A former middle-school teacher, Dr. Alexander received her reading specialist degree from James Madison University in 1979 and her Ph.D. in reading from the University of Maryland in 1981. Her research focuses on literacy and reading comprehension, learning and academic development, critical and relational reasoning, epistemic beliefs, and expertise. After completing her Ph.D., she joined the faculty at Texas A&M University before returning to UMD as a professor in 1995. Her honors include the Oscar S. Causey Award for outstanding contributions to literacy research from the National Reading Conference (2001), the E. L. Thorndike Award for Career Achievement in Educational Psychology from APA Division 15 (2006), and the Sylvia Scribner Career Award from AERA Division C (2007). She has also received university-level honors for both her teaching and her research.
Recently named as one of the most influential educational psychologists of the past decade (Patterson-Hazly & Kiewra, 2012), Dr. Alexander has served as President of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the APA, Vice-President of Division C (Learning and Instruction) of AERA, and Past-President of the Southwest Educational Research Association. Since receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Alexander has published over 270 articles, books, or chapters in the area of learning and instruction. She has also presented over 400 invited addresses or papers at national and international conferences. She currently serves as the senior editor of Contemporary Educational Psychology, was past editor of Instructional Science and Associate Editor of American Educational Research Journal-Teaching, Learning, and Human Development, and presently serves on over 10 editorial boards including those for Learning and Instruction, Educational Psychologist, and the Journal of Educational Psychology.