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San Diego State University


Alexander Chizhik

Education and Appointments

  • Professor of Educational Psychology – San Diego State University, 2011-present
    (Associate Professor 2006-2011; Assistant Professor 2000-2006)
  • Fulbright Scholar – Ushinsky South Ukrainian State Pedagogical University, 2012-2014
  • Assistant Professor, Educational Measurement – University of Maine, 1999-2000
  • Ph.D. in Education from UCLA (1999) (Qualifying Exam Honors)
  • B.A. in Psychology from UC Irvine (1994) (Campus-wide Honors)
  • B.S. in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine (1994) (Excellence in Research)

Research Interests

  • Equity in group interactions: How to overcome differential participation in
    group settings due to relative status?
  • Mentoring in teacher education: What cultural and social structures support teachers’ professional development?
  • Utilization approach to participatory program evaluation: How to maximize
    evaluation utilization while encouraging primary stakeholders to incorporate
    perspectives of unempowered stakeholders?

Current Projects

Cooperative learning in introductory computer science classes. This NSF-funded project involves the development and evaluation of cooperative learning exercises for undergraduate computer science courses.  The exercises involve students in specific roles to focus their attention on key concepts involved in developing and testing Java programs. To date, experimental results show that the benefits of cooperative learning outweigh any possible losses due to reduced lecture time. These benefits are enjoyed by both male and female students, ethnic-majority and minority students, and by students from a variety of majors. Importantly, the educational benefits of cooperative learning experiences continue when students take subsequent coursework in computer science. 

Article in Transactions on Computing Education

Mentoring of student teachers in conjunction with field practice.  This project involves designing mentoring structures based on lesson study within professional learning communities (PLCs) that include multiple student teachers, classroom teachers, and a university field supervisor. Within PLCs, teams analyze lesson plans, video clips of student teachers’ practice, and assessment results in order to make overt as well as improve student teachers’ pedagogical skills.

Article in Teacher Education Quarterly

Teaching Philosophy

From my theoretical perspective and teaching experience, students' constructing examples for application is important for their developing deep understandings of theoretical constructs. While students are certainly responsible for constructing their own understandings, my role as an instructor is to provide mediating tools around which socially situated cognition can occur. I accomplish this through having students work in groups to solve complex problems. As a teacher-scholar, I am constantly reflecting on my own teaching practice, reading current research on learning and instruction, and modifying my pedagogy to better serve my students.

Selected Publications

Chizhik, E. W., & Chizhik, A. W. (in press).  Using activity theory to examine how teachers’ lesson plans meet students’ learning needs. The Teacher Educator.

Chizhik, E. W., Chizhik, A. W., Close, C., & Gallego, M. (2017).  SMILE (Shared Mentoring in Instructional Learning Environments): Effectiveness of a Lesson-Study approach to student-teaching supervision on a teacher-education performance assessment. Teacher Education Quarterly, 44(2), 27-47.

Chizhik, E. W., & Chizhik, A. W. (2016).  (Re)Conceptualizing the purpose of the lesson plan.  Journal of Educational Thought, 49(2), 210-225.

Kapranov, G. A., Chizhik, A. W., & Chizhik, E. W. (2016).  Teacher education reform in Far East Russia: Integrating field experiences with action research.  Educational Process: International Journal, 5(4), 313-326.

Beck, L., & Chizhik, A. W. (2013).  Cooperative Learning Instructional Methods for CS1: Design, Implementation, and EvaluationTransactions on Computing Education, 13(3), Article 10, 21 pages.

Goodman, J. A., Alexander, M. G., Chizhik, A. W., Chizhik, E. W., & Eidelman, S. (2010).  Indirect influence and divergent thinking as a function of member status and task structure in small groups.  European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(7), 1184-1199.

Chizhik, A. W., Shelly, R. K., & Troyer, L. (2009).  Intragroup conflict and cooperation: An introduction.  Journal of Social Issues, 65(2), 251-259.

Alexander, M. G., Chizhik, A. W., Chizhik, E. W., & Goodman, J. A. (2009).  Lower-status participation and influence: Task structure matters.  Journal of Social Issues, 65(2), 365-381.

Chizhik, A. W. (2009).  Literacy for playwriting or playwriting for literacy? Education and Urban Society, 41, 387-409.

Chizhik, E. W., & Chizhik, A. W. (2005). Are you privileged or oppressed?  Students’ conceptions of themselves and others. Urban Education, 40, 116-143.

Chizhik, A. W., Alexander, M., Chizhik, E. W., & Goodman, J. (2003). The rise and fall of power and prestige orders: Influence of task structure.  Social Psychology Quarterly, 66(3), 303-317.

Chizhik, E. W., & Chizhik, A. W. (2003). Teaching educational psychology to develop creative and transformative teachers. Journal of Educational Thought, 37(2), 177-195.

Chizhik, E. W., & Chizhik, A. W. (2002).  Who deserves blame for societal inequities and who can change them? Applying attribution theory to understanding privilege and oppression.  Journal of College Student Development, 43(6), 792-808.

Chizhik, E. W., & Chizhik, A. W. (2002).  A path to social change: Examining students' responsibility, opportunity, and emotion toward social justice.  Education and Urban Society, 34(3), 283-297.

Chizhik, A. W. (2001).  Equity and status in group collaboration: Learning through explanations depends on task characteristics.  Social Psychology of Education, 5, 179-200.

Webb, N., Nemer, K., Chizhik, A., & Sugrue, B. (1998).  Equity issues in collaborative group assessment: Group composition and performance.  American Educational Research Journal, 35, 607-651.

Chizhik, A. W. (1998).  Collaborative learning through high-level verbal interaction: From theory to practice.  The Clearing House, 72, 58-61.

Travel Log

Our Trip to Ussuriisk, Russia (slide show)


Alexander Chizhik

   Alexander Williams

   Professor of


School of Teacher Education
North Education #79B
San Diego, CA 92182
Telephone: 619-594-1222