Department Chair, Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology; Professor, Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology
By examining how our earliest encounters with families and educational systems shape development—and how inequality affects these encounters—Rebekah Levine Coley’s work speaks to researchers, students, and community members alike.
Her recent research in economic inequality builds on a career of investigating areas critical to advancing the greater good: family and community poverty; housing and community development; family structure and parenting; father involvement; early childhood education; and youth health risk behaviors.
Coley is a compelling presenter on these topics, chairs and organizes multiple symposia, and serves as principal investigator on several research grants. Her work has appeared in publications as diverse as Science and Teen Vogue.
A leader with several international professional associations, Coley was recently elected co-chair of the Policy and Communications Committee at the Society for Research in Child Development. She’s also co-chair of the Social Policy Committee at the Society for Research on Adolescence and a Consulting Editor with Child Development.
Students working under her leadership know they’ll encounter an environment that challenges them to get beyond “academic journals that only academics read,” as Coley said in an interview. They will have and create opportunities for research that translate into real-world practice that benefits communities.
Senior Fulbright Scholar Award, American-Australian Fulbright Commission
Senior Visiting Fellowship, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Research Affiliate, National Poverty Center, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Social Policy Award, Society for Research in Adolescence
Current Professional Activities
2014- Co-Chair, Social Policy Committee, Society for Research on Adolescence
2013- Steering Committee, Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium
2013- Policy and Communications Committee, Society for Research in Child Development
2011- Vice-Chair, Steering Committee, University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium
Current Research Grants
ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families of the Life Course (Australian Research Council). Baxter, Principal Investigator. Collaborative research centre seeking to advance basic, applied, and translational research to reduce intergenerational and log-term economic disadvantage and improve the life chances of poor children and families.
Peer Effects on Children and Teachers in Preschool Classrooms (Administration for Children and Families). Coley, Principal Investigator. Secondary analysis of longitudinal data on children in state-funded preschools to assess the role of peer effects on children's academic and social development and on classroom instructional quality.
Socioeconomic Disparities in School Readiness Skills and the Role of Early Education and Care. (Spencer Foundation). Coley, Principal Investigator; Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Co-Investigator. Delineates the role of early childhood education programs in ameliorating or exacerbating economic disparities in children's cognitive and behavioral school readiness skills.