In recognition of her work in the field of educational psychology, Distinguished University Professor Dr. Patricia A. Alexander was named a National Academy of Education member.
In February 2020, she was named a member of the National Academy of Education, along with 14 other “exceptional” scholars across the country. The honor is marked with high distinction, and members are elected annually for their outstanding contributions and scholarship in education.
“I am honored to have Dr. Alexander on our faculty for her excellent scholarship and grateful that our College continues to play a leadership role in advancing diversity and inclusion at the university,” said College of Education Dean Jennifer King Rice. Earlier this year, Dr. Alexander was named a Distinguished University Professor, the university’s highest honor for scholarship and influence on their field.
The director of the Disciplined Reading and Learning Research Laboratory, Dr. Alexander viewed her recognition from the Academy as especially significant because of the renewed sense of importance ascribed to the literacy and learning research projects she and her students have underway.
“This has truly been an unbelievable year for me. First, to be named a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and then to learn that I had been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education--two of the highest professional honors to which I could aspire,” Dr. Alexander said, while also noting the valuable support of Dean Rice, HDQM Chair Mix, and Associate Dean KerryAnn O’Meara in the nomination process.
“It is my belief that with these great honors comes great responsibility. For that reason, I will use these awards as a platform to communicate my research to a broader national and international audience, and to promote the significant and transformational scholarship ongoing in the College of Education at the University of Maryland,” she said.
Dr. Alexander’s research focuses on academic development and learning, with an emphasis on literacy, reading comprehension and knowledge. She studies how people learn across different subject matters and across a lifespan.
A theoretician, her conceptual work has transformed the field of educational psychology, in particular through her development of the Model of Domain Learning, which took a novel approach to stages of learning in academic subjects; her groundbreaking research on learning through text; her work on relational reasoning, which is central to intelligence and relates to how people discern patterns in an informational stream; and issues of today’s society, like how a shift to digital reading affects learning.
Dr. Alexander has also received a number of other awards and honors, including the Sylvia Scribner Award, Division C, American Educational Research Association; the Edward Lee Thorndike Award for Career Achievement in Educational Psychology, Division 15, American Psychological Association; and being elected a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.
Extremely prolific, she has been included in lists of the most productive educational psychologists from 1991 to 2014. One of the most accomplished and impactful scholars at the university, Dr. Alexander has been widely recognized for her excellence in the field of educational psychology.
“In my view, Dr. Alexander is, and has been for the better part of nearly three decades, the undisputed leader of our field and one of the preeminent thinkers and scholars in the field of education as a whole,” wrote Gale M. Sinatra, Stephen H. Crocker Chair of Education at the Rossier School of Education, in her Distinguished University Professor nomination letter.