Jan Hughes' Contributions to School Psychology are Far-Reaching

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: April 22, 2010

Curiosity drives Jan Hughes' research in child development and learning.

"I have always been curious about differences in children's development and learning and have sought to understand how children's experiences at home, school and with their peers influence their interests, motivations and abilities," says Jan Hughes, professor of school psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology.

Her curiosity has led to a robust research agenda over her 30-plus-year career that has marked her as one of the top scholars in her field. Her research focuses on the development, assessment and treatment of children's social, emotional and behavioral disorders and on the prevention of misconduct.

Jan, who earned her doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1976, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1984.

"Jan is among the top 10 most influential scholars in the field of school psychology," says Thomas Power, professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Jan's current, long-term research project following almost 800 children in their classrooms over 10 years is unparalleled in its scope in this country," says Victor Willson, head of the Department of Educational Psychology.

Her impact on research will soon be recognized. Jan will receive the 2010 University-Level Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Research. This is one of the highest honors bestowed on a faculty or staff member at Texas A&M University.

Jan's curiosity led her to study aggressive children in the classroom. This research has been particularly significant to understanding the psychology of these students, their school experience, and how to shape behavioral and learning interventions on their behalf.

"Her work with aggressive students is especially critical today," says Terry Gutkin, professor at San Francisco State University, "because school- and community-based violence among children and youth threaten the very social and educational fabric of our nation."