Michelle Howell Smith, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, Nebraska Academy for Methodology, Analytics and Psychometrics

Michelle Howell Smith specializes in mixed methods research designs, with particular interest in instrument development procedures such as grounded theory analysis, cognitive interviews, and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. In addition to mixed methods research designs, Howell Smith’s research interests include educational supports for at-risk students, increasing women and underrepresented students in STEM fields and best practices for developing surveys and assessments.

Howell Smith is currently managing a large scale randomized control trial examining the efficacy of online instructional coaching for teachers in rural communities funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences. She has also managed research projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. With over 20 years of administrative experience in higher education and a degree in research methodology, she brings a unique skill set to conducting educational research. In addition to consulting on mixed methods projects, Howell Smith also assists in developing recruitment and evaluation plans.

A native Nebraskan, Howell Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in English from UNL. She left the state to earn her master’s degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Maryland at College Park and then worked for 12 years at colleges and universities across the country, creating leadership development programs. Howell Smith returned to Nebraska and spent eight years recruiting graduate students for the university while pursuing her doctorate in educational psychology, specializing in quantitative, qualitative, and psychometric methods.

Prior to joining CYFS, Howell Smith was a postdoctoral research associate for the Office of Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her dissertation, a mixed methods instrument development study, received the 2013 Outstanding Mixed Methods Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association.