knowledge relevant to educational practice and policy.

Center on Education Policy (CEP)

The Center on Education Policy is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center helps Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools. We do not represent any special interests. Instead, we try to help citizens make sense of the conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create the conditions that will lead to better public schools.

Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education (CRCRE)

The GW Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education (CRCRE) aims to enhance research, as well as to provide opportunities for growth and development to a diverse population including persons with disabilities. Currently, the CRCRE is part of two US Department of Education funded National Technical Assistance Centers (the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center and the VR Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities). GW CRCRE is also a partner with the University of Richmond/Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) on a research project examining VR Return on Investment. The Center is also partnering on a demonstration project with Virginia DARS as part of their Career Pathways Grant. The CRCRE has also provided training and technical assistance through contracts with State VR agencies in MD, VA and DC.

The Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership

The Mayberg Center was created to advance community-based scholarship in the field of Jewish education and leadership, particularly in the arenas of pedagogy, identity, and literacy. The Center will convene academics and practitioners in critical conversations about the Jewish future, catalyze research and provide graduate level training for Jewish educators and certificate program opportunities for professionals working in Jewish non-profits.

The GSEHD community contributes to the scholarship on education through books, journal articles, and other publications.
The Role of Philanthropy on the Strategic Planning Process of a Selective Liberal Arts and Science College

Webster, W. P., Jakeman, R. C., & Swayze, S. (2015). The role of philanthropy on the strategic planning process of a selective Liberal Arts and Science College. In H. C. Alphin Jr., J. Lavine, S. Stark, & A. Hocker (Eds.), Facilitating higher education growth through fundraising and philanthropy. New York, NY: IGI Global. doi: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9664-8

Understanding Responsive Curriculum from the Students’ Perspective

Sikorski, T. (2015). Understanding responsive curriculum from the students’ perspective. In A. Robertson, R. Scherr, & D. Hammer (Eds.), Responsive teaching in mathematics and science (pp. 85-104). New York, NY: Routledge.

UNESCO’s Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise: An Inside/Outside Perspective from the U.S.

Engel, L., Streitwieser, B., & Williams, J. (2015). Foreword. In R. Wanner, UNESCO’s Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise: An Inside/Outside Perspective from the U.S. (pp. 1-3). Foreword. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Center, University of Hong Kong.

Utilizing professional societies and associations to advance your career

Huang, B. (2015). Utilizing professional societies and associations to advance your career. In Huang, B. (Ed.), Advancing postdoc women guidebook. Washington, DC: National Postdoctoral Association.

Creating supportive caregiving environments for dual language learning infants and toddlers

Parlakian, R., & Frey, J. R. (2014). Creating supportive caregiving environments for dual language learning infants and toddlers. In M. Dombrink-Green, H. Bohart, & K. Nemeth (Eds.), Spotlight on young children: Supporting dual language learners, (pp. 5-12). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death

Brown, E. (2014). Happier endings: A meditation on life and death. New York City: Simon and Schuster

First steps to preschool inclusion: How to jumpstart your program-wide plan

Gupta, S. S., Henninger, W. R., & Vinh, M. (2014). First steps to preschool inclusion: How to jumpstart your program-wide plan. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Leading with Questions

Marquardt, M. J. (2014). Leading with Questions: How leaders find the right solutions by knowing what to ask. San Francisco: Jossey-Brass.

(Re)constructing memory: School textbooks and the imagination of the nation

Williams, J. H. (2014). (Re)constructing memory: School textbooks and the imagination of the nation. Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishers.

African American: An ethnic rather than racial distinction

Pittman, DM (2014). African American: An ethnic rather than racial distinction. In S. Thompson (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of diversity and social justice. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


Working Paper Series

In the News

Dr. Abe Tekleselassie was invited by The Lab @ DC, a new applied research team in the D.C. Mayor's Office, to speak about mobility patterns of school educators. Dr. Tekleselassie presented: The Revolving Door of the Administrator's Office: Understanding School Principal Leaver and Mover Behavior Using National Data.

Dr. Joan Kester was an invited feature presenter at the PA Department of Education Annual Conference 2018, Making a Difference: Educational Practices that Work! She presented her research and intervention school improvement model in a session entitled "Utilizing Youth and Family Research Data to Improve Secondary Transition Practices in Pennsylvania."

Dr. Matthew Shirrell presented a paper at the Spring 2018 Conference of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) entitled "Understanding the Building Blocks of On-the-Job Teacher Education: The Role of Physical Proximity in Work-Related Social Ties Among School Staff.”

Faculty, students, and alumni presented their research at the National Conference of the Academy of Human Resource Development. Presenters included: Dr. Maria Cseh, alumna Dr. Anne Lackritz (Human and Organizational Learning), doctoral candidate Oliver Crocco (Human and Organizational Learning), former doctoral student Wei Wang (Human and Organizational Learning), Dr. Ellen Scully-Russ, Dr. Neal Chalofsky, alumnus Dr. Ralph Soule (Human and Organizational Learning), alumna Dr. Danielle Dimitrov (Human Resource Development), doctoral student Selena Barlow (Human and Organizational Learning), alumna Dr. Emily Morrison (Human and Organizational Learning), doctoral student Leslie Kirsch (Human and Organizational Learning), doctoral student Terri Hinkley (Human and Organizational Learning), doctoral student John DeForest (Human and Organizational Learning), and doctoral student Cindy Dupree (Human and Organizational Learning).

Dr. Jennifer Frey attended the 11th Biennial Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention (CRIEI) in San Diego, where she co-authored the paper, "Improving early communication outcomes for toddlers with Down syndrome," presented in the symposium Defining Intervention Features to Advance Outcomes of High Risk and Delayed Infants and Toddlers. Also, as part of her ongoing work with the Bridging the Word Gap Research Network, she and colleagues presented their findings from their paper, "The Effects of Parent-implemented Language Interventions on Child Linguistic Outcomes: A Meta-analysis."