Middleton, James
Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Email: JAMES.MIDDLETON@asu.edu
Phone: (480)965-1233
Office: ERC 381 (Map)


James A. Middleton is Professor of Engineering Education and Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology at Arizona State University.  Prior to these appointments, Dr. Middleton served as Associate Dean for Research for the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University for 3 years, and as Director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction for another 3 years plus.  He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, where he also served in the National Center for Research on Mathematical Sciences Education as a postdoctoral scholar for 3 years.

Jim’s research interests focus in the following areas where he has published extensively: Children’s mathematical thinking; Teacher and Student motivation in mathematics; and Teacher Change in mathematics.  He is currently developing methodologies for utilizing the engineering design process to improve learning environments in Science, Engineering and Mathematics. He has also written on effective uses of educational technology in mathematics and science education as a natural outgrowth of these interests.  To fund his research, Jim has garnered over $20 million in grants to study and improve mathematics education in urban schools.  He just finished a $1.8 million research grant to model the longitudinal development of fractions, rational number and proportional reasoning knowledge and skills in middle school students, and is currently engaged in a project studying the sustainability of changes in urban elementary teachers’ mathematics practices. All of his work has been conducted in collaborative partnerships with diverse, economically challenged, urban schools. This relationship has resulted in a significant (positive) impact on the direction that partner districts have taken, including a significant increase in mathematics achievement in the face of a rising poverty rate.

Dr. Middleton just finished a term as Senior co-Chair of the Special Interest Group for Mathematics Education in the American Educational Research Association. Previously he served for three years on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research Committee, chairing that committee in 2006. He has served on several task forces for the NCTM, is a regular reviewer for the NSF and the Department of Education, and serves on the Boards of several regional and national-level research centers.  He has been a consultant for the Rand Corporation, the National Academies, the American Statistical Association, the IEEE, and numerous school systems around the country.


Ph.D.   University of Wisconsin, Madison (1990-1992)
Major:  Educational Psychology  (Human Learning, Statistics)
Minor: Curriculum and Instruction  (Mathematics Education)

M.S.    University of Wisconsin, Madison (1988-1990)
Major:  Educational Psychology

Other Graduate Work:
California State University, Chico (1987-88)

B.A.    California State University, Chico, (1984-1987)
Honors in Psychology

Research Interests

Student learning of mathematical concepts; motivation and mathematics learning; application of technology to mathematics teaching and learning.

Graduate Faculties

  • Curriculum & Instruction (Engineering Education),
  • Aerospace Engineering,
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Curriculum & Instruction (Mathematics Education)
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics Education
  • Educational Technology,
  • Applied Mathematics for the Life & Social Sciences

Honors and Awards

  • Fulbright Senior Scholar. 2007 – ongoing.
  • National Science Foundation/Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Fellow.  Technology Supported Education Workshops.  2003-2004.
  • Arizona State University Leadership Academy.  2002-2003
  • Wakonse Fellow.  Awarded for Excellence in Teaching.  2002
  • President’s Award for Team Excellence.  Awarded for the Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers.  With Distinction, Arizona State University, 2001.
  • Enhanced Administrative Research Services Member, ASU.  Awarded to the top faculty in procurement of external funds at Arizona State University.  2000-2009.
  • Nominee, Arizona State University Alumni Association Research Award, 1999-2000.
  • Nominee, University of Wisconsin College of Education Outstanding Graduate, 1990-2000.
  • Nominee, University of Wisconsin College of Education Outstanding Graduate, 2000-2001.
  • College of Education Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Arizona State University  1997