Dr. Jamaal Sharif Matthews is an Associate Professor in Educational Studies and the Combined Program in Education and Psychology. Born and raised in Harlem NYC, Dr. Matthews’ research interests are grounded in his experiences as a middle school mathematics teacher in The Bronx. His research focuses on achievement motivation during adolescence and motivation in mathematics specifically. His work addresses how race, teacher pedagogy, and the sociopolitical context shape students’ beliefs about their abilities in and value of mathematics. He also applies a critical race perspective on the psychological processes that undergird adaptive and healthy school functioning for Black American and Latinx adolescents in urban schools.
His research has powerful implications for public scholarship, counseling, and out-of-school youth interventions, as evidenced through his youth mentorship program, T.H.R.E.A.D.S (Truth, Honor, Respect, Education and Development of Self; https://threadsmentorship.com). Dr. Matthews’ teaching integrates critical and cultural perspectives into traditional paradigms in educational psychology and he has taught a number of courses related to equity and inclusion in urban education, motivation in marginalized youth, and adolescent development.
Dr. Matthews is a recipient of multiple national awards, including outstanding dissertation awards from the American Psychological Association (APA) and ProQuest. Further, he was awarded the APA Early Career Educational Psychology Research Award, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship; and the Best Article Award from Educational Psychologist in 2018 for his article “Black and Belonging at School”. Dr. Matthews has secured extramural funding through a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering, and the Mindset Scholars Network in cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Prior to the School of Education, Dr. Matthews was an Associate Professor of Educational Foundations at Montclair State University in New Jersey.