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College of Education

College of Education faculty secure COVID-19 research funding

In late March, the university’s Vice President for Research put out a special call for proposals related to COVID-19. The College of Education answered the call enthusiastically, submitting eight out of 64 total proposals (roughly 12% of all proposals submitted) and securing funding for four of them.

The proposed projects covered a wide range of topics, from ways to educate people about best health practices during the pandemic to the effects of the additional mental strain that the children of essential workers and their daytime caretakers are under in these stressful times. The four funded projects were put forward by the Department of Educational Studies.


Christine DiStefano, Ph.D.

Christine DiStefano, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator: Fred Greer

Funding received: $13,945

Essential Services: Child Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Intended Impact:  Public schools in South Carolina are closed, however, many child-care providers across the state serving preschoolers are still operating, as some parents must work outside the home during the health crisis. Many children attending these centers during this time are from lower-income and/or marginalized populations.  This study examines the mental health risk that these children - and their teachers – face in attending preschool during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dodie Limberg-Ohrt, Ph.D.

Dodie Limberg-Ohrt, Ph.D.

(No Co-Principal Investigators, but Shelby Gonzales, a graduate student of Dodie’s, will be co-directing the project.)

Funding received: $19,098

Addressing K-12 Students’ Academic, Mental Health, and Career Development Needs during COVID-19

Intended Impact: We will use consensual qualitative research to explore how school counselors addressed the academic, mental health, and career needs of K-12 students during the outbreak of COVID-19. The results of our study will have immediate and future implications for school counseling comprehensive models and more importantly the students they serve.

Hengtao Tang, Ph.D.

Hengtao Tang, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigators: Lucas Vasconcelos, Ismahan Arslan-Ari,  Fatih Ari, and Michael Grant

Funding received: $22,608

Online teaching with the constraints of COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed methods approach for understanding UofSC faculty’s needs and experience.

Intended Impact: This project will be conducted by our faculty members in the Educational Technology program to understand UofSC faculty needs for and experience with online teaching within the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rapid campus-wide online deployment due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic engenders novel challenges and creates new social, technical, and pedagogical needs for instructors to effectively teach online, but instructors' voice has not been heard yet.

We will conduct mixed-methods research by collecting complementary sources of data from online instructors in our institution. By synthesizing multiple sources of evidence, this project is significant in establishing knowledge bases and offering practical implications for policymakers, faculty, and faculty support teams to maintain high-quality online education.

Gregory Trevors, Ph.D.

Gregory Trevors,  Ph.D.

No Co-Principal Investigators, but Trevors is working in partnership with a non-profit (Digital Public Square) and UofSC medical epidemiologist Eric Brenner, M.D.

Funding Received: $24,485

Development and deployment of a digital game to combat COVID-19 misconceptions

Intended Impact: This project leverages the unique strengths of psychological research on belief change and design principles of gamification to develop, evaluate, and widely distribute a new digital game to combat COVID-19 misconceptions.

The digital game will be designed to motivate and positively engage learners via game elements and mechanics, including individual feedback. Affective reactions, belief, and adoption of corrective health content will be measured. The digital game will be widely disseminated online. Affect, belief, and uptake reports and user interactions on the platform will be data mined for relevant learner analytic variables and user profiles.




Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.