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More About the Authors

Michael J. Nakkula is practice professor and chair of applied psychology and human development at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. His teaching and research focuses on the development of resilience and the promotion of possibility development among low-income children and youth. He is particularly interested in the integration of counseling, mentoring, and educational processes in urban schools to create contexts that allow students to thrive in school and during their transition to higher education and career opportunities. Dr. Nakkula works with many national organizations to develop applied research strategies that promote the study of developmental and educational initiatives in support of optimal youth development.

Selected Publications

Nakkula, M., Foster, K., Mannes, M., & Lewis, S. : Building healthy communities for positive youth development The Search Institute Series on Developmentally Attentive Community and Society. Peter Benson (eds.). Springer, In Press.

Karcher, M.J. & Nakkula, M.J., Eds.: Play, talk, learn: Promising practices in youth mentoring. New Directions in Youth Development. Jossey Bass, (in press).

Nakkula, M. : Identity and possibility: Adolescent development and the potential of schools. Adolescents at School: Perspectives on Youth, Identity, and Education (2nd Edition). M. Sadowski (eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2008.

Mason, M., & Nakkula, M.: A risk and prevention counselor training program model: Theory and practice. Journal of Primary Prevention 29(5): 361-374, 2008.

Nakkula, M., & Foster, K.: Academic identity development: Student experiences in two Early College High Schools. Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School with College Makes Sense and How To Do It. N. Hoffman, J. Vargas, A. Venezia, & M. Miller (eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 2007.

Nakkula, M., & Toshalis, E.: Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 2006.

Over the past two decades, Eric Toshalis has served public education in a variety of roles including middle and high school teacher, coach, mentor teacher, teacher educator, union president, community activist, curriculum writer, researcher, author, and consultant. Recognized as Teacher of the Year by his school district in Santa Barbara County in 1997 and awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching by Harvard College in 2002, Eric has long focused on what it takes to educate adolescents and adults who bring a diversity of cultural, ethnic, gender, linguistic, racial, sexual, and socioeconomic insights. Eric received his B.A., teaching credential, and M.Ed. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. He completed his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2007, and served as Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at CSU Channel Islands from 2007 to 2011. He is currently Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Education and Counseling at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where he directs the Summer Middle and High School Level Program and teaches adolescent development and classroom management.

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Toshalis, E. and Nakkula, M. J. (2012). The integration of motivation, engagement, and voice in student-centered learning. Invited paper for the Students at the Center: Teaching and Learning in the Era of the Common Core project, sponsored by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Nellie Mae Foundation. Available at: (The full paper and executive summary are available here.)

Toshalis, E. (2012). The rhetoric of care: Preservice teacher discourses that depoliticize, deflect, and deceive. The Urban Review, 44(1), 1-35. (See an L&C feature on this research here.)

Toshalis, E. (2010). From disciplined to disciplinarian: The reproduction of symbolic violence in preservice teacher education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42(2), 183-213.


Toshalis, E. (2010). The identity-perception gap: Teachers confronting the difference between who they (think they) are and how they are perceived by students. In Milner, H.R. (Ed.) Culture, curriculum, and identity in education. (pp. 15-35). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nakkula, M. J. & Toshalis, E. (2009). Educators as “applied developmentalists”. In C. T. Chauncey & N. Walser (Eds.), Spotlight on student engagement, motivation, and achievement. (pp. 47-54). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press

Toshalis, E. (2008). A question of “faith”: Adolescent spirituality in the public schools. In M. Sadowski (Ed.), Adolescents at school: Perspectives on youth, identity, and education. (2nd ed., pp. 189-206). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.


Toshalis, E. (2012) Celebrating “Back-to-School”… (or Not). Jobs for the Future Blog.

Nakkula, M. J. & Toshalis, E. (2007) “Educators as ‘applied developmentalists’: An interview with Michael J. Nakkula and Eric Toshalis.” Caroline T. Chauncey, Ed. Harvard Education Letter, 23(1).

Toshalis, E. (2009) “Talking with parents about adolescent transitions.” Blog of Harvard Education Publishing.

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