Postdoctoral Program

About The Program
The CCEC will continue to sponsor two full-time postdoctoral fellows to participate in the new Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral training program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Appointments will began in Summer 2013, with additional appointments in Summer 2014. Each two-year position offers collaborative and independent research opportunities.

Fellows will receive rigorous, interdisciplinary postdoctoral training on designing and testing language and literacy practices for improving young children’s educational outcomes, closely aligned to two IES topic areas (Reading and Writing, Early Learning Programs and Policies), and learn the academic, research/technical, and practical skills necessary for scholarly success.  Specific research projects will be based upon the joint interests of the fellow and their faculty mentor(s).

For more information on the program and application instructions, please visit links below or email

IES Post-Doctoral Fellowship Position Description and Instructions

IES Post-Doctoral Fellowship Application


About Our Program Directors

Laura JusticeLaura Justice, PhD., is a clinical speech-language pathologist and applied researcher whose work focused on early childhood language and literacy development, educational interventions, and communication disorders. Dr. Justice is EHE Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, where she also is Director of The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, a college-level multidisciplinary research center.

Dr. Justice’s current interests include identifying effective ways to improve children’s early language skills (including those with diagnosed language disorders), increasing understanding of the role of language skills in reading comprehension (and comprehension problems), and developing classroom-based strategies to improve children’s language skills. Justice has developed several tools commonly used in the field of educational practice, including Read It Again-PreK! and Sit Together and Read – both of which are user-friendly approaches for elevating children’s early literacy skills – and the Narrative Assessment Protocol, a narrative assessment tool currently undergoing further development with colleagues at Michigan State University.

Justice has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters on early education and language/literacy development and intervention and has authored or edited ten books, including the textbooks Language Development from Theory to Practice and Communication Disorders: A Contemporary Perspective. Justice is the Editor of EBP Briefs and an Associate Editor of Early Childhood Research Quarterly. In the CLRC, Justice provides leadership to such projects as Sit Together and Read- Early Childhood Special Education (STAR-2), Speech Therapy Experiences in Public Schools (STEPS), Read It Again in Rural Preschool Classrooms, and Language and Reading Research Consortium.


piasta2Shayne Piasta, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist with expertise in early literacy skill development and experimental evaluations in educational settings. She received her training at Florida State University and the Florida Center for Reading Research, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning and an investigator and Director of Research at The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy.

Dr. Piasta’s research focuses on empirical validation of educational programs and practices, particularly those aimed at increasing children’s language and literacy outcomes. Dr. Piasta is also interested in identifying teacher, classroom, and other factors associated with improved outcomes for children. Her research projects include Assessing Preschool Professionals’ Learning Experiences (APPLE:Ohio), Language and Reading Research Consortium/Reading for Understanding (LARRC), Preschool Education in Rural Classrooms (PERC), Core Knowledge in Preschool project (CKP), Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Summer Reading Club, Development and Validation of the Narrative Assessment Protocol (NAP), and Development of an After-School Peer-Tutoring Literacy Program.


image004Ann A. O’Connell, Ed.D., is Professor of Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement (QREM) in the College of Education and Human Ecology, and serves as the Methodology Lead for The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. She is actively involved in many of the center’s research and evaluation projects including the Language and Reading Research Consortium/Reading for Understanding (LARRC/RFU) and Assessing Preschool Professionals’ Learning Experiences (APPLE:Ohio), both funded through IES. In addition, she is a co-PI for the Ohio Education Research Center, and is a member of the Ohio Student Growth Advisory Group and Central Ohio’s HIV Planning Alliance (COHPA).

Throughout her career, Dr. O’Connell has focused primarily on statistical methods for evaluating education and health interventions, modeling student growth, and evaluating the impact of professional development. She teaches and specializes in multilevel, multivariate, and categorical data analysis and is widely published in these areas.

Dr. O’Connell is an instructor in the nationally-known Data Analysis Training Institute of Connecticut (DATIC), has taught courses in regression and multivariate analysis at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and is the developer and faculty coordinator for OSU’s Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Quantitative Research Methods. In addition to mentoring students in QREM, Dr. O’Connell has worked with students from across the university and in particular with many of the center’s doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.