Chris Ward, PhD

At UVEI, I am motivated by our goal of helping educators get better, and specifically helping them engage in collaborative inquiry. This involves teachers coming together to investigate their practice, critically examine student work, question how they engage students, and support one another in cycles of improvement toward ambitious teaching. It takes time, knowledge, trust, commitment, shared vision, structure and support. The benefits, though, are immense and worthwhile: teachers strengthen their practice, better understand student learning, and value and respect their colleagues. I am honored to work with and support teachers who choose to engage in this model of learning.


As the Graduate Studies Coordinator and faculty member at UVEI, Chris Ward teaches across the teacher and school leadership programs and assists candidates who wish to pursue advanced degrees, either through a partnership with the Upper Valley Graduate School of Education or with other graduate schools. His work in all programs is focused on teaching candidates how to use and understand research to frame and take action on educational problems of practice.

Before coming to UVEI, Chris most recently served as Interim Director of Teacher Education in the Department of Education at Dartmouth College. He has also been a faculty member at the University of Washington and the University of Central Florida.

Chris is a member of the New Hampshire Council for Teacher Education and a councilor for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). He also serves on the Board of Changing Perspectives, a local disability awareness nonprofit. Chris received his PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Washington.  His article, Situating Motivation, written with colleagues from the University of Washington and Vanderbilt University and published in the journal, Educational Psychologist, won Division 15 of the American Psychological Association’s 2015 Best Article of the Year.


Chris’ research and practice interests include collaboration and collective inquiry, the relationship between motivation and engagement in learning, and novice teacher learning, motivation and identity development.



April 2016
American Educational Research Association, Washington DC
“A localized policy framework: A statewide collaboration toward teacher candidate performance assessment” 

April 2013
American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA
“Productive Friction: Conflict in Student Teaching Creating Opportunities for Learning”

April  2012
American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“Engagement in What? The Negotiation of Joint Enterprise in Project-Based Learning”

April 2011
American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA
“A Situative Account of Changes in Novice Teachers’ Thinking about Student Motivation”

May 2010
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO
“Novice Teachers’ Motivation to Learn and Employ Asessment Practices”

August 2008
4th Biannual European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction SIG 14: Learning and Professional Development Conference, Jyväskylä, Finland
“A Situative Approach to Identity Development and Motivation in Novice Teachers”

April 2008
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY
“Trajectories of Participation, Goals, and Identity in Learning to Teach” 
“Identity Development, Motivation, and Learning in “Becoming” a Teacher: Findings and Theoretical Advances 
“Becoming Teachers: A Situative Look at Identity, Motivation, and Learning”


Nolen, S. B., Horn, I. S. & Ward, C. J. (2015). Situating motivation. Educational Psychologist50, 234–247.

Nolen, S. B., Ward, C. J., & Horn, I. S. (2014). Changing practice(s): A situative account of teachers’ motivation to learn. In P. W. Richardson, S. A. Karabenick, & H. M. G. Watt (Eds.), Teacher motivation: Theory and practice (pp. 167–181). New York: Routledge.

Horn, I. S., Nolen, S. B., & Ward, C. J. (2013). Recontextualizing practices: Situative methods for studying the development of motivation, identity and learning in and through multiple contexts over time. In M. Vauras & S. Volet (Eds.), Interpersonal regulation of learning and motivation: Methodological advances(pp. 189–204). New York: Routledge.

Nolen, S. B., Ward, C. J., & Horn, I. S. (2012). Methods for taking a situative approach to studying the development of motivation, identity, and learning in multiple social contexts. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 27, 267–284.

Ward, C. J., Nolen, S, B., & Horn, I. S. (2011). Productive friction: How conflict in student teaching creates opportunities for learning at the boundary. International Journal of Educational Research, 50, 14–20.

Nolen, S. B., Ward, C. J., & Horn, I. S. (2011). Motivation, engagement, and identity: Opening a conversation. In D. M. McInerney, R. A. Walker, & G. A. D. Liem (Eds.), Sociocultural theories of learning and motivation: Looking back, looking forward (pp. 109–135). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Nolen, S. B., Horn, I. S., Ward, C. J., & Childers, S. (2011). Assessment tools as boundary objects in novice teachers’ learning. Cognition and Instruction, 29, 88–122.

Nolen, S. B., Ward, C. J., Horn, I. S., Childers, S., Campbell, S., & Mahna, K. (2009). Motivation in preservice teachers: The development of utility filters. In M. Wosnitza, S. A. Karabenick, A. Efklides, & P. Nenniger (Eds.), Contemporary motivation research: From global to local perspectives (pp. 265–278)Ashland, OH: Hogrefe & Huber.

Horn, I. S., Nolen, S. B., Ward, C. J., & Campbell, S. S. (2008). Developing practices in multiple worlds: The role of identity in learning to teach. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35, 61–72.

Nolen, S. B., & Ward, C. J. (2008). Sociocultural and situative approaches to studying motivation. In M. Maehr, S. Karabenick, & T. Urdan (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement: Social psychological perspectives (Vol. 15, pp. 425–460). London: Emerald Group.