Dr.  Michael Karcher



Michael J. Karcher, Ed.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received a doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University (1997) and a doctorate in Educational Psychology, in the APA-Approved Counseling Psychology Training Program, from the University of Texas at Austin (1999). He conducts research on school-based and cross-age peer mentoring as well as on adolescent connectedness and pair counseling.

He authored the Cross-age Mentoring Program (CAMP) program, the implementation for which is described in CAMP Program Manual, Training Guide, Connectedness Curriculum, and Mentor Handbook. These materials have been reviewed by and are listed on the website of SAMASA’s National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices (see http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=356 ).  Published by Developmental Press, these manuals are distributed by Boy With A Ball International (http://www.boywithaball.com) which operates the CAMP in the US and Internationally. In San Antonio, the program operates under the student-chosen name “Velocity” at Harlandale High School (see http://www.boywithaball.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSEbuD20HZA). Also see Express News article on the Velocity CAMP program (article). Dr. Karcher has committed to donating revenue from all sales of CAMP materials to this non-profit youth-development organization through 2020. 

Dr. Karcher draws on his expereince developing and coordinating the CAMP program  and his other research on youth mentoring to help mentoring programs improve the outcomes of their efforts. He is working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada to revised its school-based (“in-school”) mentoring programs, and previously worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to strengthen their High School Bigs program using results from the first evaluation of that program, on which Dr. Karcher served as a technical advisor.  A short talk, given at the 2013 Summer Institute for Youth Mentoring, that is based on his research on peer mentoring can be found here (https://vimeo.com/83627897).

Previously, he conducted one of the first large-scale school-based mentoring studies, the Study of Mentoring in the Learning Environment (SMILE, 2003-2006) funded by the William T. Grant Foundation (www.utsasmile.org), which focused on its effects of adult-with-youth mentoring for Latino youth and was showcased as one of 3 studies in a 2010 meta-analysis by Wheeler, Keller and DuBois published in a 2010 Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report. 

Findings from the SMILE study led Dr. Karcher and his graduate training faculty mentor, Michael Nakkula (U. of Penn.), to develop a framework for studying mentoring interactions. The TEAM framework provides a multidimensional way to understand and differentiate goal-directed vs. relational interactions in mentoring relationships. This model has been used to guide Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada’s in-school mentoring program (see talks on the TEAM framework at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhvLAMNnhr4). Dr. Karcher also is using this framework to guide two large-scale research projects. 

Currently he is Principal Investigator of two OJJDP studies using the TEAM framework. The first is designed to better understand the role of advocacy and related interactions in effectively mentoring delinquent youth in the national Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. The second is a longitudinal followup on the SMILE study and the seminal Companionship Therapy study by Goodman (1972). Dr. Karcher has collaborated with doctoral student David Johnson on the first of these, and with Joe Avera and Yuliya Zholu (who co-wrote the grant proposal) on the second, longitudinal study.

Several of Dr. Karcher’s publications are available on Amazon.com (Karcher author site). Along with David L. DuBois, Professor Karcher edited the Handbook of Youth Mentoring (2005, Sage; second edition in 2012); co-edited with Michael Nakkula, Play, talk, learn: Promising practices in youth mentoring (2010), which first presented the TEAM framework; the CAMP series of program manuals; and is currently co-authoring a book on school-based mentoring with Carla Herrera entitled Better together: Befriending youth through school-based mentoring.

He is on the editorial board for five national journals and the research and advisory boards of BBBSA, MENTOR, the U.S. Dream Academy, and Mentors, Inc. In 2001 and 2012 Dr. Karcher was invited to present at the National Mentoring Summit and in 2012 and 2013 he gave talks at the Texas Mentoring Symposium, led by Belinda Harmon of the Office of P-20 initiatives at UTSA (see http://utsa.edu/mentoring/samf-videos.html). He also worked with Belinda Harmon in the Office of P-20 Initiatives to secure UTSA as the site for the Texas Mentoring Partnership within the MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership organization, which makes UTSA the primary hub for MENTOR-based training, support, and technical assistance. 

Dr. Karcher is a native San Antonian. He attended Cambridge Elementary as well as the Keystone School, and graduated from Clark High School. He supports youth outreach efforts through the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, focusing on the programs at Camp Capers (where he served six summers as counselor and director), and by having served as a “Big” and Communities in Schools mentor. He lives with his wife Sara, their children Reed, Jack, and Caroline.

For more information or to download articles, go to www.professorkarcher.com

For information on school connectedness, to go www.schoolconnectedness.com