Education Faculty

Frances Spielhagen

Professor of Education
Co-founder, co-director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Development


Doctor of Philosophy, Fordham University
Master of Arts, Fordham University
Bachelor of Arts, Fordham University

Office:  Hudson Hall, Room 109-B
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 11 am-3 pm
Phone: 845-569-3532


ED 5220 Theories, Research, and Applications in Adolescent Psychology
ED 3408 Social Studies Methods
ED 3406 English Methods
ED 5566 Social Studies Methods
ED 5565 English Methods
ED 5710 Differentiation


Frances R. Spielhagen, PhD, is currently associate professor of education and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Development (CARD) at Mount Saint Mary College. Professor Spielhagen teaches courses in curriculum planning and assessment to pre-service teachers.

As co-director of CARD, she facilitates research and evaluation projects, mentors junior scholars, and organizes an annual conference on Adolescence in the 21st Century.

Before entering the academy in 2002, she served for 30 years as a public school teacher in grades 7-12 (Latin, Social Studies, English) and as coordinator of talent development (gifted) programs.

From 2003-2006, she was an American Educational Research Association/Institute for Educational Sciences Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. There, she explored advanced opportunities in mathematics among under-represented populations, under the mentorship of Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska. Professor Spielhagen has presented several peer-reviewed papers on that research, both at AERA and in other national and international venues, most recently at the biennial meeting of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in Prague, in August 2011.

Other longstanding research interests have included gender equity, single-sex education, and motivation and engagement among adolescents. Professor Spielhagen first explored issues of gender equity in 1990-1991, as a teacher engaged in action research through an Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. At that time, the focus was on female achievement. From 2003-2005, she conducted research on single-sex education in a small urban public middle school. In recent years (2006-current), she has served on the advisory board of the Gurian Institute, which has focused on achievement among boys. In 2007-2008, as consultant to the Gurian Institute, she evaluated the professional development of teachers in the single-sex schools in Atlanta, Georgia.

Her publications include peer reviewed articles in the Journal for Advanced Academics, the Middle Grades Research Journal, Research in Middle Level Education, and American Secondary Education, several book chapters, and two books, Debating Single-Sex Education: Separate and Equal (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) and The Algebra Solution to Mathematics Reform: Completing the Equation (Teachers College Press, 2011).

Dr. Spielhagen has also been involved in service to national organizations. From 2007-2009, she was president of the Sociology of Education Association. From 2009-2011, she was co-chair of the Education Committee of the National Association for Gifted Children. From 2010-current, she has served as a mentor on the AERA Undergraduate Research Program under the direction of George Wimberly. She has just been named the editor-in-chief of the Middle Grades Research Journal (2011-2014) and selected for membership on the Research and Evaluation Awards Committee of the National Association for Gifted Children.

Professor Spielhagen is currently conducting a longitudinal study of the civic behaviors and attitudes among her former high school students who were engaged in problem-based service learning projects she created.

Dr. Spielhagen was on sabbatical during the 2012-2013 academic year as a Visiting Research Professor in Residence at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Recent Publications

Spielhagen, F. & Schwartz, P., Eds. (2014, in press). Adolescence in the 21st Century: Constants and Challenges. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.

Spielhagen, F. (2013). Debating Single Sex Education: Separate and equal? 2nd Edition. Latham, MD: Rowman and Littlefeld

Spielhagen, F. (2013). Disrupting Inequity: How policy change can foster STEM equity. In Improving Urban Schools: Equity and access in K-16 STEM education for ALL students. R. Capraro & M. Capraro, Ed's. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.

Spielhagen, F., Brown, E., & Hughes, C. (2014, in press). Outliers: Political forces in gifted and special educate. In Politics and Policy in k-12 Education. New York: Routledge.

Dr. Spielhagen is Editor-in-Chief of the Middle Grades Research Journal.

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