Melissa Dodson is a principal researcher at AIR. She has more than 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and reporting evaluation studies of national, statewide, and local educational interventions and initiatives. Dr. Dodson’s expertise is focused on evaluations in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), teacher education, teacher quality, organizational change, evaluation capacity building, and the scale-up and replication of educational programs. Currently, Dr. Dodson is the deputy director and Task 3 lead of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) in the Southwest region. In this project and others, she provides overall leadership for several evaluation technical assistance projects including analytic technical support and fast response studies for the REL Southwest; research and evaluation technical assistance projects for the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers; and the evaluation of Denver Public Schools' Educator Effectiveness System.
Dr. Dodson’s portfolio of work concentrates on STEM evaluation projects including the Lunar Planetary Institute’s MyMoon project funded by NASA; the evaluation of Girlstart, an afterschool program targeting girls in STEM disciplines; the evaluation of the Mathworks Math Explorations curriculum; and a planning grant to develop rigorous research designs for evaluating the UTeach STEM teacher preparation program. Prior to joining SEDL management (SEDL merged with AIR in 2015), Dr. Dodson was manager of program replication and evaluation for the UTeach Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, a center that supports the scale-up of UTeach at numerous universities across the nation. In this role, she designed and implemented plans and processes for collecting data and assessing fidelity of implementation of the program at each site.
Dr. Dodson served as a select panel member of the Evaluation and Redesign of University Teacher Educator Programs for the Louisiana Board of Regents. She is also a recipient of the Rogers L. Barton Award (2005), which is the SEDL Presidential Award for outstanding contributions to education research.