Skip to main content

Caroline Christopher

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning

Caroline Christopher is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development. Dr. Christopher’s work focuses on investigating the efficacy of educational and social programs designed to improve outcomes for at risk youth.

She is currently the principal investigator on three projects.  Dr. Christopher is part of a research practice partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning designed to improve early education opportunities for low-income children in Tennessee.  Related to this work, she received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct a cross-sectional study of the alignment of quality and content across grades Pre-K through 2 with a brief longitudinal component, following children into the next grade to determine whether instructional practices designed to promote children’s academic and self-regulatory gains are being implemented.  In addition, Dr. Christopher is pursuing action research through a grant she received from the National Science Foundation.  This four-year grant will allow her to work with an interdisciplinary team to develop a progressive web application (PWA).  This tool will provide guidance to instructional leaders in early education settings as they make data-driven decisions about how to work with teachers to promote positive classroom climate and engaging, high-quality instruction. 

She is also involved in a longitudinal follow-up of a randomized controlled trial investigating the long-term effects of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K program (TN-VPK), including the examination of potential mediators of the relation between participation in VPK and subsequent cognitive and behavioral outcomes in middle childhood.

Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, Christopher received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin and was awarded a T32 NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship through the Prevention Research Center at Arizona State University. During her postdoctoral training, Christopher worked with teams who develop, implement, and empirically evaluate prevention programs.