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, it only makes sense that I have made Purdue my academic home. I am pleased to be part of the Purdue community, and especially to work in a department that studies issues of individual, family, and community well-being and that prepares 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.

Selected Publications

  • Dobbs-Oates, J., & Zhang*, C. (in press). Head Start’s impact on children’s pre-academic skills: A comparison with children from a community group. Early Childhood Research and Practice.

  • 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.

  • Fisher, P. H., Dobbs-Oates, J., Doctoroff, G. L., & Arnold, D. H. (2012). Early math interest and the development of math skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(3), 673-681. doi:10.1037/a0027756

  • 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.

  • Dobbs, J., Doctoroff, G. L., Fisher, P. H., & Arnold, D. H. (2006). The association between preschool children's socio-emotional functioning and their mathematical skill. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 97-108.

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


  • 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

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

  • Co-chair, Transfer Single Articulation Pathway Human Services Panel (2016-2017)

National Society for Experiential Education

  • Conference Planning Committee (2016 – present)

  • Co-chair, Innovators’ Panel conference plenary session (2017)

Jennifer Dobbs-Oates
Clinical Associate Professor

Faculty Associate:
   Center for Families
   Faculty Fellow, Center for
   Instructional Excellence
   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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