New hires build on CEHD’s strengths in special education, human development and family sciences, education policy and more.

This fall, the University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) welcomes 10 new faculty members, including two senior tenure-track faculty members—Jessica Namkung and Sara Goldstein—in the areas of special education and human development and family sciences. The growth in faculty builds on CEHD’s strengths in the areas of special education, human development and family sciences, education and social policy, school psychology and curriculum and instruction, deepening the college’s scholarship and expanding its programs and community services in these crucial areas.

Our new colleagues—who include tenure-track colleagues Jessica Namkung, Sara Goldstein, Leigh McLean, Eric Layland and Brittany Zakszeski and continuing-track colleagues Amin Alizadeh, Allison Jackson, Kate Riera, Teresa Rush and Rosalyn Washington—also contribute to the important areas of scholarship and teaching identified by US News and World Report. This year, CEHD ranked 39th among colleges and universities, placing the college in the top 15% of education colleges across the nation. Our new faculty members enrich our expertise and contribute to our externally-funded grants and projects in the following areas:

  • Special education with 15 faculty members and $22,647,868 in external funding
  • Education policy with 18 faculty members and $23,611,190 in external funding
  • Curriculum and instruction with 32 faculty members and $14,614,131 in external funding
  • Elementary teacher education with 35 faculty members and $16,619,140 in external funding

Special Education

Jessica Namkung joins CEHD, one of the leading colleges for research and student programs in special education, as associate professor in the School of Education (SOE). She specializes in mathematics learning difficulties, with research focused on improving mathematics outcomes for struggling students. Through her research, Namkung also works to understand the various factors that contribute to individual differences in learning mathematics, such as executive function, language and mathematics anxiety. Her research has been published in Review of Educational Research, The Elementary School JournalThe Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities and Learning Disabilities Quarterly.

Namkung currently serves as the principal investigator (PI) of “Exploring Cognitive and Foundational Processes Underlying Pre-algebra among Students with and without Mathematics Learning Difficulties,” a $1.4 million exploration grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Her work aims to identify key factors that underlie pre-algebra difficulties among seventh graders. She also serves as co-director of two leadership grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Rehabilitative Services that focus on training future scholars in special education.

In addition to Namkung, CEHD also welcomes Allison F. Jackson, continuing-track assistant professor in the SOE. Together, Namkung and Jackson build upon CEHD’s strengths in special education and learning differences, joining tenured/tenure-track colleagues Charles MacArthur, Nancy Jordan, Steven Eidelman, Laura Eisenman, Kristen Ritchey, Josh Wilson, Beth Mineo, Al Cavalier, Tia Barnes, Sarah Curtiss, Stephanie Del Tufo and continuing-track colleagues Sarah Mallory and Gary Allison. Many CEHD faculty conduct research and provide services through the college’s Center for Disabilities Studies.

Human Development and Family Sciences

Sara Goldstein joins CEHD as a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS), specializing in lifespan human development. Her research adopts a social justice-informed approach to understanding the social and social-cognitive factors associated with youth’s psychological, behavioral and social adjustment.

For example, Goldstein’s research has focused on the predictors and consequences of gendered aggression, bullying and peer-based harassment. She also examines other aspects of adjustment including academic motivation and achievement, mental health and problem behavior, broadly defined. Goldstein is especially interested in the development of these constructs during periods of developmental transition such as early adolescence and emerging adulthood. Her program of research also explores the significant roles that parents, peers and schools play during these periods of youth transition. Goldstein’s research has been published in a variety of leading journals including Developmental Psychology, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Journal, Contemporary School Psychology, Early Child Development and Care, Early Education and Development and Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal for Research on Adolescence, among others.

Goldstein’s recent projects have focused on cyberbullying and sexual harassment during adolescence, and the links to parental socialization and school experiences. Her current work explores how parenting during emerging adulthood is linked with parent-youth relationship characteristics, and with youth social and psychological adjustment.

Eric Layland joins CEHD as an assistant professor in HDFS, where he bridges LGBTQ+ developmental research and community impact through developmentally-informed, affirmative interventions. His research areas include LGBTQ+ within-group differences in mental health and unhealthy substance use, the impact of stigma on LGBTQ+ development, strengths-based approaches to LGBTQ+ health, and LGBTQ+ affirmative interventions. Across all areas of research, Dr. Layland uses innovative analytical methods to reflect intersecting systems of oppression that shape LGBTQ development across the life course.

Through community partnerships and funding support from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Layland has led and collaborated on several intervention evaluations including investigation of underage drinking prevention among college students (LateNight Penn State), school-based substance use and HIV prevention among adolescents (HealthWise South Africa), and LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy for adolescents and young adults (EQuIP). He recently served as PI on projects funded by the Yale Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies that studied the experiences of LBGTQ+ individuals engaged in telehealth services and cognitive behavioral health therapy.

Currently, he continues to collaborate with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, to model the impact of intersecting stigma on health disparities and development of Black and Latinx sexual minority young men.

In addition to Goldstein and Layland, CEHD welcomes several other faculty members in HDFS, including three continuing-track assistant professors—Amin Alizadeh, Kate Riera and Rosalyn Washington. Together, they build on CEHD’s strengths in human development and family sciences, joining continuing-track professors Laura Wallace and Lynn Worden, and tenured or tenure-track professors Ann Aviles, Tia Barnes, Martha Buell, Roderick Carey, Valerie Earnshaw, Steven Eidelman, Heather Farmer, Michael Ferrari, Ruth E. Fleury-Steiner, Jennifer Gallo-Fox, Mellissa Gordon, Rena Hallam, Myae Han, Jason Hustedt, Allison Karpyn, Lynn Okagaki, Barbara Settles, Bahira Trask and Anamarie Whitaker.

Education and Social Policy

Leigh McLean joined CEHD in January 2022 as an assistant research professor in the SOE and Center for Research in Educational and Social Policy. She brings expertise in quantitative, mixed-methods longitudinal study design and implementation, multileveled data analysis and classroom observation. In her program of research, McLean investigates how teachers’ emotions and emotion-related experiences, including well-being, impact their effectiveness. She is particularly interested in how teachers’ emotions affect their instructional practices, and the role that early-career teachers’ emotions play as they transition into the career.

McLean currently serves as PI on two federally funded projects. Exploring Elementary Teachers’ Feelings, Beliefs and Effectiveness across Mathematics, Science and Literacy,” a $1.4 million grant funded by the IES, studies how elementary teachers’ feelings and beliefs impact their effectiveness in the content areas they teach. “The Impacts of Preservice Supervised Field Experiences on Elementary Mathematics Teachers’ Retention and Effectiveness,” a $1.5 million grant funded by the National Science Foundation, explores how mentored teaching experience impacts elementary mathematics teachers’ effectiveness during the early career stage.

McLean builds upon CEHD’s strength in education and social policy, which joining tenured/tenure-track colleagues Dean Gary T. Henry, Director of Research Laura Desimone, and Martha Buell, Rena Hallam, Ann Aviles, Sarah Bruch (jointly appointed), Valerie Earnshaw, Elizabeth Farley-Ripple, Jason Hustedt, Allison Karpyn, Henry May, Lauren Bailes, Roderick Carey, Ann Aviles, Florence Ran, Barbara Settles, Kenneth Shores, Bryan VanGronigen and Anamarie Whitaker.

School Psychology

Brittany Zakszeski joins CEHD as a tenure-track assistant professor in the SOE specializing in school psychology. Her research centers on promoting student and staff mental and behavioral health through multi-tiered systems of support in schools. Her work leverages advances in implementation science to address barriers to schools’ adoption, high-fidelity implementation and sustained use of evidence-based assessment and intervention practices at the system-wide, targeted and individual levels. She prioritizes accessible, efficient, and scalable practices and is particularly committed to promoting equitable outcomes for minoritized students, families and communities.

Zakszeski currently serves as the PI on a pilot evaluation of a targeted mental health intervention for high school students, funded by the Society for the Study of School Psychology. She recently served as the PI on a project that studied the efficacy of a targeted invention for elementary school students with internalizing behaviors, funded by the American Psychological Foundation.

Zakszeski builds upon CEHD’s strengths in school psychology and joins tenured colleagues George Bear, Marika Ginsburg-Block and Joseph Glutting.

Curriculum and Instruction

Two faculty members bring expertise to CEHD’s curriculum and instruction, particularly the early childhood education and elementary teacher education programs. Rosalyn Washington, continuing-track assistant professor in HDFS, will contribute to the department’s Early Childhood Education program. Teresa Rush, who specializes in elementary teacher education, joins CEHD as a continuing-track assistant professor and program coordinator for the Elementary Teacher Education Associate in Arts program in Wilmington, Delaware.

Rush and Washington build on CEHD’s teaching and research strengths in curriculum and instruction, exhibited by several faculty members, joining tenured/ tenure-track faculty members Steve Amendum, Martha Buell, Tia Barnes, David Coker, Zoubeida Dagher, Stephanie Del Tufo, Danielle Ford, Jen Gallo-Fox, Lynsey Gibbons, Rena Hallam, Myae Han, Charles Hohensee, Jason Hustedt, Amanda Jansen, Rachel Karchmer-Klein, Erica Litke, Charles MacArthur, Anne Morris, Teo Paoletti, Kristen Ritchey, Sharon Walpole, Anamarie Whitaker, Joshua Wilson and continuing-track faculty members Christina Budde, Vicki Goettel, William Lewis, Kristina Najera, Eric Sisofo, Elizabeth Soslau and Lynn Worden.

Image: From left to right, Jessica Namkung, Kate Riera, Teresa Rush, Brittany Zakszeski, Eric Layland, (second row) Sara Goldstein, Amin Alizadeh, Allison F. Jackson, Rosalyn Washington, and Leigh McLean

Article by Jessica Henderson. Illustration by Shelly Silva