The Institute for Education Sciences of the United States Department of Education has funded the TIES Program at Penn State since 2009, supporting predoctoral graduate students from 6 graduate programs in three colleges: child-clinical and developmental psychology (Liberal Arts), educational psychology, school psychology, and special education (Education), and human development and family studies (Health and Human Development). TIES bridges resources and doctoral training across the Pennsylvania State University campus to prepare educational scientists with expertise in the development and evaluation of educational programs, practices, and policies. The goal is to produce scholars to work in academic or research settings, contributing to research on educational interventions.
The TIES program involves a combination of coursework, speaker series, summer institutes, mentored research, and policy/practice apprenticeships, and offers specialized opportunities for intensive professional development support. The program’s core training emphasizes advanced methodology for the rigorous evaluation of educational programs, practices, and policies. TIES also provides training in research process management, grant writing, and diverse, interdisciplinary research experiences. The program seeks to prepare the next generation of educational scientists capable of advancing scientific knowledge and supporting the work of practitioners and policymakers in three areas of IES priority: Social and Behavioral Contexts for Academic Learning, Early Learning Programs and Policies, and Effective Teachers and Teaching. The program emphasizes the preparation of fellows to conduct research relevant for students who are at-risk for school difficulties and for schools that serve many economically-disadvantaged students. Fellowships range from 2‐4 years depending on the point of program entry and prior coursework and training activities.
Summary of TIES Training Activities
Training Activity Key Features
Methods Coursework 6 required courses (4 basic methodology courses on measurement and statistics; 1 education/prevention program evaluation course; 1 multi-level modeling course); optional one-credit electives on special topics
TIES Proseminars 5 one–credit TIES proseminars (social-behavioral contexts; early learning & teacher effectiveness; issues in education research methods)
Speaker Series Talks by 2- 3 national guest experts per semester, including opportunities for informal interaction
Summer Institutes 3-day institute focused on seminar topic from previous year; 2-3 leading scholars outside Penn State plus 2-3 local experts
Mentored Research Work with primary mentor and at least one additional mentor in guided educational research
Policy/Practice Apprenticeships Optional placement in one of 4 affiliated programs that work with schools
Career Development Funding for 1-2 conferences per year; informal interactions with speaker series and summer institute speakers; advisory committee guidance; 1-credit TIES professional development workshops (manuscript writing; grant proposal development; research program organization)