Info for current Rossier

Gale M. Sinatra

Gale M. Sinatra

Professor of Education and Psychology

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

M.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Contact info

gsinatra@usc.eduPhone: 213-740-1622Fax: 213-746-8142WPH-600CCurriculum Vitae


Educational Psychology


Learning Theory, Knowledge Construction, Conceptual Change Learning, Literacy Acquisition, Assessment, and Comprehension.

Gale M. Sinatra

Dr. Gale Sinatra is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Rossier. Her areas of expertise include climate science education, evolution education, learning theory, knowledge construction, conceptual change learning, literacy acquisition, assessment, and the public understanding of science.

Her recent research focuses on understanding the cognitive and motivational processes that lead to successful learning in science. Specifically, Sinatra focuses on the role of motivation and emotion in teaching and learning about controversial topics, such as biological evolution and climate change. Sinatra developed a model of conceptual change learning, which describes how motivational factors contribute to the likelihood that individuals will change their thinking about a scientific topic. She recently served as Co-PI on National Science Foundation grant, which resulted in a co-edited volume published by Oxford University Press entitled, Evolution Challenges: Integrating research and practice in teaching and learning about evolution.

She comes from her previous appointment as Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she served on the faculty since 2000. Sinatra received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Sinatra is the past Editor of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 15 journal, Educational Psychologist. She recently served as Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division C, Learning and Instruction, and a Fellow of both APA and AERA.


Professional Experience:

2012 Professor, Joint Appointed in Psychology, USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

2012  Professor, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.

2003-2006  Interim Graduate Dean, Graduate College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Professional Organizations

  • American Educational Research Association, Division C, Fellow
  • American Psychological Association, Division 15, Fellow
  • Conceptual Change Special Interest Groupof EARLI
  • European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)
  • International Society for the Learning Sciences (ICLS)

Honors and Awards:

  • 2009 Elected Vice President of Division C, Learning and Instruction, of the American Educational
  • Research Association.
  • 2009 Named Fellow of Division C, Learning and Instruction, of the American Educational Research
  • Association.
  • 2009 Ranked 16th in Educational Psychology Publishing Productivity Study by Jones et al. (2009)
  • 2008 Named Member, International Advisory Board of the Centre for Learning Research, University of
  • Turku, Finland.
  • 2007 Named a Fellow of Division 15, Educational Psychology, of the American Psychological
  • Association.


  • EDUC 642 Controversies in Learning and Instruction
  • EDUC 712 Issues in Human Motivation


  • 2012 Mattel Foundation.  Using Hot Wheels to Teach Mathematics and Science Concepts . Awarded  $250,000.
  • 2011 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC),
  • Epistemic beliefs and emotions: Examining their roles in self-regulated learning and epistemic change. Awarded $167,236 (CAD).
  • 2010 National Science Foundation, REESE Program, Co - PI.  Understanding Emergence.  Awarded $130,000.
  • 2009 Nevada NSF EPSCoR, Co - PI, Losing the Lake: Promoting Sustainability Awareness through Educational Computer - Simulations of Lake Mead Water Levels and Water Supply to the Las Vegas Valley, Awarded $199,300.
  • 2007 National Science Foundation, REESE Program, Co-PI. Facing the Challenges of Learning and Teaching about Evolution: A Synthesis. Awarded $201,320.

Selected Publications

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