2020 DSCA Winner: Danielle S. McNamara

Danielle S. McNamara is a Professor of Psychology in the Psychology Department at Arizona State University. Much of Dr. McNamara’s research examines issues relevant to text and discourse processing, most notably reading comprehension and writing. Her research has explored factors that impact comprehension and writing quality (e.g., cohesion, prior knowledge, literacy, strategies). As an extension of this research, she has developed two intelligent tutoring systems, iSTART and Writing Pal, to provide students with adaptive comprehension and writing strategy instruction and practice. Research on these technologies has explored methods for improving student engagement via game-based practice, enhanced adaptability functions, and assessed the feasibility and usability of these systems in real world settings (see adaptiveliteracy.com). Her research also involves the development natural language processing (NLP) techniques as a means of providing students with adaptive feedback during strategy instruction as well as analyzing text and discourse. The use of these techniques has prompted the development of specialized tools (e.g., Coh-Metrix; see soletlab.asu.edu) allowing for quick, efficient, and reliable analyses of large corpora of text. Such tools have been used in various research projects involving reading comprehension, essay writing, intelligent tutoring systems, collaborative learning environments, physician secure messaging systems, and online courses. Dr. McNamara has served as an associate editor of five journals, and currently serves as the founding editor of APA’s Technology, Mind, and Behavior (tmb.apaopen.org). She has published over 450 scholarly works (books, journal articles, chapters, proceedings) and received over 30 federal grants. Dr. McNamara’s dedication to issues related to text and discourse is evidenced by her scholarship as well as her service to ST&D as past president as well as two terms on the governing board. Dr. McNamara’s innovative and ground-breaking scholarship continues to revolutionize how we understand text and discourse processing in formal and informal settings, seeking to move us toward enhanced and sustainable literacy for all. 

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