Two more professors join Rossier, adding expertise in language learning and motivation

In total, five new faculty members are starting at the school this year

In September, USC Rossier welcomed three new faculty members: Yasemin-Copur Gencturk, Julie Posselt and David Quinn. Two more faculty members have now also been added to the school, as well as two postdoctoral scholars:

Ekaterina Moore Ekaterina Moore joins Rossier as an assistant professor specializing in second language learning.  Her interests are in social aspects of second language acquisition, identity construction in language classrooms, classroom language socialization, and heritage language education.

Before joining Rossier as an assistant professor, she was an adjunct assistant professor at the Rossier MAT-TESOL program, teaching classes in second language learning theories, social foundations of second language learning and teaching, foundations of applied linguistics for TESOL, and technology in language teaching and curriculum design. Moore earned her PhD in applied linguistics from UCLA specializing in classroom discourse analysis. Her research can be found in Linguistics and Education, Text and Talk and Pragmatics and Society.


Erika A. Patall Erika A. Patall will join USC Rossier in January as an associate professor of education. She received her bachelor degree in psychology at McGill University in 2003 and her PhD in social psychology from Duke University in 2009. Broadly, Patall is interested in the interface between social psychological theory and education. Her research interests include the determinants and development of motivation, the role of choice and autonomy in motivation and achievement, how the activities of children outside of school (including homework and parental involvement) influence their motivation and academic achievement, and the development and use of meta-analytic methods in social science research.

Patall has published numerous articles in prestigious journals including Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Educational Psychology, Review of Educational Research, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Psychological Methods and Educational Psychology Review, among many others. She currently holds a grant from IES to conduct a comprehensive research synthesis examining the effects of classroom structure on students’ motivation, engagement and achievement.

She was a recipient of the American Educational Research Association Division C (Learning and Instruction) Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award in 2015 and a co-recipient of the American Educational Research Association Review of Research Award in 2007.

Patall is currently an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin.


Stephen AguiIar Stephen AguiIar is a Provost Postdoctoral Scholar for Faculty Diversity in Informatics and Digital Knowledge at Rossier. His areas of expertise include motivation and self-regulated learning as they relate to the design and implementation of educational technologies. He specializes in learning analytics, data visualizations and gameful approaches to teaching and learning.

His research focuses on the design, efficacy and motivational implications of learning analytics-based applications, and how they can be used in ways that promote social justice and educational achievement among ethnic and racial minority students. Specifically, Aguilar studies how data visualizations of academic achievement influence students’ academic motivation and self-regulated learning strategies. He has recently been awarded funding from AERA to study how Hispanic students’ sense of control contributes to their post-secondary achievement and aspirations.

Aguilar received a bachelor degree in philosophy and psychology from Georgetown University, an MA in the humanities (philosophy) from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan. Previously, he taught sixth and seventh grade in East Palo Alto, California and served as a the Director of Institute Technology for Teach For America-Los Angeles’s summer institute.


Michelle Hall Michelle Hall PhD ’16 is a postdoctoral scholar at USC Rossier, earning her doctorate in the politics of education with a specific focus on equity, community engagement, expanding accountability reforms and governance. Her research grows out of her past work in workforce investment policy and as a public school and university educator, and examines the ways in which power and politics affect and are affected by education reform policies.

Hall’s most recent research focuses on the politics of finance and accountability reforms in California. Michelle has been an active researcher with Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) since 2012, contributing to the development and analysis of annual voter polls and policy briefs. Under the auspices of PACE, Michelle has been an ongoing member of a statewide research team documenting the impact and early implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in California.

Michelle is also a member of the statewide research team investigating the ways in which new accountability systems including measures of students’ social-emotional learning and school culture and climate, are being interpreted and implemented in the CORE Districts in California.


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For media inquiries, please contact Ross Brenneman at rossbren@rossier.usc.edu or (213) 740-2327.