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Professor, Department Head Jessica DeCuir-Gunby Named American Psychological Association Fellow

Professor Jessica DeCuirt-Gunby

Jessica DeCuir-Gunby, a professor of educational psychology and head of the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences in the NC State College of Education, has been awarded Fellow status for the educational psychology division (Division 15) of the American Psychological Association (APA).

American Psychological Association Fellows are elected based on demonstrated evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology and work that has had a national impact on the field. DeCuir-Gunby’s Fellow status will begin Jan. 1, 2022. 

“I was elated to learn that I was selected to be an APA Fellow for Division 15,” she said. “Fellows are considered to have made outstanding contributions to the field of psychology. It is humbling to know that my work has had a significant impact on the field.”

DeCuir-Gunby’s research focuses on race-related issues within education with a particular focus on the experiences of African American students in schools. 

Of her research, which has cumulatively been cited thousands of times, she said she is most proud of the work that has challenged researchers, specifically those within the educational psychology field, to center race in their research. 

She cites her 2014 “Researching Race Within Educational Psychology Contexts” article, co-authored with Paul Schutz from the University of Arizona, which encourages the use of race-focused and race-reimagined approaches to examining race and ethnicity within schools. This article ultimately led to the development of Race and Ethnicity in the Study of Motivation in Education, a book co-edited by DeCuir-Gunby that highlights the limited focus on race and ethnicity within educational psychology. 

DeCuir-Gunby said she is also proud of her work as an applied methodologist, as she often writes about and teaches others how to use specific methodological approaches. She is the co-author of Developing a Mixed Methods Proposal: A Practical Guide for Beginning Researchers, a 2016 book which features activities that she uses in her mixed methods research course at the College of Education.  

Her latest research is a partnership with Thandeka Chapman at the University of California- San Diego and Adrienne Dixson at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Funded by the Spencer Foundation, the study focuses on the experiences of African American working mothers as they navigate their children’s schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, racism pandemic and recent backlash against the concept of Critical Race Theory.

“We want to better understand the complexity of these experiences and how they affect African American families and communities,” she said.