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Cara Meixner, Ph.D.

meixnecx@jmu.edu
Contact Info

Courses Taught

PYSC 600: Introduction to Measurement and Statistics
PYSC 840: Mixed Methods in Qualitative Research

Education

B.S. - James Madison University
M.A. - University of Maryland
Ph. D. - Antioch University

Biography

Cara serves as Assistant Director of the Center for Faculty Innovation where she oversees pedagogical development initiatives such as jmUDESIGN, Faculty Workshop Series, Madison Teaching Fellows, Faculty Voices of Experience, and more. In addition, Cara is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Graduate Psychology; she is passionate about guiding masters and doctoral-level learners toward the discovery and application of intellect (head) and empathy (heart) to the resolution of complex social science enigmas. An intrepid "Double Duke", Cara takes tremendous pride in advancing many forms of innovation and creativity on behalf of her alma mater.

Cara is passionate about community-based research, integrative learning, and learner-centered teaching. She has taught small and large courses in leadership and organizational development; at present, she teaches graduate seminars in design and methods. Her philosophy on teaching is largely inspired by an array of great texts, namely the Tao te Ching and The Journey to the East, among others. She believes teaching is an egoless extension of one's core beliefs and values; in the classroom, Cara fosters an environment within which learners share responsibility for course material and even the most esoteric topics are applied to contemporary quandaries. 

Cara received her degrees from James Madison University (BS), University of Maryland (MA), and Antioch University (PhD). In her free time, you will find Cara travelling with her family; enjoying the many adventures offered by the spectacular Shenandoah Valley; reading an obscure novel; or running (see www.whywomenrun.com), hiking, swimming, or yoga.

Current Research Interests

Brain Injury Survivor Advocacy
Cara's expansive background in leadership and community development prompted her pursuit of an advocacy-based research agenda for survivors of acquired brain injury. She is co-principal investigator of a three-year grant funded by the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund that investigates barriers to accessing crisis intervention services, with focus on the experience of survivors with mental health and substance abuse co-morbidities. To date, this work has been presented and published through multiple refereed venues such as the World Congress on Brain Injury, the Federal Interagency Conference on Brain Injury, the North American Brain Injury Society, Brain Injury, and the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Most critically, this body of inquiry has contributed to the development of noteworthy changes and advocacy initiatives, locally and regionally.

Higher Education (Pedagogy and Change)
In addition to her scholarship on head trauma, Cara has presented and authored on topics related to pedagogy, leadership development, service-learning, and organizational change. With her colleagues in the CFI, Cara is researching the construct of holistic faculty development. Recent contributions include a co-authored chapter, Powerful Pedagogies; a mixed methods study on the experience of part-time faculty (College Teaching), and an exploratory, autoethnographic encounter in teaching Herman Hesse to first-year students (Journal of Leadership Studies).

Select Publications

Meixner, C., & Rosch, D. (2011). Powerful Pedagogies. In S.R. Komives, J.P. Dugan, J.E. Owen, C. Slack, W. Wagner & Associates (Eds.), The handbook for student leadership development (2nd ed.)(pp.307-337). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Meixner, C., Kruck, S.E., & Madden, L. (2010) Inclusion of part-time faculty for the benefits of faculty and students. College Teaching, 58(4), 141-147.

Meixner, C. (2010). Reconciling self, servant leadership, and learning: 
The Journey to the East as locus for reflection and transformation. Journal of Leadership Studies, 3(4), 81-85.

O'Donoghue, C., Meixner, C., Witt, M., Hegyi, S., & Bowman, E. (2010). Community-based crisis intervention in acquired brain injury: A Virginia Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative [Abstract]. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 25(5). 394-395.

O'Donoghue, C., Meixner, C., Witt, M., & Bowman, E. (2010). Community-based crisis intervention in acquired brain injury: Developin g a model for response [Abstract]. Brain Injury, 24(3). 
114-115.

Meixner, C. & Hickam, B. (2008). Transforming leadership: Film as a vehicle for social change. Journal of Leadership Education, 7(2), 41-47.

Grants

  • July 2014

    Dr. Cynthia R. O’Donoghue (Head and Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders) and Dr. Cara Meixner (Assistant Professor, Graduate Psychology; Assistant Director, Center for Faculty Innovation) received $5,103 from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services to update the white paper to create an authoritative reference document on statewide needs and costs related to the behavioral health treatment for persons with brain injury; to evaluate systems options and alternatives; to assist policymakers and service providers to understand clearly the issues; and to provide a sound basis for decision making related to future policy initiatives.

  • May 2014

    Dr. Cynthia R. O’Donoghue (Head and Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders) and Dr. Cara Meixner (Assistant Professor, Graduate Psychology; Assistant Director, Center for Faculty Innovation) received $119,897 from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services for “Update to Access to Neurobehavior Services in Virginia White Paper” to update the white paper to create an authoritative reference document on statewide needs and costs related to the behavioral health treatment for persons with brain injury, to evaluate systems options and alternatives, to assist policymakers and service providers to clearly understand the issues and to provide a sound basis for decision making related to future policy initiatives.