Jingjing  Sun

Contact Information

Personal Summary

Jingjing Sun is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Teaching & Learning and awardee of an Early-Stage Investigator Career Award from the National Institutes of Health. Her research has centered on children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development, with an emphasis on reducing inequities in academic engagement and wellbeing among children of disadvantaged backgrounds. The privilege to work with Indigenous communities in the Flathead Nation in Montana, as well as schools in urban and rural settings in both the United States and China, has profoundly shaped Jingjing's research agenda. Collaborating with community leaders, educators, and interdisciplinary colleagues from school psychology, early childhood education, literacy, and counseling, Jingjing's work examines the impact of broader ecological systems, including culture, land, community, and tribal sovereignty, on learning and children’s social and emotional development in school. Further, Jingjing is passionate about supporting educators’ learning and wellbeing through extended professional development co-designed with community members and educators themselves. She helps teachers to integrate collaborative discussions and social-emotional learning into their regular pedagogies. 

Jingjing directs the Collaboration & Reasoning Lab at the University of Montana and is proud to lead an interdisciplinary team of dedicated graduate and undergraduate students. She values mentoring the next generation of scholars in developing expertise in sophisticated mixed-methods designs and community-based participatory research. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, dancing, experimenting with new cuisines, and getting lost in nature with her family.


Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Cognitive Science of Teaching and Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.S. in Applied Statistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.S. in Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A. in English, with Honors, Anhui University

Courses Taught

Graduate Courses:

  • EDEC 540 Neuroscience & Its Impact on Child Development
  • EDU 510 Developmental and Learning Sciences
  • EDU 626 Mixed Methods Research Design

Undergraduate Courses:

  • EDU 221 Educational Psychology & Measurement 
  • EDU 222 Educational Psychology​ & Child Development 



  1. PICo-designing for the Future: Supporting Indigenous Children through Community-engaged and Culturally Responsive Social-Emotional Learning. Research for Indigenous Social Action and Equity (RISE) Center Grant, $15,000, 1/1/2023-12/31/2023. Co-PI: Anisa Goforth. 
  2. Co-PI. ENGAGE: Transformative Social-Emotional Learning for Educators to Support Indigenous Students. PI: Anisa Goforth. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research Awards, Society for the Study of School Psychology, $10,000. 06/15/2022 – 06/30/2023.
  3. Co-PIEarly Learning Fellows: Fostering and Connecting Emerging Education Leaders. PI: Kate Brayko. 21st Century Learning Program, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, $113,000, 03/01/2019 – 12/31/2023.
  4. Co-PI. Exploring the Impact of Arts Education in Missoula County Public Schools. PI: Stephanie Reid. Small Research Grant, University of Montana, $5,000, 05/01/2022 – 08/31/2023.

Recently Completed

  1. PI. Project SELA: Improving Mental Health for Native American Youth through Social-Emotional Learning. Early-Stage Investigator Career Award, American Indian/Alaska Native Clinical & Translational Research Program, National Institute of Health, $220,000, 8/1/2019 –12/31/2021.
  2. PI. Building Resilience and Social Emotional Competence among Native American YouthAmerican Indian/Alaska Native Clinical & Translational Research Program, National Institute of Health, $54,500, 8/1/2018 –07/31/2019.
  3. Co-PI. Project CLEAR Big Sky. PI: Tracy Missett. Esther Katz Rosen Grant, American Psychological Foundation, $37,000, 09/01/2016 – 08/31/2019. 
  4. PI. The Process of Change: Teachers' Growth in Scaffolding Collaborative Dialogue. Small Research Grant, University of Montana, $5,000, 05/01/2017 – 08/31/2018.


Referred Journal Articles (= student author; = community partners )

Sun, J., Goforth, A. N., Nichols, L. M., Violante, A. E.*, Christopher, K.*, Howlett, R.+, Hogenson, D.,+ & Graham, N.+ (2022). Building a space to dream: Supporting Indigenous children’s survivance through community-engaged social and emotional learningChild Development.

Sun, J., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J. A., Lin, T.-J., Miller, B. W., Ma, S., & Scott, T. (2022). Children’s Engagement during Collaborative Learning and Direct Instruction through the Lens of Participant Structure. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Goforth, A. N., Nichols, L. M., Sun, J., Violante, A., Brooke, E.*, Kusumaningsih, S.*, Howlett, R.+, Hogenson, D.+ & Graham, N.+ (2022). Cultural adaptation of an educator social-emotional learning program to support Indigenous students. School Psychology Review.

Goforth, A., Nicols, L., Sun, J., Violente, A.*, Christopher, K.*, & Graham, N.+ (2021, online first). Incorporating the Indigenous Evaluation Framework for culturally responsive community engagement. Psychology in the Schools. 
Sun, J., Zhang, J., & Li, H. (2020, online first). Teacher learning in scaffolding children’s collaborative dialogue in a Chinese elementary school. ECNU Review of Education. ‚Äč
Morris, J. A., Miller, B., Anderson, R. C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Lin, T.-J., Scott, T., Zhang, J., Sun, J., & Ma, S. (2018). Instructional discourse and argumentative writing. International Journal of Educational Research.
Sun, J., Anderson, R. C., Perry, M., & Lin, T.-J. (2017). Emergent leadership in children’s cooperative problem solving groups. Cognition and Instruction, 35(3), 212-235. doi: 10.1080/07370008.2017.1313615
Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., Lin, T., Zhang, J., Morris, J. A., Nguyen-jahiel, K., Miller, B. W.,  Jadallah, M., Scott, T., Sun, J., Grabow, K., Latawiec, B. M., & Yi, F-H. (2017). Instructional influences on English language l earners ’ storytelling. Learning and Instruction, 5845, 217–244. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.12.00
Ma, S., Zhang, J., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J., Nguyen-Jahiel, Miller, B. W., Jadallah, M., Sun, J., Lin, T.-J., Scott, T., Hsu, Y.-L., Zhang, J., Latawiec, B. & Grabow, K. (2017). Children’s productive use of academic vocabulary. Discourse Processes.
Zhang, X., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J., Miller, B., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Lin, T.-J., Zhang, J., Jadallah, M., Scott, T., Sun, J., Latawiec, B., Ma, S., Grabow, K., & Hsu, Y.-L.. (2015). Improving children’s competence in decision making. American Educational Research Journal, 54(1), 194-223. DOI: 10.3102/0002831215618663
Miller, B., Anderson, R. C., Morris, J., Lin, T.-J., Jadallah, M., & Sun, J. (2014). The effects of reading to prepare for argumentative discussion on cognitive engagement and conceptual change. Learning and Instruction, 33, 67-80.
Book Chapters (= student author)

Sun, J., Howlett, R.+, Hogenson, D.+, Nichols, L. M., Goforth, A. N., Kusumaningsih, S.*, Graham, N.+, & Brooke, E.* (in press). Community-engaged culturally sustaining social and emotional learning as an approach to speculative education. In A. G. Garcia, & N. Mirra (Eds.), Speculative Pedagogies: Teaching and Researching for Alternative Educational Futures. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., & Sun, J. (2023). Collaborative learning and children’s development of language and thought. In R. Tierney, F. Rizvi, & K. Ercikan (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 4th edition.

Lin, T.-J., Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., Jadallah, M., Sun, J., Morris, J., Miller, B. & Sallade, R. (2018). Promoting academic talk through Collaborative Reasoning. In R. Gillies (Ed.), Promoting academic talk in schools. UK: Taylor & Francis. 
Ma, S., Sun, J., Morris, A. J. & Anderson, R. C. (2016). Collaborative reasoning: An instructional approach that promotes higher-order thinking. In W. Li (Ed.), International research on children’s reading. Beijing, China: Beijing Normal University Press. [In Chinese]
Sun, J., Anderson, R. C., Lin, T.-J., & Morris, J. A. (2015). Social and cognitive development during collaborative reasoning. In L. B. Resnick, C. Asterhan, & S. N. Clarke (Eds.), Socializing intelligence through talk and dialogue. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Miller, B., Sun, J., Wu, X. & Anderson, R. C. (2013). Child leaders in collaborative groups. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, C. K. K. Chan, & A. O'Donnell (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning. London, UK: Taylor & Francis.
Referred Conference Proceedings (= advised student)

Sun, J., Miller, B. W. &*Finlay, M. (2019). Rural students’ cultural assets during collaborative science argumentation. Poster presentation at the 2019 International Conference of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Lyon, France.

Sun, J., *Datu, E., & *Warchola, G. (2018). Emergent leadership and its influence on collaborative and individual reasoning. In J. Kay & R. Luckin (Eds.). Rethinking learning in the digital age—Making learning sciences count: The International Conference of Learning Sciences 2018 Proceedings. London, UK: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Sun, J., *Jackson, J., *Burns, M., & Anderson, R. C. (2017). Emergent leadership and relational thinking in Collaborative Reasoning discussions. In B. K. Smith, M. Borge, E. Mercier, & K.Y. Lim (Eds.), Making a Difference—Prioritizing Equity and Access in CSCL: The 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The International Society of the Learning Sciences. 
Sun, J. (2016). Children’s social and emotional development in collaborative learning. In C.-K. Looi, J. Polman, U. Cress, & P. Reimann. (Eds.) Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners: The International Conference of Learning Sciences 2016 Proceedings. Singapore, Singapore: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Mercier, E., Shehab, S., Sun, J. & Capell, N. (2015). The development of collaborative practices in introductory engineering courses. In O. Lindwall, P. Häkkinen, T. Koschman, P. Tchounikine, & S. Ludvigsen. (Eds.) Exploring the Material Conditions of Learning: The 11th Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference. Gothenburg, Sweden: The International Society of the Learning Sciences. 

Honors / Awards

2023                  SRCD Early Career Transdisciplinary Fellow, Society for Research in Child Development

2020-                 Women's Leadership Initiative Fellow, University of Montana & Clearwater Credit Union

2019-2021         Early-Stage Investigator Career Award, American Indian/Alaska Native Clinical & Translational Research Program, National Institutes of Health

2019-2021         AERA-SRCD Early Career Research Fellow in Middle Childhood Education and Development