Research Team

E. Jean Gubbins, Ph.D.

E. Jean Gubbins, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, and Director, is Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Through grant funding from the United States Department of Education for The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT, 1990-2013), Dr. Gubbins implemented quantitative and qualitative research studies in CLED communities on curricular strategies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) high schools, reading and mathematics in elementary schools, professional development, and gifted education pedagogy for all students. Currently, she is Associate Director and co-PI of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. She is involved in implementing initial, multi-year studies (2014-2017) focusing on exemplary practices in identification and programming for gifted students as well as identification practices of gifted English learners. Dr. Gubbins has conducted over 50 program evaluations for schools and organizations around the country. Research, evaluation, and teaching interests stem from prior experiences as a classroom teacher, teacher of gifted and talented students, Connecticut State Department of Education program evaluator, evaluation consultant, and professional developer. She teaches graduate courses in gifted education and talent development related to identification, programming, curriculum development, and program evaluation.

Aarti Bellara, Ph.D.

Aarti Bellara, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, is an Assistant Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut with expertise in statistical analysis for educational research and assessment. Her research focuses on exploring quasi-experimental methods in educational studies, and developing and validating assessments. Dr. Bellara teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in assessment and measurement. Her research interests include applying propensity score methods to evaluate the effect of educational programs, studying the impact of measurement error on various statistical analyses and educational assessment.

Tutita Casa, Ph.D.

Tutita Casa, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, is an Associate Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut with expertise in elementary mathematics education. She has extensive experience developing and researching the efficacy of advanced mathematics units for grades K-5 students, including those from underrepresented groups. She was the Co-Principal Investigator for Project M²: Mentoring Young Mathematicians, funded by the National Science Foundation, that applied gifted education principles to units designed for heterogeneous K-2 students. She also served as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor in Residence for the Javits-funded Project M³: Mentoring Mathematical Minds. Numerous units from both series have been awarded the Curriculum Studies Award from the National Association for Gifted Children.

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, Ph.D.

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, is an Assistant Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut with expertise in program and policy evaluation. She has extensive experience leading PreK-12 educational evaluations aimed both at improving the process of implementation of educational interventions, and also assessing the impact of these interventions. She has also played a key role on evaluation and research projects of major federal investments for exceptional (gifted and special education) students. For example, she served as co-principal investigator the “Exploring What Works: A Systematic Study of the Effectiveness and Power of Gifted Programs” (IES, U.S. DoE PR/Award # R305C140018) in which she helped design and successfully execute a case study aimed at identification of factors that would provide insights into reasons why historically underrepresented populations of students identified as gifted were successful in mathematics and/or reading achievement in selected schools. In 2014, she was awarded the American Evaluation Association Marcia Guttentag Award, the association’s only early career award for contributions to the scholarship and practice of evaluation. For this project, she will lead the evaluation of the project (Years 2-4); and prepare articles and reports to disseminate the project’s results (Year 5).