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Dawn Schrader

Dawn Schrader

Associate Professor

466 Mann Library Building
(607) 255-9258

Dawn Schrader is interested in the role of new media and technology in judgment, psycho-social development and action. She examines dynamics between cognition, metacognition, epistemology, sociality, and the moral self, particularly in regard to online activity and technological change. Research focuses on privacy awareness and personal information sharing that affects interpersonal relationships and personal and professional development. Additionally she is interested in the psychology, epistemology and ethics of emerging technological developments, including AI, robots, and cybersecurity.

Research Focus

My research combines a social contextual constructivist view of knowledge and a social-cognitive psychology of human development within the domains of moral, self and intellectual development. I believe these domains are interconnected, and developed a model that I refer to as the Action-Judgment-Awareness model. The model consists of three dynamically related components: Action--the real life choices and experiences of persons; Judgment--the cognitive perspective or framework that people currently have and use, which includes personal epistemology, self development, and moral psychology; and Awareness--the metacognitive awareness of thoughts, strategies, experiences, and tasks. My primary research interest is the exploration of cognitive moral psychology, its structure and development, and the actions and decisions made in real life settings, including personal, interpersonal and professional decisions in the moral domain. I take a lifespan developmental approach to understanding social and psychological influences on cognition and action, with a particular emphasis on early adolescence through adulthood, with the ultimate goals of creating better, more comprehensive, explanatory, and inclusive theories, and understanding how individual lives and communities are improved through thoughtful action. I apply a model of action, judgment, awareness to understanding developmental change as well as to practical matters such as learning, self help, and protections of privacy and security in technological interfaces.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Private information is not only a source for marketing and business development, private information sharing plays a critical role in personal relationship building, and ease of social, economic and political interaction. While having advantages, there are also threats, including cyber threats such as online relational aggression, privacy breaches, and use of data used for unapproved or unspecified purposes. I am interested in improving awareness of information safety online.

Teaching Focus

My philosophy of teaching is grounded in the theoretical perspectives that permeate my research program: moral, intellectual, epistemological, social, and self development in context. These mutually intersecting areas form a dynamic interaction that creates opportunities and possibilities for positive growth and development. As humans, we have a natural or reflexive motive to make sense of the social and material world around us. I capitalize on this by employing epistemological developmental theories in my teaching approach and the engagement processes I construct for students to interact with knowledge and with each other. Students actively construct meaning from opportunities of engagement face to face and online, and in and out of the classroom. Their sense making, or meaning making, is influenced by several things: past experience, reflection on experience, reflection on what they know and do not know, and how they think about the nature of knowledge—including their own role in making and interpreting it. Factors such temperament, learning abilities, and learning challenges or disabilities play a role, as does access to the technical and material world. I believe learning and teaching is best done in an atmosphere of support and care, where people treat one another with fairness, consideration, and respect, and where all are conscious of the social and moral climate of their classroom, and listen to one anothers' perspectives and narratives. In that context, epistemological and intellectual challenge can best be introduced. The result is personal, ethical and intellectual growth and the stimulation of a love of, and appreciation for, their active role in the lifelong pursuit of self-directed, self-transformational learning. All learners need, and want, to be understood and appreciated as individuals, known in their diversity of life experience and history, and appreciated for how their own personhood evidences itself in their daily interactions with others and will evidence itself in their later professional conduct.
In sum, it is my goal in teaching to engage with the meaning-making structures of my students, to understand what they know and do not know, to help them draw from their experience in real life contexts to see parallels and analogies and instantiations of the social psychological and socio-technical interactive theories that I teach, and to do so in a moral climate of respect, care, challenge, and support.

Awards and Honors

  • Faculty Fellow (2018) Cornell University, Court Kay Bauer Residence

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Cognitive Moral Development. Moral Education: A Handbook Power, F. C., Nuzzi, R. J., Narvaez, D., Lapsley, D, & Hunt. T. C. (ed.), Praeger, New London, CT, USA.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Moral Development. Moral Education: A Handbook Power, F. C., Nuzzi, R. J., Narvaez, D., Lapsley, D, & Hunt. T. C. (ed.), Praeger, New London, CT, USA.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Moral Judgment. Moral Education: A Handbook Praeger, New London, CT, USA.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Teaching Moral Leadership: Becoming Moral Leaders and Being Moral Leadership. p. 227-248 Getting involved: Global citizenship development and sources of moral values Oser, F. & Veugelers, W (ed.), Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2006). Metacognitive reflection in university students. Human Development across the life span: Educational and psychological applications (2nd Edition) Mosher, R., Youngman, D. & Day, J. (ed.), Information Age Publishing LLC, Westport, CT.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2003). Moral metacognition in adolescence and adulthood. p. 301-327 Handbook of Adult Development Demick, J. & Andreoletti, C (ed.), Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Presentations and Activities

  • Incidental Therapy of Social Media Apps. Moral Education Toward A Caring Society: Civic Engagement And Moral Action. June 2018. Association for Moral Education. Barcelona, Spain.
  • The Future Of Humans In A Robotic World. Moral Education Toward A Caring Society: Civic Engagement And Moral Action. June 2018. Association for Moral Education. Barcelona, Spain.
  • Incorporating Zero-Knowledge Proofs in Privacy-Aware Systems. NSF SaTC PI Meeting 2015. January 2015. National Science Foundation. Arlington, VA.
  • Being in and helping out: Inclusion, Exclusion and Bystanding Behavior in Adolescent Girls. Annual Meeting of the Association for Moral Education. November 2014. Association for Moral Education. Pasadena, CA. .
  • Adolescents’ Views on Psychological aggression in dating relationships. Society for Research on Adolescence . March 2014. Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting. Austin, TX.
  • Adolescent girls’ considerations when deciding whether or not to upstand. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Balancing moral challenges and opportunities under surveillance: Liberty, autonomy and civic responsibility. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Cliques and popularity influences on upstanding and bystanding behavior. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Workshop in students’ emersion in moral/civic education and development research. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Risky Business: A Study on User Awareness and Valuation of Cellular Privacy Risks. ACM Mobile HCI. August 2013. ACM Mobile HCI. Munich, Germany.