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Collaborative Research Labs

What is a Collaborative Research Lab?

The COE encourages faculty and students in the college to work collaboratively with each other as part of a research lab to further their ongoing research agendas. Faculty can create a research lab where they can work with students to conceptualize, develop, implement, present, and publish research in their chosen contexts. These labs are designed to 1) help propel the research agenda of participating faculty and 2) help engender a collaborative and structured space for students to explore their research interests, especially as it may pertain to their graduate (or undergraduate) research projects (e.g., master’s projects, field studies, and dissertations).

How do you establish a Collaborative Research Lab?

Easy! Just click on the link below to fill out a form asking about the details of the proposed lab. Your lab will then be featured prominently with others on the COE website, where students (both prospective and current) can explore and possibly join your lab, as well as provide information on the current work of all of the college's Collaborative Research Labs. Interested students should contact the respective faculty advisor(s) for more information.

Faculty interested in starting a Collaborative Research Lab please fill out the Google Form linked below.

Collaborative Research Lab Request for Faculty


Faculty Advisors: 

Dr. Phil Short shortp@apsu.edu
Dr. Donna Short shortd@apsu.edu

Student Members:

Matt Anderson; Cord Beck; Luke Schindler; Matt Vedder; Devin Keeler.

New and Incoming Lab Members:
Idris Ajibade; Brandi Stroecker; Callistus Obunadike; Chiesonu Edeani; Jake Coleman.

Past Students and Visiting Scholars:
Sarah Dugger, Shelli Childers; Tasha Berry; Ruth Coats.

LENSES (Lab for Explorations of the Nature of Science for Equitable Sustainability) is currently accepting master’s and doctoral students. Highly motivated undergraduate students may be considered for various roles in research projects as well and may find the experiences beneficial for pursuing higher degrees.


The scientific enterprise, after rigorous testing and peer-review, provides many answers and solutions but is always characterized by some level of uncertainty and emergent questions. Likewise, research into the efficacy of STEM instruction and/or socioscientific educational policies can produce actionable results but, in most cases, generates more questions for continued research. Historically, scientific institutions and initiatives have too frequently missed opportunities for innovative solutions and unique discoveries due to narrowed perspectives and questioning from restrictive, cultural homogeneity among the ranks of scientists. Additionally, the many benefits from centuries of scientific progress have not been realized by many cultural communities. Despite tremendous progress, we are only on the cusp of what may be possible if the field becomes more inclusive and if the outcomes are distributed in more socially just ways.


We have much to learn and assumptions to rethink. The intersection between “what is known” and “what is yet to be learned” marks the point where one transitions from merely a consumer of information to an active contributor for collective understandings in society. Arriving at this juncture of self-awareness is where you know you will be ready to join LENSES.


The Educational Specialties Department in the Eriksson College of Education at APSU is a cooperative community of educators and researchers who are equipped and willing to serve on committees to guide students through the research and writing process in exploration of these issues. For more information email shortp@apsu.edu.

LENSES is focused on understanding factors contributing to or detracting from educational efforts to increase scientific literacy, improved awareness and action on environmental and other socioscientific issues, and applications from integrated STEM content. Achieving a more diverse and equitable research community, inherently necessary for novel insights and approaches, is a fundamental objective of LENSES.

Some areas of research interests in LENSES are listed below. This list is not exhaustive, and we are waiting for you to bring new questions, perspectives, insights, and energies.

  • Performance measures of cost-effective, inquiry-based STEM education strategies;
  • Integration of science with other disciplines for place-based relevance to students’ personal and societal issues;
  • Tangible measures of positive personal and community impacts linked to Environmental Education programming (i.e., Environmental careers, personal sphere behaviors, public sphere actions, quantitative analysis of environmental protection or improvements);
  • The interplay of science and society as an influence on equity and social justice issues in education;
  • Relative values afforded basic versus applied sciences in PK-20 education;
  • Policies and strategies for hands-on science in an online world; and

Evaluations of effectiveness for STEM education interventions

  1. Integrating STEM for Secondary Education in Suriname. Collaboration of APSU Jack Hunt STEM Center with Stichting Bevordering Kwaliteits Onderwijs in Suriname (Dr. Dirk Wongsopawiro - PI for Administration in Suriname; Dr. Philip Short - PI for Evaluation Research and Curriculum Development Coordinator)
  2. Evaluations for Educational Effectiveness of Participation in the NSF-IRES funded project: Involving US undergraduates in interdisciplinary research at specialized EU nanotechnology and glass science sites on development of novel amorphous materials (PI of grant: Dr. Andriy Kovalskiy - Physics; Dr. Philip Short - PI for Evaluation)
  3. Operation Cultivate Learning - This study is a collaboration with Moore Magnet School to create STEM lesson plans for promoting outdoor learning. Evaluations will be conducted to compare the science instruction skills of K-5 teachers before and after project participation. (Dr. Donna Short, PI)
  4. The relationship between STEM Integration and 21st Century Skills in Tennessee State STEM Designated Schools (L. Shelli Childers - doctoral dissertation)


McConnell, J. R., Dugger, S. B., & Short, P. C. (in press). The Age of Inference. In P. C. Short, H. Henson, & J. R. McConnell (Eds.), Age of Inference: Cultivating a scientific mindset (pp. 6-15). Information Age Publishing.


Short, P., McConnell, J., & Berry, T. (2021). STEMulating Curiosity in the Age of Inference. Tennessee Science Teacher Association Annual Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Short, P., & Berry, T. (2021). Educational and Societal Impacts of Science Literacy as We Approach the Age of Inference. National Social Science Association Virtual Summer Seminar.

Short, P., McConnell, J., & Dugger, S. (2020). The Age of Inference: Making Sense of Data Using 3-D STEM Inquiry-Based Learning. Presented (Virtually) at the Tennessee Science Teachers Association Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Rogers, M., Short, D., Short, P., & Blumbergs, C. (2019).  Saving Grasslands with Citizen Science and Civic Ecology.  Presented at the North American Association for Environmental Education International Conference, Lexington, KY.

McConnell, J., III, Short, P., & Williams, M. (2019). Evaluating Student Inquiry-Based Learning Using Lab Practicals. Presented at the Association for Teacher Education Conference. Atlanta, GA.

Rogers, M., & Short, P. (2018). iNaturalist: The app for biodiversity. Presented at the Tennessee Science Teachers Association Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Short, P., & Meegan, S. (2017). Time, why do you punish me? Best practices for science in the age of edTPA, team evaluations, and prescribed curricula. Presented at the Tennessee Science Teachers Association Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Short, P., Short, D., & Meegan, S. (2016). Working among the shadows to enlighten the world.  Presented at the Tennessee Science Teachers Association Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.


NSF IRES Track I - RUI: Involving US undergraduates in interdisciplinary research at specialized EU nanotechnology and glass science sites on development
Funded: $299,979 (PI for Grant: Dr. Andriy Kovalskiy)

Contract for project evaluation and reporting through Jack Hunt STEM Center
Funded: $ 20,322 (PI for Evaluation: Dr. Philip Short)


TN DOE Tennessee Innovation in Preparation Grant: “Recruitment and retention of quality science educators through collaborative incentives with the APSU College of STEM”
Funded: $ 49,960 (PI for Evaluation: Dr. Philip Short)

Austin Peay ORSP Grant (Co-PI): “Weeds to Reeds: Ecology, Conservation, and the Modern Musician”
Funded: $ 4,433 (PI for Evaluation: Dr. Philip Short)

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zack Barnes barnesz@apsu.edu

The Reading & Executive Function Lab is a place to create research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students who are motivated to take an active role in conducting research. The lab explores various topics related to executive function and reading. The main topics include two main areas (1) how executive function (working memory & cognitive flexibility) mediates the relation between socioeconomic status and reading development and (2) literacy strategies that science teachers use in their instruction/the relation between reading ability and science achievement. Lab members will develop associated skills and abilities related to conducting quantitative research (e.g., systematic literature searches, coding articles, research design, secondary data analyses, collecting data, manuscript preparation, and presentations). For students who are interested in graduate school in the social sciences, gaining research experience as an undergraduate is critical. This lab ensures that students have research opportunities, with both lab work and their own research projects. This lab is open to taking on students who hope to apply for undergraduate research grants and those who want to complete an honors thesis. The lab also is open to master’s and doctoral students.

  • To understand how executive function meditates the relation between socioeconomic status and reading development
  • To investigate how science teachers use literacy strategies in their instruction and how literacy ability is related to science achievement
  • To translate research to practice through the publishing of practitioner-focused articles
  • To seek external funding

I am currently working on multiple projects, including planning to apply for a grant to explore executive function and early reading skills. Here are some projects that I have under review right now:

  • Barnes, Z. T. & Edwards, A. A., Strachota, S., Feng, Y., & Logan, J. (under review). Understanding the relation between socioeconomic status and elementary science achievement: A quantile regression approach
  • Barnes, Z. T. & Cartwright, K. B. (under review). Executive Function and Emergent Literacy Skills: What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know
  • Barnes, Z. T., Fields, R. S, & Schrodt, K. (under review). Science, literacy, and students with disabilities: What middle school teachers need to support students with disabilities in their classrooms
  • Barnes, Z. T. Cartwright, K. B. (under review). How special educators can support content area teachers to build vocabulary and background knowledge
  • Barnes, Z. T., Fields, R. S., & Cartwright, K. B. (2023). A special educator’s guide to the science of reading. Preventing School Failure. https://doi.org/10.1080/1045988X.2023.2243847
  • Barnes, Z. T., Fields, R. S., Strachota, S., & Mangione, K. A. (2023). Effective disciplinary literacy strategies for students with disabilities in middle and high school science. Preventing School Failure. https://doi.org/10.1080/1045988X.2023.2186340
  • Barnes, Z. T., Boedeker, P., Cartwright, K. B., & Zhang, B. (2022). SES and reading achievement: How working memory and cognitive flexibility mediate the relation in low-achieving and typically-developing K to 1st grade students. Journal of Research in Reading, 45(2), 204-222. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12398
  • Barnes, Z. T. (2022). Examining required special education coursework for middle school science teachers: A content analysis of course descriptions. SRATE Journal, 30(2), 1-9.
  • Barnes, Z. T. & Peltier, T. K. (2022). Translating the Science of Reading screening into practice: Policies and their implications. Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 48(1) 42-48.
  • Attwood, A., Barnes, Z. T., Jennings-McGarity, P., & McConnell, J. (2021). Preservice teacher perceptions of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs): An exploratory study for an education preparation program. Preventing School Failure, 66(2), 160-166. https://doi.org/10.1080/1045988X.2021.2002248
  • Schrodt, K. E., Barnes, Z., DeVries, M., & Grow, J. (2019). Mindfulness: Discovering Children’s Literature, Reading Responses, and Self-Regulation Techniques in a First Grade Classroom. Networks: An Online Journal for Teacher Research

Faculty Advisors:

Dr. John McConnell and Dr. Hanrui He

Student Members:

Kunle Oloyede, Jodi Davidson, Erica Boone, Ashley Kautz

Dr. Allison Michael

Visiting Scholars:

Dr. Andrew Luna, Dr. Amanda Wornhoff

The DATA (Data as the Answer) Research Lab is an academic team of students, staff, and faculty who are motivated to take an active role in conducting institutional research using large, secondary data set analysis. We foster discussions and inquiry that may assist in one’s professional development, thesis/dissertation process, teaching portfolio, recommendation letters, job applications/interviews, research/teaching presentations, and mentorship. We come together to share ideas, give constructive critique, and gain support for each other’s research agendas.

Although housed in the College of Education, any student at APSU who meets the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Must be in/have successfully completed a research methods course (B or above)
  • Must be in/have successfully completed a statistics course (B or above)

The DATA Research Lab is limited to five student members per academic year.

To apply to the Data Research Lab, please submit a personal essay to Hanrui He (heh@apsu.edu) addressing the following questions:

  • What are your current research interests or current research projects?
  • How will you benefit by participating on the DATA team?
  • What will you contribute to the DATA Research Lab? How will others benefit from your participation?

For more information, contact Hanrui He or John McConnell.

  • To expose students to research language and concepts that promote the oral and written reporting of scientific findings.
  • To help students understand theoretical and methodological frameworks as a means of critically examining existing research.
  • To expose students to a variety of methodological approaches; and bring about an awareness of alignment of research questions and method/design.
  • To strengthen students' analytical skills, and guide students to make data informed decisions.
  • To help students realize their potential and contributions in the research process; including the acquisition of knowledge and skills, as well as preparation for future responsibilities.
  • To actively work with students in collective and individual research projects.
  • In general, to provide active engagement in research opportunities for conference presentation, external funding, and publication.

A Machine Learning Approach to Analyzing Open-Ended Survey Data 

Fluctuations in Staff-to-Faculty Ratios: An Examination Across Two Decades in Higher Education

He, H., McConnell, J. R., & Wornhoff, A. (2021). Promoting student retention: Implications from NSSE and FSSE data.

He, H. (2022). Student retention in teacher preparation programs [Doctoral dissertation]. Austin Peay State University.

Michael, A. (2022). Save now, pay later? The effects of adjunct instructors on performance-based funding [Doctoral dissertation]. Austin Peay State University.

He, H., McConnell, J. R., & Wornhoff, A. (2021, September). Promoting student retention: Implications from NSSE and FSSE data. Research and Scholarly Activities Support Grant, Austin Peay State University’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Clarksville, TN. $4,200.00

Faculty members: Andrea Lee, Tyler Nolting, Erica Boone

Student Members: Elizabeth Harrison, Michael Hidalgo, Jessica Rozell, Lafateia Nauheimer, Tai'wo Omoare, Ashley Kautz, Brian Dunn, Cavelle Gonga
Alumni: Zachary Inman, Kisha Napper, Terri Easter

Visiting Scholars: Norah Almusharraf (Prince Sultan University, KSA), Daniel Bailey (Konkuk University, South Korea), Farinaz Dastpish (Istek Schools, Turkey), Ndidi Okeke (Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria), Marianthi Kontelli (University of Toronto)

The educational research and applied linguistics lab will work in partnership with Prince Sultan University’s Educational Research Lab and Applied Linguistics Lab as well as researchers at Konkuk University in South Korea. This lab will focus on research pertaining to general educational research topics and applied linguistics. The lab intends to publish qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method studies. The lab is open to faculty and students at Austin Peay State University, Konkuk University in South Korea and Prince Sultan University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The lab aims to promote research development and joint research programs focusing on education and educational policies. We also want to encourage researchers and members including faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, to participate, contribute, and conduct research projects that serve the educational sector. Although most participants will likely be from education and language/linguistics departments, students and faculty outside of these fields are welcome to join if they have an interest in these research areas. Faculty will work with students on research projects, develop arguments/hypotheses, data analysis and collection, and publish research papers. To build a continuous learning process, all parties are prepared to participate in virtual exchange programs that aim to promote educational contributions and collaboration in research projects.

  • Exchange of expertise/knowledge in shared fields of interests
  • Conferences and symposium participation
  • Joint research programs and activities
  • Conducting training courses/workshops
  • Obtaining external funding
  • Publishing high quality papers in Scopus and SSCI-indexed journals

Almusharraf, N., Bailey, D., & Lee, A. (2021). The moderating effect of regional context on the relationship between English learner identity and learning outcome.

Dastpish, F., Lee, A. R., Bailey, D., & Almusharraf, N. (2021). Examining Turkish EFL teachers’ experiences with online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other projects can be found on the website for the PSU Applied Linguistics/Educational Research Labs: LABS (psu.edu.sa).

Bailey, D., & Almusharraf, N. (2021). Investigating the effect of chatbot-to-user questions and directives on student participation. 1st International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Data.

Bailey, D., & Almusharraf, N. (2021). Online engagement during COVID-19: Role of agency on collaborative learning orientation and learning expectations. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 37(5), 1-11.

Bailey, D. R., & Lee, A. R. (2020). Learning from experience in the midst of covid-19: Benefits, challenges, and strategies in online teaching. Computer-Assisted Language Learning Electronic Journal, 21(2), 178-198.

Lee, A. R., & Bailey, D. R. (2020). Examining South Korean university students’ interactions with international students. Asian Journal of University Education, 16(3), 43-58.

Lee, A. R., & Bailey, D. R. (2020). An exploratory study of Grammarly in the language learning context: An analysis of test-based, textbook-based and Facebook corpora. TESOL International Journal, 15(2), 4-27.

Lee, A. R., & Bailey, D. R. (2016). Korean EFL Students’ Perceptions of Instructor Video and Written Feedback in a Blended Learning Course. Society for Teaching English through Media, 17(4), 133-158.