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Joseph Gardella

Doctoral Student, Department of Human and Organizational Development

Program: Community Research and Action
Admission year: 2012

Joseph H. Gardella is a community psychologist and interdisciplinary education researcher. He is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) and has completed both a quantitative methods doctoral minor and a certificate in college teaching. He conducts mixed-methods community and school-based prevention research to foster positive youth development, paying particular attention to marginalized students and diverse contexts. This work includes theorizing the social construction of how problem behavior management happens in schools to develop a theoretical basis for developing more socially just policy and practice (e.g., restorative practices). This social construction reveals opportunities for racial and class bias and opportunities to better meet the unique needs and capitalize on the strengths of minoritized students in a particular school. This work is part of a broader arc of research that shifted from a focus on violence to transforming structural antecedents of violence and problem behaviors to prevent them. It also has shifted to focus on younger and more vulnerable populations. Joseph combines Rogerian humanist and empirically-derived practices that foster noncognitive learning factors for inclusive teaching practices. Following his time at Vanderbilt, he intends to develop this research program at a research institution that values teaching. He currently works with Dr. Maury Nation as his primary research advisor.

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