My research interests focus on the development, organization and deployment of science knowledge and concepts, as well as their application to solve problems. In my research, I address questions such as: What is the mechanism by which a beginner develops expertise in science? Why is appropriate transfer of knowledge, even across the same domain and across remarkably similar contexts, so difficult to achieve? Recently I have begun collaborations on projects exploring the application of methodologies from cognitive science, reading research, psycholinguistics, and visual cognition to science and math reasoning.
Ph.D., Physics, University of Massachusetts, 1979
B.S., Physics, University of Massachusetts, 1974
Key Professional Appointments :
2011-present: Chair, Department of Educational Psychology, UIUC.
2010-2011: Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, UIUC.
2005-present: Professor of Physics and Educational Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
2003: Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, UMass, Amherst.
1992-2005: Professor of Physics, UMass, Amherst.
1987-1992: Associate Professor of Physics, UMass, Amherst.
1981-1987: Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics, UMass, Amherst.
Activities and Honors:
Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2010.
Education Mentor in the Life Sciences, National Academy of Science, 2008.
Recipient of the Chancellor's Medal for exemplary and extraordinary service to the University of Massachusetts, April 10, 2001.
Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, UMass Amherst, 2000-2001.
External Advisory Board, project NEXUS (National Experiment in Undergraduate Science Education). Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2011-2013.
Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation, National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, 2011-present.
Elected Member, Physics Education Research Leadership Organizing Council American Association of Physics Teachers, 2008-2011.
Editorial Board, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2007-present.
Mestre, J.P. & Ross, B.H. (Eds.) (2011). The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 55: Cognition in Education (313 pages). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Docktor, J.L. & Mestre, J.P. (2011). A synthesis of discipline-based education research in physics. White paper commissioned by the National Research Council (147 pages). www7.nationalacademies.org/bose/DBER_Docktor_October_Paper.pdf
Smith, A.D., Mestre, J.P., & Ross, B.H. (2010). Eye-gaze patterns as students study worked-out examples in mechanics. Physical Review Special Topics: Physics Education Research, 6(#2) 020118 (9 pages). (Available on-line at http://prst-per.aps.org/pdf/PRSTPER/v6/i2/e020118).
Feil, A. & Mestre, J.P. (2010). Change blindness as a means of studying expertise in physics. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(#4), 480-505.
Stelzer, T., Gladding, G., Mestre, J. & Brookes, D.T. (2009). Comparing the efficacy of multimedia modules with traditional textbooks for learning introductory physics content. American Journal of Physics, 77(#2), 184-190.
Dufresne, R., Mestre, J., Thaden-Koch, T., Gerace, W., & Leonard, W. (2005). Knowledge representation and coordination in the transfer process. In J. Mestre (Ed.), Transfer of learning from a modern multidisciplinary perspective (pp. 155-215). Greenwich, CT: Information Age.
Etkina, E., Mestre, J. & O’Donnell, A. (2005). The impact of the cognitive revolution on science learning and teaching. In J.M Royer (Ed.) The Cognitive Revolution in Educational Psychology (pp. 119-164). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing
Leonard, W. J., Dufresne, R. J., Gerace, W. J., & Mestre, J. P. (1999-2003). Minds on physics. [a high school physics curriculum/6 student books and 6 teacher manuals, 3,660 pages total]. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
Dufresne, R., Mestre, J., Hart, D. & Rath, K. (2002). The effect of web-based homework on test performance in large enrollment introductory physics courses. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 21(3), 229-251.
Mestre, J. P. (2002). Probing adults' conceptual understanding and transfer of learning via problem posing. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 23, 9-50.