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Jason VanOra
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Jason VanOra


Dr. Jason VanOra is a Social/Personality psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Kingsborough Community College.  He also teaches a doctoral level course in the “Study of Lives” at the CUNY Graduate Center.  His research addresses the ways in which narratives can be used to reveal both individual and collective struggles, resiliency, identity, and “wisdoms” among persons living within conditions of both marginalization and hope.  Recent and forthcoming publications concern the narrative identities and motivations for persistence among community college students assigned to “remedial” or “developmental” classes and the potential for qualitative meta-analyses to help narrative researchers “power-up” their findings and impact social policy.  Dr. VanOra's book, Desperate to Achieve, examines the life histories and academic challenges of community college students assigned to "developmental" or "remedial" classes and is one of the sole texts to illuminate their commitments to scholarship, unique wisdoms about teaching and learning, and identities that are enhanced by relationships with others. Dr. VanOra also conducts research on the impact of various pedagogical innovations (multi-disciplinary learning communities, immediate feedback technology, and “civically engaged” psychology classes) on students’ mastery of course content and sense of belonging within community college. 

Introduction to Psychology (General, Writing Intensive, ESL, and Opening Doors Learning Community sections)

Social Psychology (Writing Intensive)

Abnormal Psychology (General, Writing Intensive, and Honors Enriched)
Study of Lives (at the CUNY Graduate Center)



City University of New York Graduate Center
Ph.D. degree: May 2008
Psychology (Social-Personality)

 New York, NY

City University of New York Graduate Center
M. Phil. degree: October 2006
Psychology (Social-Personality)

 New York, NY

Hunter College, City University of New York
M.A. degree: June 2005
General Psychology

 New York, NY

State University of New York-Purchase College
B.A. degree: January 2001
Summa cum Laude
Major: Psychology

  Purchase, NY

College Teaching
Kingsborough Community College (2008-present)
CUNY Graduate Center (Fall 2013-present)
New York City College of Technology (2004-2006)

Selected Publications and/or Other Resources


VanOra, J. (2014). Desperate to Achieve: Understanding the Lives, Struggles, and Identities of Community College Students Assigned to Developmental Classes. AMS Press. 
For more information, please click the following:


VanOra, J. (forthcoming, 2015). "What does this have to do with psychology?!” The Challenges of Infusing a Civically Engaged Curriculum into a First Semester Psychology Class.Chapter to be published in E. Schnee, A. Better, and M. Cumming’s (Eds.) Civic Engagement Pedagogy in the Community College: Theory and Practice. Springer Publishers.

Symister, P., VanOra, J., Griffin, K., & Troy, D. (2014). Clicking in the Community College Classroom: Assessing the Effectiveness of Clickers on Student Learning in a General Psychology Course. Community College Enterprise, 20, 10-24.

McCormick, T., Schnee, E., & VanOra, J. (2014). Researching up: Triangulating qualitative research to influence the public debate on literacy, standards, and access. Teachers College Record, 116 (4), 1-35,

Schnee, E. & VanOra, J. (2012). Student Incivility: An Engagement or Compliance Model? MountainRise Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7, 1-19. 

VanOra, J. (2012). The Experience of Community College for Developmental Students: Challenges and Motivations. Community College Enterprise, 18, 22-36. 

VanOra, J., & Ouellette, S. (2009). Beyond single identity and pathology: Revealing multiple
selves and authenticity in the narratives of two transgender women. International Review of
Qualitative Research, 2, 89-110. 

Wells, B.E., Bimbi, D.S., Tider, D., VanOra, J., & Parsons, J.T. (2006). Preventive health behaviors among lesbian and bisexually identified women. Women and Health, 44, 1-13.

Parsons, J.T., VanOra, J., Missildine, W., Purcell, D.W., & Gomez, C.A. (2004). Positive and negative consequences of serostatus disclosure among seropositive injection drug users. AIDS Education and Prevention, 16, 459-475.

Parsons, J.T., Missildine, W., VanOra, J., Purcell, D.W., & Gomez, C.A. (2004). HIV serostatus
disclosure to sexual partners among HIV-Positive injection drug users. AIDS Patient Care and STDs 18, 457-469.


VanOra, J. (2014).  How research on students' identities can influence the public debate on literacy, educational standards, and access to college.  Presented at the Fall 2014 Natural and Social Sciences Lecture Series, Purchase College, SUNY.

VanOra, J. (2014). Moral exclusion in higher education: What can community college students teach us? Presented on the panel, "From Exclusion to Inclusion: Empirical Work on Widening the Scope of Justice” at the International Society for Justice Research (ISJR) Biennial Conference, NYU.

Hill, G., VanOra, J., Rozenboym, A., & Leggett, J. (2013). Integrating Civic Engagement into Learning Communities. Panel presented at the Atlantic Center for Learning Communities, Fall 2013, West Hartford, CT.

VanOra, J. (2013). Doing Narrative Analysis. Invited guest lecture given in Dr. Lisa Rubin’s “Qualitative Methods in Psychology” doctoral class at the New School for Public Engagement, Fall 2013, New York, NY. 

Better, A., Walters, B., and VanOra, J. (2012). ESL and Learning Communities at Kingsborough
Community College. Presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society’s
mini-conference, “The Storied Lives of Community Colleges,” Spring 2012, New York, NY.

VanOra, J., Revenson, T.A., Kindred, J., & Brewster, K. (2011). Opening Panel on Transformative Teaching. Presented at the Transformative Teaching: Learning and Teaching Psychology at CUNY Conference, Fall 2011, New York City. 

VanOra, J. & Calienes, C. (2011). Developmental students in Learning Communities: Struggles, motivations, and persistence. Presented at the 2011 Fall Faculty Forum, Kingsborough Community College.

VanOra, J. (2011). Teaching psychology to developmental community college students. Presentation
given at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Teaching Psychology colloquium series.

VanOra, J. (2010). Strategies for success in college. Presentation given at SUNY Oswego’s Freshman
Orientation program.

VanOra, J., Schnee, E., & Colon, M. (2010). Best practices in the opening doors learning communities. 
Presentation given at Kingsborough’s Summer Conference on Learning Communities, June 2010, New York City. 

Schnee, E., McCormick, T., & VanOra, J. (2009). Writing our way in: Composition research and
the public debate on literacy. Paper presented at the College Composition and Communications
Conference (CCCC), March 2009, San Francisco, CA.

Adler, W., Morrell, A., Diaz, N., Salvage, D., Singsen, D., Theven, S., & VanOra, J. (2009). WAC your dissertation: Using WAC strategies to improve dissertation research and writing. Paper presented at the 2009 CUNY Writing Across the Curriculum Conference, Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Hirsch, L. & VanOra, J. (2008). Multiple measures to assess WAC effectiveness: What have we learned? Paper presented at the 2008 International WAC conference, May 2008, Austin, TX.

Contreras, R., Jimenez, M., McBreen, P., Padron, R., VanOra, J., & Webman, R. (2007). Teaching, learning, and language: The creative roles of WAC. Paper & video presented at the 2007 CUNY Writing Across the Curriculum Conference, Baruch College, City University of New York.

VanOra, J. (2004). Trans-wisdom and story-telling: Struggles, advocacy, freedom, and intersectionality within and across the life-stories of three transgender persons. Poster presented at the Annual
Social/Personality Psychology Research Festival, Graduate Center, City University of New York.

VanOra, J., Tider, D., Parsons, J.T., Bimbi, D.S., Koken, J.A., Missildine, W., Punzalan,
J.C., Vicioso, K. (2003). Sexual, social, relational, and health care practices of lesbians
and women who have sex with women. Paper presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of
the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.



Events and/or Key Dates

Research Interests

Personal and social constructions of identity

Life histories, selves, and persistence based struggles of community college students

Narrative construction of (trans)gender selves

Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants

Spring 2010 & Spring 2012: Recipient of Faculty Innovation Award at Kingsborough Community College

Fall 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013: Kingsborough Community College Faculty Award Achievement Award

Fall 2006: Recipient of the CUNY Writing Fellowship

Fall 2003: Recipient of the “Most Outstanding Student Paper” Award at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS)

Spring 2001: Recipient of the Purchase College President’s Award in Natural Sciences

Spring 2000: Recipient of a Texaco Undergraduate Research Support Award


Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies

Spring 2014-Present: Member of the International Society of Justice Research (ISJR)

Spring 2013-Present: Member of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (co-chair, with Dr. Michelle Fine, of inaugural conference).

Fall 2012-Present: Faculty Participant in the Brooklyn Public Scholars Endeavor for Civic Engagement in the Classroom

Spring 2010-Spring 2012:Co-director of Opening Doors Learning Communities, Kingsborough Community College

Summer 2008-Present: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)

Summer 2008-Fall 2009: Early Career Scholars Committee Member at SPSSI

Fall 2010-present: American Education Research Association (AERA) .


Personal Interests

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