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Kathy Hoover-Dempsey

Student in psychology child development lab
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Using Psychology to Improve Education

Professor Hoover-Dempsey's research focuses on family-school relationships. Her model of the parental involvement process, developed with her students and colleagues, examines why parents become involved in their children's education, and how their involvement, once engaged, influences students' personal resources for learning and achievement.

"One particularly exciting finding," she explained, "is that invitations to involvement-from schools, students' teachers, and students themselves-is a very strong predictor of parental involvement. This means that schools can be very influential in supporting effective family engagement in student learning, from preschool through high school." Consistent with this finding, she and her colleagues have developed and evaluated school-based interventions to increase the effectiveness of schools' and teachers' invitations to parental involvement.

Professor Hoover-Dempsey teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in developmental and educational psychology. A noted teacher, she has received the University's Chair of Teaching Excellence, the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching, and the Chancellor's Cup for Student-Faculty Relationships Outside of the Classroom.

Peabody's psychology department is especially strong in the areas of cognitive and social development, student learning, and quantitative research and testing. The department's ninety-year history is an illustrious one and Professor Hoover-Dempsey's work has helped continue its tradition.