Sharon Nichols, Ph.D.

Department Chair and Professor, Director, Urban Education Institute, Educational Psychology

Sharon Nichols, Ph.D.


Sharon L. Nichols is Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is also the director of UTSA’s Urban Education Institute. She teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in learning theory, motivation, development, and research methods and has authored over three dozen books, journal articles, and book chapters related to youth development, motivation, and education policy. She is the co-author of Collateral damage: How high-stakes testing corrupts America’s schools (with D. C. Berliner, Harvard Education Press, 2007). Her current work focuses on the impact of test-based accountability on teachers, their instructional practices, and adolescent motivation and development. She is the past Vice President of Division 15 of the American Psychological Association and inaugural co-editor of the new Division 15 journal, Educational Psychology for Policy and Practice.


  • EDP 5603
  • EDP 5033
  • EDP 6103
  • EDP 6203

Research Interests

  • High-stakes testing accountability
  • Student motivation
  • Education policy


  • BA Bucknell University
  • MA University of Arizona
  • PhD University of Arizona

Honors and Awards

Fellow of American Psychological Association (Division 15) Hall of Fame Inductee, Softball (Pitching), Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA


Nichols, S. (2019). Policy-informed scholarship: Forging a role for psychological research in educational policy. Invited webinar for Division 15 (Educational Psychology), APA (March 28).


  • Nichols, S. L. (2023). Educational Psychology and educational policy: Intersections and new directions. In P. Schutz & K. R. Muis (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (4th edition). APA. Nichols, S. L., & Herrick, I. R. (2023).
  • Introduction to the special issue of policy-oriented research: Enhancing the relevancy of educational psychology to policy. Educational Psychologist, 58(4), 205-213. (listen to podcast on special issue: Nichols, S. L., Schutz, P. A. & Bahena, S. (2023).
  • How to read, evaluate, and use research. Sage. Nichols, S. L., & Berliner. D. C. (2007). Collateral damage: How high-stakes testing corrupts America’s schools. Harvard Education Press.