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TEI Faculty and Staff, Fall 2015

The Education Institute’s personnel are Texas State University faculty members and staff. A faculty and staff directory is available below with program affiliation and contact information for all personnel.

Dr. Emily Payne

Institute Director

Emily Payne, EdD, is an associate professor and a member of the graduate faculty for the master’s program in developmental and adult education at Texas State University-San Marcos. She teaches, among others, a course in qualitative research. Dr. Payne has a bachelor of arts from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s and doctorate from New Mexico State University. She has taught undergraduate and graduate students in education since 1971. Since 1991 she has worked with adult education grant-funded projects. Dr. Payne enjoys traveling in the Big Bend area during semester breaks.

Ysabel Ramirez

Grant Director

Ysabel Ramirez is the Grant Director of the Texas Success Initiative Professional Development Program (TSI-PD) grant. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts in Developmental and Adult Education from Texas State University. Currently she is pursuing a doctorate in Developmental Education with a concentration in Learning Support at Texas State. Previously she has worked as a grant specialist, coordinator, and director for various family literacy and adult and developmental education grants in The Education Institute. She has also taught Integrated Reading and Writing at Texas State and has researched, developed, and presented professional development on multiple topics both nationally and statewide since 2006.


Grant Specialist

Luann Walker is the Grant Specialist at The Education Institute. As Grant Specialist she is responsible for overseeing administrative operations, researching relevant   theory and practice, while assisting grant Faculty and Staff in generating professional development materials.  She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL and is currently pursuing a Master's in Developmental Education with a concentration in Learning Support here at Texas State University. Her research interests include Quantitative Research Methods; Adults with Learning Disabilities; Technology Mediated Learning Support; Critical/Higher Order Thinking Increased training and use of technology; Software, webinars, among others.

Dr. Russ Hodges

Associate Professor

Dr. Russ Hodges is an Associate Professor in the Doctoral Program in Developmental Education. He currently teaches undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-level courses in Developmental and Adult Education. Dr. Hodges earned his Doctorate of Education, specializing in Developmental Education, from Grambling State University in Louisiana. He is a past president of the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) and currently serves as chair of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (CLADEA). Russ has won numerous awards for his service and scholarship including being named CLADEA Fellow in 2009. His current research focuses on postsecondary student success, demographic changes in higher education, and interventions for students with AD/HD.

Developmental Education Doctoral Assistants

Amber Sarker 2015

Michael C. McConnell earned both his Bachelor of Arts in English Composition and Language (1998) and a Master of Arts in Literature and Literary Criticism (2003) from the University of North Texas. At the college level, he has taught Developmental Writing, Freshman Composition, Technical Writing, ESL, and Advanced Grammar and Composition at universities and community colleges throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Michael is currently enrolled as a doctoral student in Developmental Education with a Literacy Concentration and a focus on grant writing, policy, and professional development at Texas State University.


Amber Sarker 2015


Amber Sarker is a first year doctoral student at Texas State University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Developmental Education with a concentration in Literacy. Amber’s current research interests include Motivation and Self-Regulation, Student Engagement in Online Courses, Educational Technology, Social Media for Professional Connections and Postsecondary Professional Development. Amber has previously taught undergraduate courses in Michigan and Indiana. Before teaching at the postsecondary level, she worked as a third grade teacher for seven years. Amber previously earned a MA in Teaching and Learning and a BA in Language Arts from Madonna University in Livonia, MI.

Jessica Reynolds Oct 2015


Jessica Reynolds is a first year doctoral student at Texas State University. She is pursuing a PhD in Developmental Education with a concentration in Literacy. Her research interests include Writing Centers, Integrated Reading and Writing, Basic Writing, Learning Communities, and Student Motivation. Jessica earned a BA in English and a MA in English with a focus in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC). After earning a MA in English, Jessica taught Freshman Composition, First-Year Seminar, Integrated Reading and Writing, and worked as a writing tutor for 4 years at the TAMU-CC CASA Writing Center.

Megan Krou October 2015


Megan Krou is a first year doctoral student at Texas State University in the Developmental Education program with a specialization in Learning Support. Megan's current research interests include motivation behind academic dishonesty and how epistemological beliefs can hinder learning. Megan previously taught undergraduate courses and has been a tutor for Business Statistics. Megan earned her M.A. in Sociology and her B.B.A. in Economics from Texas State University.