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Early Learning Experts

At-risk children

Edward F. Hackett

Associate professor, education

Chairman, Education Section, Purdue North Central

(219) 785-5486


Has expertise in child behavior, classroom management and working with at-risk students. Supervises Purdue North Central's Master Teacher program where an outstanding elementary teacher from an area school joins the faculty for one year.

P. Youli Mantzicopoulos
Associate professor, educational psychology

(765) 494-7247; home: (317) 447-4416


Studies personality development and young children at risk of school failure. Evaluates early education programs for at-risk children by investigating family, school and child characteristics. Conducts research on the effectiveness of the Head Start Program.

Early childhood education

Karen E. Diamond

Associate professor, childhood development and

family studies

Director, Child Development Laboratory

(765) 494-2958


Researches children's understanding of disabilities and the inclusion of children with disabilities in regular education programs. Has expertise in early childhood education and early childhood special education.

James G. Elicker
Assistant professor, developmental studies and

early childhood education

(765) 494-2938; home: (317) 474-6530


Has worked in Head Start programs for 10 years. Specializes in early childhood education. Research interests include early caregiving relationships and the development of social competence. Conducting a long-term study on the effectiveness of full-day vs. half-day kindergarten.

Susan J. Kontos
Professor, early childhood education and child


(765) 494-2942; home: (317) 463-1616


Has extensively studied child care centers and home-based child care. Has expertise in caring for and incorporating special-needs preschoolers with other children in child care settings. Co-directing a project called Indiana First Steps Evaluation, which is studying the impact of early intervention programs on infants and toddlers with disabilities. Has written two books on family child care.

Douglas R. Powell
Professor, child development and family studies

Head, Department of Child Development and Family


(765) 494-2941; home: (317) 474-6313


Primary areas of interest are early childhood and parent education programs and family contributions to children's learning. Advises the U.S. Department of Education on national education goals and drafted a series of strategies to help parents prepare their young children for success in school. Studied first-time and low-income parents to see how much support and information they received. Developed "Links to Learning" parent education program.

Head Start

James G. Elicker
For biography, see "Early childhood education"

P. Youli Mantzicopoulos
For biograpgy, see "Early childhood education"

Volker Thomas
Assistant professor, child development and family


(765) 494-2966; home: (317) 497-3452


Research includes family assessment of family functioning, cross-cultural issues and how they affect family values, and gender issues in family therapy. Oversees a Head Start project to assess families with children in the program and provide them with family therapy services.

Reading and literacy

Beverly E. Cox
Associate professor, literacy education

(765) 494-3936; home: (317) 563-6860


Conducted research on language and literacy development from preschool to adult ages. Was project director for federal Student Literacy Corps at Purdue and conducts research into preschoolers' and elementary children's developing literacy.

Deborah R. Dillon
Associate professor, literacy and language


Associate dean, School of Education

(765) 494-2354; home: (317) 583-2621


Has expertise on the roles of teachers and students as they work together to facilitate students' reading comprehension and writing skills. Worked with teachers in collaborative efforts to better understand the complexities of teaching, learning and assessment.

Charles A. Elster
Associate professor, literacy education

(765) 494-6056; home: (317) 463-9148


Researches emergent literacy and literature-based language arts programs. Is especially interested in how teachers and parents read books with children, how young children "pretend read" familiar books, and how adults organize literacy learning for children. Named Outstanding Teacher in the School of Education in 1993.

Carol J. Hopkins
Associate professor, literacy education

(765) 494-3934; home: (317) 463-5927


Examines elementary-level instructional materials to determine the extent to which literacy research has been translated into practice. Is co-author of instructional materials for grades 1-6.

Cynthia Pulver
Associate professor, education, Purdue North


(219) 785-5322


Has expertise in integrating mathematics and other subjects into children's literature; also corrective reading and developmental reading.

Maribeth Schmitt
Associate professor, literacy and language

Director, Reading Recovery Program

(765) 494-9750; home: (317) 477-7064


Has studied and written on literacy education in elementary and middle schools. Taught and was a remedial reading specialist in Catholic schools for 11 years. First director of the Indiana Reading Recovery program, providing special training for teachers who work one-on-one with first-grade pupils who otherwise might not learn to read. Won a national award for research on literacy.

School readiness

Douglas R. Powell

For biography, see "Early education"