James Madison University

Welcome to MRI

Since 2005, the Motivation Research Institute (MRI) has been bringing together a community of faculty and students to conduct research on motivation-related topics. Recently, we have begun engaging in outreach and public service activities to help practitioners apply motivation theories and principles to real-world contexts.

Attending our first national meeting of the Student Agency Improvement Community in Stanford, CA in 2014. Front Row: THMS middle school teachers Teresa Jackson, Jackie Funkhouser, Julie Shiflet Back Row: THMS vice principal Daniel Kirwan, Chris Hulleman, Bryce Inouye, Kenn Barron, and THMS Middle school teachers Teresa Keesling and Leah Brockman

Recent News & Announcements

Congratulations to senior undergraduate students Thomas Hartka and Nick Zurlo for being recognized with the Dean's Award for Best Undergraduate Research Poster at JMU's annual 2015 undergraduate research conference in psychology. Their poster, entitled Promoting a Growth Mindset in Harrisonburg City Public Schools, showcased one of the example researcher-practitioner collaboration projects being conducted with our local school district. Also congratulations to Nick for being selected to participate in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's two-year post-baccalaureate fellowship program in Stanford, CA, and to both Nick and Thomas who will continue working at MRI as post- baccalaureates over the summer.

During 2014-2016, Kenn Barron, Chris Hulleman, and Computer Scientist Bryce Inouye are receiving funding from 4VA and the Raikes Foundation to support the development of the Rapid Assessment Platform and Intervention Delivery System (aka, RAPID), which is a set of computer-based and handheld tablet assessment and intervention tools that teachers and schools can use to diagnose and deliver interventions targeting motivation issues.

During 2014-15, Chris Hulleman is participating as a Fellow-in-Residence at the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is also a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Stanford. While at Stanford, Chris has been helping launch two national networks – one researcher-practitioner partnership and the other a network of researchers - all focused on developing and disseminating social psychological interventions that help solve important social problems, such as reducing inequality in educational outcomes.

In 2014, Harrisonburg City Public Schools and MRI were invited to join the Student Agency Improvement Community, to launch a new national initiative being led by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that combines emerging research in psychology, improvement science, and network science to provide teachers and schools a new approach and set of tools to better solve the educational problems that they face. Also interested readers should see a new book released by Carnegie called Learning to Improve: How America's Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better.

Kenn Barron and Chris Hulleman receive a $798, 805 NSF grant for a research project entitled, "Validating a Rapid Measure of Student Motivation: Using the Expectancy-Value Theory of Motivation to Understand Student Achievement and Interest in STEM Classrooms."  Along with their collaborators Steve Getty and Joseph Taylor at BSCS in Colorado Springs, Co, they will be developing and validating a rapid measure of student motivation that can be used to understand and measure the impact of interventions on student achievement and interest in STEM classes at multiple academic levels (middle school through college).  The project will run from November 2012 through November 2015.

MRI and the Harrisonburg City Public Schools embark on a new partnership to offer professional development to teachers and staff. Learn more from the Oct. 2012 issue of The Insider: Highlighting Excellence in Harrisonburg City Public Schools (page 4).

MRI sponsors a larger group meeting two times each month, anyone interested in finding out more information on the topic or location of each meeting should simply contact Kenn Barron at barronke@jmu.edu or Chris Hulleman at csh3f@eservices.virginia.edu.