Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, PhD

Research Interests

Experiential educational practices in HDFS undergraduate education (including service-learning, internships, capstones, and collaboration), scholarship of teaching and learning, school readiness, school and home-based interventions for at-risk preschoolers


As an Indiana native, the child of two Boilermakers, and a Purdue alumna myself, I am happy to call Purdue my academic home. I am proud to work in the HDFS Department because our research investigates and promotes human well-being and we prepare students to do meaningful work that improves people's lives.

My graduate training at the University of Massachusetts was in clinical psychology, with a concentration on children, adolescents, and families. My research interests bridge the disciplines of psychology and education, and initially focused on the learning and behavior of preschool-aged children. My main focus now is on work that examines university teaching and learning. I am particularly interested in experiential education practices – pedagogical approaches that get students actively involved in authentic learning experiences in the classroom and beyond. My research, writing, and teaching focus on using these practices to continuously improve the undergraduate education of students within - and beyond - the HDFS department. I place great value on access and equity across all levels of education, and I strive to contribute to inclusive and equitable educational practices and policies.

In the News

Purdue News
Real people, real impact: Service learning benefits HHS students and community
Indianapolis Star
'There's only so much we can do': Virtual learning is taking a toll on kids
Purdue News
Purdue, Ivy Tech pair to offer new addiction studies concentration
WXIN/Full Steam Ahead Podcast (Indianapolis)
Full Steam Ahead Podcast Episode 45 - Read Across America Day


Selected Publications

  • Dobbs-Oates, J. (2021). Quick tips for teaching students how to reflect. Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, 3(3), 10-12. Available at:

  • Purpura, D. J., Schmitt, S. A., Napoli, A. R., Dobbs-Oates, J., King, Y. A., Hornburg, C. B., Westerberg, L., Borriello, G. A., Bryant, L., Anaya, L. Y., Kung, M., Litkowski, E., Lin, J., Rolan, E. (2021). Engaging caregivers and children in picture books:  A family-implemented mathematical language intervention. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication:

  • Dobbs-Oates, J., Elias, C.M., Purcell, M.L., & Watkins, N.D. (2021). Experiential learning from home:  The impact of COVID-19 on field-based practices. Susan Bulkeley Butler Center and ADVANCE Purdue Center for Faculty Success Working Paper Series. Navigating Careers in the Academy: Gender, Race, and Class. 3(3) Special Issue: Higher Education and COVID-19. Volume II: 56-66. Available at:

  • *Marshall, M., Dobbs-Oates, J., Kunberger, T., & Greene, J. (2021). The peer mentor experience:  Benefits and challenges in undergraduate programs. Mentoring and Tutoring:  Partnership in Learning. Advance online publication. doi:  10.1080/13611267.2021.1899587

  • Dobbs-Oates, J. (2019). Internships and work-based learning: Strategies for enhancing key relationships. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 111(4), 62-65. doi: 10.14307/JFCS111.4.62

  • *Zhang, C., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2019). The relations between American children’s Head Start experience and pre-academic skills: A comparison with children from a community group. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. doi:10.1080/02568543.2019.1649769

  • Dobbs-Oates, J. (2017). Service-learning in a helping skills course. In T. Newman & A. E. Schmitt (Eds.) Field-based learning in Family Life Education: Facilitating high-impact experiences in undergraduate family science programs. Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-39874-7

  • Choi*, J. Y., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2016). Teacher-child relationships: Contribution of teacher and child characteristics. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(1), 15-28.

  • Choi*, J. Y., Elicker, J., Christ, S., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2016). Predicting growth trajectories in early academic learning: Evidence from growth curve modeling with Head Start children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36(3), 244-258. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2015.12.017

  • Dobbs-Oates, J. (2016). Child care quality and young children’s behavior. In The SAGE encyclopedia of contemporary early childhood education. (pp. 212-214). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. doi:10.4135/9781483340333.n57

  • Dobbs-Oates, J. (2016, October). Supervising interns at a distance. The Teaching Professor, 30(8), 8.

  • Dobbs-Oates, J., & Wachter Morris, C. A. (2016). The case for interprofessional education in teacher education and beyond. Journal of Education for Teaching, 42(1), 50-65. doi:10.1080/02607476.2015.1131363

  • Dobbs-Oates, J., Pentimonti, J. M., Kaderavek, J. N., & Justice, L. M. (2015). Parent and child attitudinal factors in a model of children’s print-concept knowledge. Journal of Research in Reading, 38(1), 91-108. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9817.2012.01545.x

  • Choi*, J. Y., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2014). Child care quality and preschoolers’ math development. Early Child Development and Care, 184, 915-932. doi:10.1080/03004430.2013.829822

  • Tan*, M., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2013). Relationship between emergent literacy and early social-emotional development in preschool children from low-income backgrounds. Early Child Development and Care, 11, 1509-1530. doi:10.1080/03004430.2012.729051

  • Dobbs-Oates, J., & Robinson*, C. D. (2012). Preschoolers’ mathematical skills and behavior: Analysis of a national sample. School Psychology Review, 41, 371-386.

  • Baroody*, A., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2011). Child and parent characteristics, parental expectations, and child behaviours related to preschool children's interest in literacy. Early Child Development and Care, 181, 345-359.

  • Dobbs-Oates, J., Kaderavek, J. N., Guo, Y., & Justice, L. M. (2011). Effective behavior management in preschool classrooms and children's task orientation: Enhancing children's emergent literacy and language development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 420-429.

Note: Students whose work Dr. Dobbs-Oates has supervised are indicated with an asterisk.


  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, 2006, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

  • Clinical Psychology Internship, 2005-2006, University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, Memphis, TN

  • MS, Clinical Psychology, 2002, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

  • BA, Psychology, 2000, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Courses Recently Taught

  • HDFS 100:  Orientation to Current Issues in Human Development and Family Studies

  • HDFS 331:  Skills for Helping Professionals in Individual, Family, and Group Settings

  • HDFS 454:  Career Assessment and Professional Development

  • HDFS 455:  Human Services Capstone Internship

  • HDFS 458:  Developmental and Family Science Capstone Internship


  • 2021: Award for Exceptional Teaching and Instructional Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Round 1 Awardee, Department of Human Development and Family Studies Teaching Academy and Office of the Provost, Purdue University

  • 2020: Seed for Success Award, Purdue University

  • 2019: Experiential Education Rising Leader Award, National Society for Experiential Education

  • 2018: Inducted as a Fellow of the Teaching Academy, Purdue University

  • 2018: Patsy J. Mellott Teaching Innovation Award (jointly with Dr. Natasha Watkins)

  • 2015: Diversity Award, Indiana Extension Educators Association (Presented to members of the Issue-Based Action Team on Understanding School Readiness in Latino/Hispanic Immigrant Households)

  • 2013: Outstanding Undergraduate Education Award, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University

  • 2011: Teaching for Tomorrow Junior Fellow, Purdue University

Selected Professional Service

Purdue University

  • Founding Faculty Facilitator of the Active Learning Community of Practice

Ivy Tech Community College

  • Member, Advisory Board for the Human Services program, Lafayette campus (2011 – present)

State of Indiana

  • Member, Career Relevance Steering Group, Indiana Commission of Higher Education (2020 – present)

  • Co-chair, Transfer Single Articulation Pathway Human Services Panel, Indiana Commission of Higher Education (2016-2017)

National Society for Experiential Education

  • Member, Board of Directors (2020 – present)

  • Co-chair, Higher Education Partnerships Committee (2020 – present)

  • Member, Peer Consulting Committee (2020 – present)

  • Member, Conference Planning Committee (2016 – 2020)

Jen Dobbs-Oates
Clinical Associate Professor

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Director, Office of Experiential Education
Faculty Associate, Center for Families
Fellow, Teaching Academy

(PhD, University of Massachusetts)

Hanley Hall, Room 245
Purdue University
1202 West State St.
West Lafayette, Indiana  47907-2055

Phone: 765-494-2931
Fax: 765-496-1144

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