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Faculty & Staff Profile
Decary Hall 352, Office
Decary Hall 350A, Lab
207-602-2162 (w)
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Jennifer J. Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
jstiegler@une.edu

Expertise

Cognitive psychology; memory processes underlying reading comprehension; reading interventions; and learning.


Education

Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology, University of New Hampshire, 2010

M.S.T., College Teaching, University of New Hampshire, 2010

M.A., Cognitive Psychology, University of New Hampshire, 2007

B.A., Psychology, Hood College, 2005


Research and Scholarship

Research Interests

Through my research, I am focused on developing a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes involved in reading comprehension, memory, and learning. To date, the majority of my research has closely examined how to best improve learning in educational settings. Recently, however, I have begun to broaden my research line and explore cognition as it relates to adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD).

Current Research or Scholarship

At present, I have a number of research projects in progress. Of particular note is a new, cross-departmental study examining the relationship between cognitive variables and coherence in narrative discourse in older people, particularly those with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD). The prospects for this study are exciting, and have the potential to prolong the ability of people with ADRD to comprehend written materials thereby extending their quality of life.

The core of my research continues to be dedicated to understanding the various factors which differentiate skilled- from less-skilled readers, and the actions which can be undertaken to remediate reading deficits. My work assessing the dynamic relation between reading skill, text characteristics and reading strategies has been recognized by the Society for Text and Discourse in the form of the Jason Albrecht Outstanding Young Scientist Award (2010).

Concluded studies I have conducted investigated the extent to which readers (of all levels) engage in the process of updating information while in the act of reading news articles (after they have been presented with more accurate information), and the types of cues necessary to reactivate spatial information once it is no longer active in memory.

As my academic career advances, I have found that my research interests continue to grow. My sphere of learning has broadened to include pedagogical research, and ongoing projects are focused on how adjunct questions can aid comprehension of less-skilled readers in understanding expository readings. Further, I am investigating which factors predict success in online classes as well as identifying the presentation methods capable of facilitating a deeper processing of course material by online learners. Regardless of where research projects may take me, it is my hope that as an instructor and researcher that I can optimize my students’ learning experience in the classroom.

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Good, J. J., Keeley, J., Leder, S., Afful, S., & Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (in press). Supporting our junior faculty: Assessing the concerns and needs of early career faculty. Teaching of Psychology.

Cook, A. E., Lassonde, K. A., Splinter, A., Guéraud, S., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. & O’Brien, E. J. (2012). The role of relevance in the activation and instantiation of predictive inferences. Language and Cognitive Processes.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01690965.2012.748926

Blanc, N., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2011). Does the certainty of   information influence the updating process? Evidence from the reading of news articles. Discourse Processes, 48(6), 387-403.

 

 Edited Books and Book Chapters 

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (in press). Teaching Online Courses in Psychology. In D. Dunn (Ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Undergraduate Psychology Education. Oxford University Press, NY: NY.

Afful, S., Good, J. J., Keeley, J., Leder, S., & Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (Eds.). (2013). Introductory psychology teaching primer: A guide for new teachers of Psych 101. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Div. 2). Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/intro2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1-941804-27-8 

Afful, S. E., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Good, J. J., Leder, S., & Keeley, J. (2013). Realistic expectations for your first few years. In J. Keeley, S. E. Afful, J. J.  Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. Good, & S. Leder (Eds.). So you landed a job - what’s next? Advice for early career psychologists from early career psychologists. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Div. 2). Retrieved from    http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/ecp2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1-941804-26-1 

Keeley, J., Afful, S. E., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Good, J. J., & Leder, S. (2013). So you landed a job - what’s next? Advice for early career psychologists from early career psychologists. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Div. 2). Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/ecp2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1-941804-26-1 

Keeley, J., Afful, S. E., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Good, J. J., & Leder, S. (2013). Introduction: A field guide to this book. In J. Keeley, S. E. Afful, J. J. Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. Good, & S. Leder (Eds.). So you landed a job - what’s next? Advice for early career psychologists from early career psychologists. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2). Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/ecp2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1-941804-26-1 

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2013). Maximize student- and peer evaluations: Leveraging feedback to become a more effective teacher and improve student learning. In J. Keeley, S. E. Afful, J. J. Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. Good, & S. Leder (Eds.). So you landed a job – what’s next? Advice for early career psychologists from early career psychologists. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Div. 2). Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/ecp2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1- 941804-26-1 

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2013). Chapter 6: Memory. In S. E. Afful, J. J. Good, J. Keeley, S. Leder, & J. J. Stiegler-Balfour (Eds.), Introductory psychology teaching primer: A guide for new teachers of Psych 101. Society for the Teaching of     Psychology (APA Div. 2). Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/intro2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1-941804-27-8

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2013). Chapter 8: Consciousness. In S. E. Afful, J. J. Good, J. Keeley, S. Leder, & J. J. Stiegler-Balfour (Eds.), Introductory psychology teaching primer: A guide for new teachers of Psych 101. Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Div. 2). Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/intro2013/index.php. ISBN: 978-1-941804-27-8 

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & Overson, C. E. (2012). Useful resources for preparing the new professoriate. In W. Buskist, & Benassi, V. A (Eds). Effective college and university teaching: Strategies and tactics for the new professoriate. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 

Invited Presentation

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. & Smith, E. R. (2013, January). Why You Should be Making ThingsHarder for Your Students: Enhancing Classroom Learning Through the Introduction of Desirable Difficulties. Workshop presented at the 2013 University of New Hampshire Center for Teaching Excellence Faculty Development Workshop, Durham, NH.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2012, August). Desirable difficulties in the classroom. Workshop presented at the Conference on Applying the Science of Learning in Face-to-Face    and Online Classes. University of New England, Biddeford, ME.

 Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2012, April). Deep versus shallow processing techniques. Workshop resented at the Conference on the Science of Learning Goes to College: Applying the Science of Learning in College and University Curricula. University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.

 

Conference Presentations

* indicates undergraduate student author

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2012, October). What they can’t comprehend may hurt them: The effect of reading comprehension skill on academic success. Talk presented at the 2012 New England Psychological Association Conference, Worcester, MA.

*Rich, J. R., *Smith, H. L., & Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2012, October).  The effects of text distracters on comprehension in skilled- and less-skilled readers. Poster presented at the 2012 New England Psychological Association Conference, Worcester, MA.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2012, August). Applying the science of learning to different classroom scenarios. In. S. Leder (Chair), From getting your feet wet to diving in: How to conduct SoTL research as an early career psychologist. Symposium conducted at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & Benassi, B. A. (2012, August). The role of reading comprehension skill and academic success. Poster presented at the 2012 American Psychological Association Convention, Orlando, FL.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & Wells, E. T. (2011, November). Reading comprehension skill and the ability to inhibit irrelevant information. Poster presented at the 2011 Psychonomic Society Conference. Seattle, WA.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2011, April). Learning from text: The effects of reading comprehension skill and the ability to inhibit irrelevant information (2011). Talk presented at the 2011 Mainly Data (and some Theory) Conference. Lewiston, ME.

Gurung, R. A. R. (2010, August). Adrenalizing your teaching: Using and doing pedagogical research. In J. J. Stiegler, Conducting SoTL research. Symposium conducted at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Diego, CA.

Stiegler, J. J. (2010, August). Comprehending protagonists’ goals and intentions: The dynamic relation between reading skill and text characteristics. Talk presented at the 2010 Society for Text and Discourse Conference. Chicago, IL.

Stiegler. J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2009, November). Reading skill and the maintenance of global coherence. Poster presented at the 2009 Psychonomic Society Conference. Boston, MA.

Stiegler, J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2008, July). The accessibility of spatial information.  Poster presented at the 2008 Society for Text and Discourse Conference. Memphis, TN.

Blanc, N., Stiegler, J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2007, July). Updating news articles: The role of certainty of causal information. Poster presented at the 2007 Society for Text and Discourse Conference. Glasgow, Scotland.

Lassonde,  K. A., Splinter, A. F., Guéraud, S., Stiegler, J. J. , Cook, A. E., &  O’Brien,  E. J. (2007, July). Effects of Contextual Relevance on Activation of Predictive Inferences. Poster presented at the 2007 Society for Text and Discourse Conference. Glasgow, Scotland.

Guéraud, S., Stiegler, J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2006, July). Character profiles during reading. Presented at the 2006 Society for Text and Discourse Conference. Minneapolis, MN.

Recently Funded Grants

Stiegler-Balfour, J.J. (PI), & Robnett, R. College of Arts and Sciences Scholarly Research Mini-Grant, University of New England: Reading Comprehension and Alzheimer’s Disease: Understanding the effects of related and unrelated text distracters, 2012-2013.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (PI), & Benassi, V. A. Society for the Teaching of Psychology Partnership Grant (Division 2, American Psychological Association), Applying the science of learning in face-to-face and online psychology courses, 2012.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (PI). Master Teacher Program Award, (Division 2, American Psychological Association), Applying the science of learning in face-to-face and online psychology courses, 2012. 

Stiegler-Balfour, J.J. (PI). College of Arts and Sciences Scholarly Research Mini-Grant, University of New England: Learning from text: Effects of reading skill and text factors, 2011-2012.

Student Opportunities: Yes