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Brett D. Jones



Brett D. Jones, Ph.D., is a full Professor in the Educational Psychology program within the School of Education at Virginia Tech. He received his B.A.E. (1992) in Architectural Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. (1999) in Educational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has held faculty positions as an educational psychologist at Duke University, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), and Virginia Tech, and has taught courses as an adjunct professor at the University of the Virgin Islands and North Carolina Central University. He has taught 24 different types of courses related to motivation, cognition, and teaching strategies, and has conducted workshops and invited presentations at several universities. His teaching awards include the Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Education at USFSP (2003), the university-wide Undergraduate Teaching Award at USFSP (2003-2004), and the Favorite Faculty award (2007) and the Teacher of the Week award (2013) at Virginia Tech.

As an educational psychologist and motivation scientist, Dr. Jones’ research includes investigating how students’ beliefs impact their motivation, and examining methods instructors can use to design instructional environments that support students’ motivation and learning. He has received more than $2 million from the National Science Foundation to conduct his research and has published more than 80 articles, books, and book chapters. He has also contributed to the field by conducting more than 110 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. For his research, Dr. Jones received the North Carolina Association for Research in Education’s Distinguished Paper Award (2000); the Scholar of the Week recognition at Virginia Tech (2009); the Best Paper Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, K-12 Engineering Division (2010); and the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award (2010-2011). He was inducted into the East Stroudsburg Area School District Meritorious Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dr. Jones’ email is and his website is


Ph.D. Educational Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1999

M.A. Educational Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997

B.A.E. Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1992


Teaching Philosophy

My personal philosophy of teaching is derived from many learning theories, including cognitive psychology, constructivism, social learning theory, and behaviorism. As a result, I use a variety of teaching methods and techniques depending upon the concepts to be learned. As a teacher, I believe that it is important for me to highlight the major concepts in the field of study and provide students with examples. However, I see myself as more than an expert who dispenses information by lecturing. I actively engage students in learning by having them confront their existing beliefs so that they might add to, change, and/or maintain their current beliefs and knowledge based on the new information that they are learning. To do so, I provide students with opportunities to discuss concepts in class with each other and to work in together on activities and projects.


  • EDEP 4984: Motivation in Education
  • EDEP 5154: Psychological Foundations of Education for Preservice Teachers
  • EDEP 5114: Learning and Cognition
  • EDEP 6554: Inquiry in Educational Psychology
  • EDEP 6444: Motivation and Cognition
  • EDEP 6944: Professional Seminar

What motivates students in academic settings? What can instructors do to improve the motivation of students? As an educational psychologist and motivation scientist, my scholarship aims to answer these questions by (a) contributing to motivation science research and theories and (b) helping instructors apply motivation science to their instruction. More information about my research is available at

Selected publications since 2012:

Ormrod, J. E., & Jones, B. D.  (2018). Essentials of educational psychology: Big ideas to guide effective teaching (5th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson.

Chittum, J., & Jones, B. D. (in press, 2017). Identifying pre-high school students’ science class motivation profiles to increase their science identification and persistence. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Jones, B. D., & Skaggs, G. E. (2016). Measuring students’ motivation: Validity evidence for the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(1). Retrieved from

Jones, B. D., Tendhar, C., & Paretti, M. C. (2016). The effects of students’ course perceptions on their domain identification, motivational beliefs, and goals. Journal of Career Development, 43(5), 383-397. doi:10.1177/0894845315603821

Schram, A. B., & Jones, B. D. (2016). A cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the Icelandic version of the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory. Icelandic Journal of Education, 25(2), 159-181.

Gardner, A. F., & Jones, B. D. (2016). Examining the Reggio Emilia approach: Keys to understanding why it motivates students. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 14(3), 602-625.

Ruff, C., & Jones, B. D. (2016). Becoming a scientist: Using first-year undergraduate science courses to promote identification with science disciplines. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2). Retrieved from

Jones, B. D., & Sigmon, M. L. (2016). Validation evidence for the elementary school version of the MUSIC® Model of Academic Motivation Inventory. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 14(1), 155-174. Retrieved from

Parkes, K., Jones, B. D., & Wilkins, J. (2015). Assessing music students’ motivation using the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory. UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/8755123315620835

Jones, B. D., Ruff, C., & Osborne, J. W. (2015). Fostering students’ identification with mathematics and science. In K. A. Renninger, M. Nieswandt, & S. Hidi (Eds.), Interest in mathematics and science learning (pp. 331-352). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Jones, B. D. (2016). Teaching motivation strategies using the MUSIC® Model of Motivation as a conceptual framework. In M. C. Smith, & N. DeFrates-Densch (Eds.), Challenges and innovations in educational psychology teaching and learning (pp. 123-136). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Jones, B. D. (2015). Motivating students by design: Practical strategies for professors. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

Chittum, J. R., & Jones, B. D. (2015). Motivating students to engage during reading instruction: Intentionally designing instruction using a model of academic motivation. Ohio Reading Teacher, 45(1), 29-40.

Jones, B. D., Chittum, J. R., Akalin, S., Schram, A. B., Fink, J., Schnittka, C.,…Brandt, C. (2015). Elements of design-based science activities that affect students’ motivation. School Science and Mathematics, 115(8), 404-415. doi:10.1111/ssm.12143

Polys, N. F., Bacim, F., Setareh, M., & Jones, B. D. (2015). SAFAS: Unifying form and structure through interactive 3D simulation. Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 79(2), 1-23.

Setareh, M., Jones, B., Ma, L., Bacim, F., & Polys, N. F. (2015). Application and evaluation of double-layer grid spatial structures for the engineering education of architects. Journal of Architectural Engineering, 21(3), 1-12. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)AE.1943-5568.0000179

Jones, B. D., Osborne, J. W., Paretti, M. C., & Matusovich, H. M., (2014). Relationships among students’ perceptions of a first-year engineering design course and their engineering identification, motivational beliefs, course effort, and academic outcomes. International Journal of Engineering Education, 30(6A), 1340-1356.

Jones, B. D., Setareh, M., Polys, N. F., & Bacim, F. (2014). Application of an online interactive simulation tool to teach engineering concepts using 3D spatial structures. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 9(3), 18-36.

McGinley, J., & Jones, B. D. (2014). A brief instructional intervention to increase students’ motivation on the first day of class. Teaching of Psychology, 41(2), 158-162. doi:10.1177/0098628314530350

Mohamed, H. E., Soliman, M. H., & Jones, B. D. (2013). A cross-cultural validation of the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation and its associated inventory among Egyptian university students. Journal of Counseling Quarterly Journal, 36, 2-14.

Hall, S., Jones, B. D., Amelink, C., & Hu, D. (2013). Educational innovation in the design of an online nuclear engineering curriculum. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 13(2), 58-72.

Jones, B. D., Ruff, C., & Paretti, M. C. (2013). The impact of engineering identification and stereotypes on undergraduate women’s achievement and persistence in engineering. Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, 16(3), 471–493. doi:10.1007/s11218-013-9222-x

Jones, B. D., & Wilkins, J. L. M. (2013). Testing the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation through confirmatory factor analysis. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, 33(4), 482-503. doi:10.1080/01443410.2013.785044

Jones, B. D., Epler, C. M., Mokri, P., Bryant, L. H., & Paretti, M. C. (2013). The effects of a collaborative problem-based learning experience on students’ motivation in engineering capstone courses. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 7(2), 34-71. doi:10.7771/1541-5015.1344

Setareh, M., Bacim, F., Jones, B. D., Polys, N. F., Geng, T., & Orsa, B. (2012). Integrating web-based visualization with structural system understanding to improve the technical education of architects. Journal of Online Engineering Education, 3(2).

Magee, R. G., & Jones, B. D. (2012). An instrument to assess beliefs about standardized testing: Measuring the influence of epistemology on the endorsement of standardized testing. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 12, 71-82.

Schnittka, C. G., Brandt, C. B., Jones, B. D., & Evans, M. A. (2012). Informal engineering education after school: Employing the studio model for motivation and identification in STEM domains. Advances in Engineering Education, 3(2), 1-31.

Jones, B. D., Rakes, L., & Landon, K. (2012). Malawian secondary students’ beliefs about intelligence. International Journal of Psychology, 48(5), 785-796. doi:10.1080/00207594.2012.716906

Jones, B. D., Watson, J. M., Rakes, L., & Akalin, S. (2012). Factors that impact students’ motivation in an online course: Using the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation. Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology, 1(1), 42-58.

Jones, B. D., Bryant, L., Snyder, J. D., & Malone, D. (2012). Preservice and inservice teachers’ implicit theories of intelligence. Teacher Education Quarterly, 39(2), 87-101. doi:10.1177/0022487111422535

Jones, B. D., Wilkins, J. L. M., Long, M. H., & Wang, F. (2012). Testing a motivational model of achievement: How students’ mathematical beliefs and interests are related to their achievement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 27(1), 1-20. doi:10.1007/s10212-011-0062-9

Parkes, K., & Jones, B. D. (2012). Motivational constructs influencing undergraduate students’ choices to become classroom music teachers or music performers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 60(1), 101-123. doi:10.1177/0022429411435512

Newbill, P. B., & Jones, B. D. (2012). Students’ motivations for studying French: Examining undergraduates’ language orientations, expectancies, and values to promote advocacy. The NECTFL Review, 69, 69-91.

Jones, B. D., Ruff, C., Snyder, J. D., Petrich, B., & Koonce, C. (2012). The effects of mind mapping activities on students’ motivation. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 1-21.