Jessica V. Barnes-Najor, Ph.D., is the director for Community Partnerships, Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship, Michigan State University. She is a developmental psychologist with a specialization in applied developmental science. Her work focuses on establishing research partnerships and identifying supports for increasing community capacity for engaging in research.
Barnes-Najor is a co-PI for the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center, partnering with American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start, Home Visitation, and Child Care grantees to promote community-engaged research and enhance early childhood program evaluation and research-to-practice activities across the nation. She is also a co-PI of Wiba Anung, a research collaborative including educators from Bay Mills Community College and community partners representing nine Michigan tribes. Through Wiba Anung, Barnes-Najor has developed approaches for conducting culturally sensitive research in collaboration with American Indian and Alaska Native early childhood education programs. She has established a research program with the tribal Head Start centers and home visitation programs in Michigan that includes the use of methodology to assess child outcomes, family characteristics, and classroom quality.
Barnes-Najor was also involved in the development of and training for a framework for incorporating American Indian and Alaska Native language and culture into evidence-based curricula for Head Start programs (“Making it Work!”). She extended this work by supporting a Home Visitation grantee’s efforts to build a home visiting curriculum using the “Making it Work!” framework.
Research and professional interests:
- Social, emotional, and cognitive development in preschool aged children
- Programs that promote positive development for children from diverse backgrounds
- Research partnerships with American Indian and Alaska Native early childhood programs
- Integrating community based participatory research with systems modeling
- Contextual models of human development
Fisher, S., Zapolski, T., Sheehan, C., & Barnes-Najor, J. (2017). Pathway of protection: Ethnic identity, self-esteem, and substance use among multiracial youth. Addictive Behaviors. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.03.003
Zapolski, T., Fisher, S., Hsu, W. W., & Barnes-Najor, J. (2016). What can parents do? Examining the role of parental support on the negative relationship between racial discrimination, depression, and drug use among African American youth. Clinical Psychological Science.
Barnes-Najor, J., Thompson, N., Belleau, A., Smith, T., Verdugo, M., Brown, P., & Sarche, M. (2016). Cultural and practice perspectives on the classroom assessment scoring system: Voices from American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start programs. Manuscript submitted for publication, Journal of Research in Childhood Education.
Fisher, S., Middleton, K., Ricks, E., Malone, C., Briggs, C., Barnes, J. (2015). Not just black and white: Peer victimization and the intersectionality of school diversity and race. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, (44)6, 1241-1250.
McNall, M. A., Brown, R. E., Barnes-Najor, J. V., Doberneck, D. M., & Fitzgerald, H. E. (2015). Systemic engagement: Universities as partners in systemic approaches to community change. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 19(1), 7-32.
Using engaged scholarship and developmental systems framework to move forward AI/AN early childhood development research
Barnes-Najor, J. V., Lee, K., Cameron, A., & Fitzgerald, H. E. (2017, April 6-8). Using engaged scholarship and developmental systems framework to move forward AI/AN early childhood developmental research. In R. McCall (Chair), Developmental science, community engagement scholarship, and systemic engagement. Symposium conducted at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX.
Tribal participatory research on a national scale: The story of the first national study of American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start
Malone, L., Barnes-Najor, J. V., & Sarche, M. (2017, March 1-2). Tribal participatory research on a national scale: The story of the first national study of American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start. Roundtable discussion at the Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Consortium, Washington, D.C.
Cultural and practice perspectives on the classroom assessment scoring system: Voices from American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start programs
Barnes-Najor, J. V., Thompson, N., Belleau, A., Smith, T., Verdugo, M., Brown, P., & Sarche, M.
Poster symposium at the National Research Conference on Early Childhood