Research Grants

Lehigh University College of Education active and completed research grants


$11 million research funding (2016-2021)

Research Funding

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Faculty and students in the College of Education are very active and successful in obtaining funding for research and scholarship through a variety of competitive mechanisms including Federal and State grants, foundation awards, and internal (Lehigh) grants.  Current grants reflect a breadth of ground-breaking research efforts among both early-career and tenured faculty and focus on research such as improving outcomes for teachers of students with autism spectrum disorder, examining reading instruction for elementary students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, developing support strategies for youth with emotion and behavior disorders to prepare for post-high school education and careers, exploring the effects of intervention strategies for young children at risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and improving STEM literacy through the use of geospatial technologies.  

From principal training programs to home visiting literacy interventions, our research engages families, school districts, healthcare systems, community organizations, and students across the Lehigh Valley and more. Our collaborative approach to research has fostered relationships that extend regionally, nationally, and internationally.  

Our wide-ranging work to promote educational success and positive mental health across the life span is also reflected in recently competed funded projects that involved, for example, creating an intervention to improve language outcomes of preschool children with language impairment, developing an adaptive intervention framework for students with problem behavior, and training school psychologists as Response to Intervention facilitators.  

We continue to seek support for our research and scholarship through Federal (e.g., Institute of Education Sciences, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation), State (e.g., Pennsylvania Department of Education), and private foundation (e.g., Spencer Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation) sources.  In addition, we continue to successfully procure internal support through Lehigh’s faculty grant mechanisms (e.g., Faculty Research Grant, Faculty Innovation Grant, Collaborative Research Grant, and Accelerator Research Grant).  This funding has been critically important to our central mission of using research and scholarship to improve the lives of individuals across the lifespan by enhancing educational, psychological, and social functioning.

Active Research Grants


Prevention of Attachment Insecurity, Physiological Dysregulation, and Child Behavior problems

PI: Susan Woodhouse
Funding Agency: NICHD
Funding Type: R01
Expected Completion Date: June 2027

When English Learners with Disabilities Become Long-Term English Learners

PI: Sara Kangas
Funding Agency: Spencer Foundation
Funding Type: Small Research Grant
Expected Completion Date: Summer 2023

Development of a Responsive Computerized-Adaptive Assessment System for Pre-K Mathematics

PI: Robin Hojnoski
Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences
Funding Type: Education Research
Expected Completion Date: July 2024

Collaborative Research: Socio-Environmental Science Investigations: Exploring Alternative New Directions: SESI-ExpAND

PI: Tom Hammond
Co-PI: Al Bodzin
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Funding Type: I-TEST
Expected Completion Date: June 2024

Supported College and Career Readiness (SCCR) for Secondary Students with Emotional and Behavioral Problems

PI: Lee Kern
Co-PI: Chris Liang
Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences
Funding Type: Special Education Research
Expected Completion Date: August 2024

Examining Reading Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disability

PI: Esther Lindstrom
Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences
Funding Type: Research Training Programs in Special Education
Expected Completion Date: July 2025

Project STAY: Supporting Teachers of Autism in Years 1-3

PI:  Kristi Morin
Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences
Funding Type: Research Training Programs in Special Education
Expected Completion Date: June 2025

Early Intervention for Young Children At-Risk for ADHD: Evaluating Efficacy and Delivery Format for Behavioral Parent Education

PI: George DuPaul
Co-PI: Lee Kern
Funding Agency: Institute of Educaiton Sciences
Funding Type: Special Education Research
Expected Completion Date: August 2025

Accelerating Preschool Children's Language Development with Parents Plus

PI: Brook Sawyer
Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences
Funding Type: Research to Accelerate Pandemic Recovery in Special Education
Expected Completion Date: August 2025

Catch and Release: Predicting Maintenance of Tier 2 Reading Intervention Effects

PI: Ethan Van Norman
Funding Agency: Subaward with University of Wisconsin
Funding Type: Education Research
Expected Completion Date: June 2025

Completed Research Grants

Parents Plus: Language Coach

Funded by: IES R324A160070
PI: Brook Sawyer, Lehigh University
Co-PI: Carol Scheffner Hammer, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-I: Annemarie Hindman, Temple University

Parent Plus, funded through an IES Development and Innovation grant and iteratively developed with feedback from parents and interventionists, is a parent-implemented intervention to support the language development of preschool children with developmental language disorders. Children with developmental language disorders are the most commonly served population in early childhood special education.  According to the Condition of Education 2020, nearly 1 million preschoolers in the U.S. have a disability, with 89% having a developmental language disorder (Hussar et al., 2020). Children with developmental language disorders are at high risk for poor outcomes, including sub-optimal reading, math and social-emotional skills at age 5 (Hammer et al., 2017) and being at significant risk for future reading problems (e.g., Alt et al., 2019; Catts et al., 2019; Justice et al., 2015). Long-term, children with developmental language disorders experience literacy difficulties, mental health problems, and underemployment as adults (e.g., Dubois et al., 2020; Botting et al., 2016; Conti-Ramsden et al., 2018). As such, it is critical to intervene early to promote children’s language skills. 

Preschool children typically receive their early intervention services from speech language pathologists in center-based contexts, with only peripheral involvement by parents.  As such, parents are an untapped resource to further support their children’s language development. When trained, parents are successful in promoting their children’s language development over and above the effects of clinician-implemented interventions (Yoder & Warren, 1998, 2001). However, it is important to provide training in ways that are meaningful and accessible to parents. Parents Plus is designed as an online intervention to allow for easy access by parents.

Parents Plus is a 13-week online intervention that trains parents how to promote their children’s vocabulary and morphosyntactic (or grammatical) development.  Parents Plus has three interwoven components: (a) training delivered through an app that educates parents to use focused stimulation, an evidence-based strategy (e.g., Girolametto et al.,1995, 1996); (b) parent implementation of focused stimulation during parent-selected activities that already occur in their daily routines; and (c) remote practice-based coaching provided by a Parents Plus coach via Zoom. The Parents Plus logo is a parent giving their child a key. The language support parents provide their children will give them a “key” to success.  And, the heart on the key shows that parents do this with love!

Results from our initial development and two early field tests of Parents Plus is published in Infants and Young Children.  Parents perceive that Parents Plus has strong social validity. Parents reported that Parents Plus had salient goals, usable content, feasible procedures, and parents noticed improvements in their children’s outcomes. 

We are currently analyzing the data from the pilot study (randomized controlled trial) which included 30 parent-child dyads. All children received their business as usual language services as designated on their Individual Education Plans, and approximately half of children also received additional parent-implemented intervention via Parents Plus. Preliminary results indicate that parents were able to successfully use focused stimulation (the language strategy taught in Parents Plus), and medium to large effects for Parents Plus were found for children’s vocabulary and morphosyntax.  These findings will be updated once the analyses are complete.

Implementation of the Residential Experience for Aspiring Leaders and was funded through the PA Department of Education's Innovative Teacher and Principal Residency Program: Implementation Grant.