top of page



Kate Zinsser, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Tim Curby.jpg

Tim Curby, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator


Rachel Gordon, Ph.D.

Co-Investigator & Psychometrician

Kate Zinsser, Ph.D.

Dr. Kate Zinsser is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Zinsser’s research focuses on the quality of early childhood environments, especially the ways by which adults promote of young children’s social and emotional competence and well-being.

Her work examines early childhood teacher-child interactions, classroom processes, instruction quality and emotion socialization practices that promote children’s social success, positive development, and achievement. Zinsser is especially interested in studying systems and policies that impact young children’s learning (e.g., recent preschool expulsion legislation, child care providers’ workplace experiences and well-being, and equity and inclusion in quality care).

She is a former post-doctoral fellow of the National Academy of Education and Associate Editor of Early Education & Development. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, The Institute for Education Sciences, and the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Zinsser has also worked with the UIC Institute for Government and Public Affairs, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and emotional Learning, and PBS Kids.


Tim Curby, Ph.D.

Dr. Tim Curby's career has been focused on the study of teacher-child interactions. His exploration of teacher-child interactions is grounded in his four years as a high school science teacher. Curby's training at the University of Virginia emphasized social development in young children and his interests followed.  


At George Mason, Dr. Curby worked with Susanne Denham on a study of emotions in the classroom. His work also tends to have a psychometric bent whereby he investigates the properties of an instrument and determines what the instrument’s measurements tell us about the nature of classrooms. As a developmentalist, he tends to study and statistically model these interactions over time.


Dr. Curby has substantial expertise in both longitudinal and nested models and teaches a doctoral-level course on Longitudinal Data Analysis. He has published extensively with nearly 50 research articles, several of which use latent growth curve models, transactional models, and multilevel models.


Rachel Gordon, Ph.D.

Dr. Rachel A. Gordon is the Associate Dean for Research and Administration at the Northern Illinois University College of Health and Human Sciences.

Dr. Gordon's has expertise in bridging substantive framing and psychometric rigor in the measurement of social, health, and educational constructs. With a focus on rigorous translational science, Dr. Gordon is committed to fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with practice, policy, and public audiences. Her work spans various areas, including adolescent educational and social opportunities, appearance-related identities, and the opportunities and challenges associated with early care and education.

Dr. Gordon's research also delves into the contextual environments and achievement consequences within early care and education settings. 

Gordon has received wide range of funding for her research and engagement activities, including research grants from the U.S. Department of Education (Institute of Education Sciences), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Research and Innovation Development Grants in Economics [RIDGE] in the Economic Research Service), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation), and the U.S. Department of Labor (evaluation contract through Jobs for Youth/Chicago) as well as engagement-related grants from the Foundation for Child Development, MacArthur Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

bottom of page