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Jamaal Matthews

Associate Professor, Educational Foundations

University Hall 2129
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Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology

B.A. Columbia University, NYC
M.A. Mercy College, NYC
Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Dr. Matthews is an associate professor of educational psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Born and raised in Harlem NYC, Dr. Matthews’ research interests are grounded in his experiences as a middle school mathematics teacher in The Bronx, NYC. His research focuses on motivation in mathematics in urban schools and how race, the socio-cultural context, and teachers shape students' beliefs about mathematics. His research also has powerful implications for counseling and out-of-school youth interventions, as evidenced through his youth mentorship program, T.H.R.E.A.D.S (Truth, Honor, Respect, Education and Development of Self) which promotes positive youth development for urban middle school boys in a fifteen week after-school format. Dr. Matthews is also a recipient of multiple national awards, including outstanding dissertation awards from the American Psychological Association and ProQuest, as well as funding from the National Science Foundation and Spencer Foundation.


•National Science Foundation CAREER Award in Research on Education and Learning (REAL), Division on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL). Research Funds $730,334, Awarded August, 2014

•National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. $55,000, Awarded May, 2014

•ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award 2010-2011: Awarded out of 766 applications across all academic disciplines (Monetary Award, $1,000). Awarded February, 2011

•American Psychological Association 2011 Paul R. Pintrich Outstanding Dissertation Award: (Monetary Award, $1,500 & Invited Address, 2012 APA Conference, Orlando, Fl). Awarded April, 2011

•Stanley E. and Ruth B. Dimond Best Dissertation Award 2010-2011: School of Education at the University of Michigan. (Monetary Award, $500). Awarded April, 2011

•National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) Minority Scholars Fellowship. June 2010 – July 2011 (Research Funds Granted, $12,000)


Matthews, J.S. (2018). When am I going to use this in the real world? Cognitive flexibility and urban adolescents’ negotiation of the value of mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology 110(5), 726-746. doi: 10.1037/edu0000242

Gray, D., Hope, E., & Matthews, J.S. (2018). Black and Belonging at School: A Case for
Interpersonal, Instructional, and Institutional Opportunity Structures Educational Psychologist, 53(2), 97-113. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2017.1421466

Sanchez, D., Bentley-Edwards, K., Matthews, J.S., & Granillo, T. (2016). Exploring divergent patterns in racial identity profiles between Caribbean Black American and African American adolescents: The links to perceived discrimination and psychological concerns. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 44(4), 285-304. doi: 10.1002/jmcd.12054

Rouland , K.K., Matthews, J.S., Meyer, R.L., Byrd, C., & Rowley, S.J (2014). Culture clash? Interactions between Afro-cultural and mainstream cultural styles in classrooms serving African-American students. Interdisciplinary Journal of Teaching and Learning, 4(3), 186-202

Matthews, J.S., Banerjee, M., & Lauermann, F. (2014). Academic identity formation and motivation among ethnic minority youth: The role of the “self” between internal and external perceptions of identity. Child Development, 85(6), 2355-2373. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12318

Matthews, J.S., Marulis, L., & Williford, A. (2014). Gender processes in school functioning and the mediating role of cognitive self-regulation. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 35(3), 128-137. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2014.02.003

Matthews J.S., Ponitz, C.C., & Morrison F.J. (2009). Early gender differences in self-regulation and academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 689-704. doi:10.1037/a0014240

Applied Work / Educational Impact

THREADS Boys Mentorship program