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Manya Whitaker

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

When I’m at work, I focus most of my efforts on improving the quality and effectiveness of urban education. I research in urban Title I schools, helping them establish/improve their parent involvement programs. I also lead teacher in-service workshops on the implementation of developmentally appropriate curriculum for low income and ethnic minority middle school students. In the classroom, I am most interested in helping students engage course content in multiple contexts, and from multiple perspectives. My primary goal as an educator is to empower students to become teachers as well as learners in a diverse, interdisciplinary society. 

Teaching Experience

  • Vanderbilt University:  Developmental Psychology, Adolescent Development, Intro to Statistical Analyses

Research and Teaching Interests

Developmental Psychology; Urban Education; Parental Involvement; Pedagogy of Poverty; Culturally Relevant Teaching; Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum

Pedro Noguera video clip: How do schools promote equity among students?


Whitaker, M.C., & Hoover-Dempsey, K.V. (in press). School influences on parents’ role beliefs. The Elementary School Journal

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V. & Whitaker, M.C. (2010). The parental involvement process:Implications for literacy development. In K. Dunsmore & D. Fisher (Eds.), Bringing literacy home (pp. 53-82). Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.  

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., Whitaker, M.C., & Ice, C.L. (2010). Motivation and commitment to family-school partnerships. In Christenson, S.L., & Reschly, A.L. (Eds.), Handbook on school-family partnerships for promoting student competence (pp. 30-60). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.

Regular Classes

ED250: Learning Across Culture
ED255: Urban Education
ED260: Educational Research Design
ED311: Educational Psychology 
ED430: Policy and Politics in American Education
ED455: Educational Reform in the 21st Century 

Manya Whitaker


Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Psychology: Developmental Psychology, Urban Education

M.S., Vanderbilt University, Psychology: Developmental Psychology

B.A., Dartmouth College, Psychology with Honors