Primary Investigator: Joel Meyers, Ph.D., regents professor and Kristen 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 exacutive director of the Center. He also is director of Project DOVE (Drop Out and Violence Elimination) and director of the School Psychology Program at Georgia State University. 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. Kristen Varjas, Director

Dr. Kristen Varjas, director

Dr. Kristen 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

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.

Jeff Ashby, Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Elizabeth Beck, Ph.D.
School of Social Work, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Greg Brack, Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Catherine Cadenhead, Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Don E. Davis Jr., Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Brian Dew, Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Chris Henrich, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

Joshua Hook, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning,
University of North Texas, USA

David Houchins, Ph.D.
Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, College of Education

Olga Jarrett, Ph.D.
Department of Early Childhood Education, College of Education

Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D.
Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, College of Education

Tomas Jungert, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning,
Linköping University, Sweden 

Ann Kruger, Ph.D.
Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, College of Education

Gabriel Kuperminc, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

Barbara Meyers, Ed.D.
Department of Early Childhood Education, College of Education

Joel Meyers, Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

David Shriberg, Ph.D.
School of Education,
Loyola University Chicago, USA 

Monica Swahn, Ph.D.
Institute of Public Health, College of Health and Human Sciences

Walt Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Kinesiology and Health, College of Education

Robert Thornberg,  Ph.D.
Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning,
Linköping University, Sweden

Volkan Topalli, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Criminal Justice Faculty Associate

Kristen Varjas, Psy.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Everett Worthington Jr., Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
Virginia Commonwealth University, USA

Lauren Wynne, Ph.D.
Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

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).