Primary Investigator: Joel Meyers, Ph.D., regents professor and Kris Varjas, Psy.D., associate professor

About the Center

Dr. Joel Meyers, Executive Director

Dr. Joel Meyers, executive director

Dr. Joel Meyers, Executive Director

Dr. Meyers is the executive director of the Center. Dr. Meyers is past president of APA’s Division 16 and has served as the editor of the Journal of School Psychology. He is also a research faculty member in the Center. His primary areas of research interest are:

  • Primary prevention of learning and adjustment problems
  • School-based consultation and pre-referral intervention strategies
  • Prevention of school violence and school dropouts
  • School reform

Dr. Kris Varjas, Director

Dr. Kristen Varjas, director

Dr. Kris Varjas, Director

Dr. Varjas is a director of the Center. She is also a research faculty member in the Center. Her primary areas of research interest are:

  • School- and community-based research investigating bullying, cyberbullying, school safety and school climate
  • Mental health prevention and intervention
  • Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning youth

Current Graduate Research Assistants

Our GRAs work on various projects throughout the Center.

Fall/Spring 2015-2016 GRAs: Brandy Elrod, Christie Bailey, Erin Krajewski, Faith Zabek, Kate M. Leavitt, Kiarra Givhan, Kiriar Kimball, Megan Frank, Melanie Bennett, Jo Saint, Sara Kiperman and Shakerra Henry.

The Center for School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management is an interdisciplinary research center that promotes basic and applied research and facilitates educational and outreach efforts. The Center consists of faculty members representing a broad span of academic orientations including education, psychology, law, social work, criminal justice, nursing, and policy development.

The Center, which was initially formed in 2000, is focused on both research and outreach/service projects involving school safety, school violence prevention, school climate, classroom management, and related issues. Current areas of research include prevention of bullying, cyberbullying, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Additional research involves assessing protective and risk factors in students’ environments and assessing the quality of services aimed at improving school climate.

The Center seeks to provide a structure through which schools and community agencies can learn to anticipate behavioral/violence problems, train educators in classroom and school management and build a curriculum that prepares new educators who are knowledgeable and skilled to deal with such problems.

Research Faculty

Georgia State University

Other Universities

Our Mission and Goals

The mission of the Center is to coordinate and support scholarly efforts to gain a fuller understanding of the causal factors and preventative interventions affecting school safety, school climate and classroom management. This is accomplished by stimulating basic and applied research in these areas through multidisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners.  Educational and outreach efforts are provided based on our growing understanding of variables and interventions that affect school safety, school climate and classroom management.
The Center, which was initially formed in 2000, is focused on both research and outreach/service projects involving school safety, school violence prevention, school climate, classroom management and related issues. Current areas of research include prevention of bullying, cyberbullying and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Additional research involves assessing protective and risk factors in students' environments and assessing the quality of services aimed at improving school climate.  The Center seeks to provide a structure through which schools and community agencies can learn to anticipate behavioral/violence problems, train educators in classroom and school management and build a curriculum that prepares new educators who are knowledgeable and skilled to deal with such problems.

Short Term Goals

  • Write interdisciplinary research proposals to obtain funds to conduct research in the identified areas
  • Hold annual colloquia for faculty, students, and the community on topics related to school safety, school climate and classroom management.
  • Hold ongoing research meetings among faculty, students and community members with common research interests
  • Accumulate resources and write executive summaries to clarify research findings and research needs in key areas
  • Build relationships with interested schools and community groups

Long Term Goals

  • Conduct interdisciplinary research on school safety, school climate, and classroom management as funding is obtained.
  • Serve as a clearinghouse to disseminate results of research, scholarly activities and related resources to the professional, scholarly and lay public through local, regional and national communities.
  • Influence university teaching of topics related to school safety, school climate and classroom management.
  • Influence public policy on issues related to school safety, school climate and classroom management.
  • Provide continuing education on school safety, school climate and classroom management to disseminate the Center's research (establish mechanisms for those receiving continuing education to obtain continuing education credits).