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Jason VanOra
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Jason VanOra is a Social/Personality Psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology. 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. One focus of Jason's research concerns the life stories of community college students and their attempts to transcend those structural barriers impeding their persistence in college. Additional research projects concern 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

Social Psychology

Abnormal Psychology
Study of Lives (at the CUNY Graduate Center)


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

 New York, NY

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

 New York, NY

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

 New York, NY

State University of New York-Purchase College
B.A. degree: 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. New York: AMS Press. 


VanOra, J. (2019). “I wanted to know more”: A narrative exploration of community college students’ goals and aspirations.  The Qualitative Report, 25 (5), 1168-1180.  Retrieved from

VanOra, J. (2016). "What does this have to do with psychology?: Challenges of Infusing a Civically Engaged Curriculum in Introduction to Psychology."  In E. Schnee, A. Better, and M. C. Cumming’s (Eds.) Civic Engagement Pedagogy in the Community College: Theory and Practice (pp. 95-113) . New York: 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. (2019).  It Makes Learning Easier: A Qualitative Study of How Developmental Readers and  Writers Experience a First-semester Learning Community Program.  Presented at the 2019 Faculty Forum, Kingsborough Community College.

VanOra, J. (2018).  Safety, Inclusion, and Discrimination at Kingsborough Community College.  Presented at the Spring 2018 Women and Gender Studies and Safe Zone Campus-Wide Workshop, Kingsborough Community College.​

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


Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies

Spring 2016-PresentCo-faciliatator of Kingsborough's Writing Across the Curriculum Program (WAC).

Fall 2015-Present: Co-facilitator of Kingsborough's LGBTQ Safe Zone Program.

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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