Prospective Students

For Prospective Students from Professor Engle

Doctoral Study

If you are considering graduate study in EMST or SESAME, a wise way to prepare an application is to explore faculty webpages (see mine) and then read faculty papers mentioned on them to see if there’s a connection between what you’d like to study and what we do. If so, you are encouraged to contact us by email before you prepare an application to discuss the potential fit between your interests and ours. It is usually best to find programs in which your interests somehow overlap with at least two faculty members as this means that you will have more people to advise you and will be exposed to more than one approach to doing research.

I work with different Ph.D. advisees in different ways. Some work with me shoulder-to-shoulder on collaborative research projects while others pursue their own line of independent research for which I and several other faculty provide advice. Most commonly students begin with the first model and gradually shift to the second as they define their areas of interest and learn research skills.

For 2009, I expect to have the most opportunities for collaborative research opportunities within the Framing and Transfer Studies projects, which focus on testing a set of new hypotheses about ways that teachers can encourage students to use what they have learned (see Engle, 2006). We pursue both classroom studies and tutoring experiments to further develop and test these hypotheses. So far, all our studies focus on high school biology content, with grant proposals submitted to support that work. Given that, I am especially looking for a new Ph.D. student with a strong background in biology and/or biology instruction to join that project. I would also be open to discussing new project ideas about how framing may influence transfer in mathematics as well.

My other line of research is on ways of fostering productive disciplinary engagement in discussions (see Engle & Conant, 2002). Within this line of research, opportunities exist in following up on a recent article about five practices to make it more manageable for teachers to facilitate effective mathematical discussions that build on student thinking (Stein, Engle, Smith & Hughes, 2008). In addition, although the main part of the Calculus Study is being wrapped up, the dataset from this study can provide a basis for exploring a variety of research questions. Finally, someone with experience creating computational models would be an asset for following up on a recent paper that proposed a model for understanding how differential influence in discussions can arise (Engle, McKinney de Royston & Langer-Osuna, submitted). However, if you read one of my papers and that sparks an idea for something you’d be interested in besides these ideas, do not hesitate to share it with me!

View the Graduate School of Education's admissions webpage.

Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program

Our lab is also often open to undergraduates who are interested in participating in research.

Openings for undergraduate research assistants are advertised early each semester as part of the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP). In exchange for your assistance with the research, you can receive up to 1 unit of course credit per every 3 hours per week you work. New research assistants initially start out doing tasks assigned by more experienced members of the team, but they often grow to take on more responsible roles. You may be involved in collecting data, analyzing data, reading academic papers, giving feedback on research paper drafts, and helping to design research studies. There is likely a weekly research meeting, usually on Friday afternoons.

In addition to the URAP program, I am willing to advise students who would like to do their own research through an honors thesis or other project that falls within my areas of my expertise. Occasionally I teach graduate seminars that may be appropriate for advanced undergraduates, especially those majoring or minoring in cognitive science, linguistics, and/or education.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.