Skip to main content Skip to footer content



Jason VanOra


Behavioral Sciences

Jason VanOra is a Social/Personality Psychologist and Professor of Psychology. His research addresses the ways in which narratives can be used to reveal both individual and collective struggles, resiliency, identity, and “wisdoms” among persons living within conditions of both marginalization and hope. One focus of Jason's research concerns the life stories of community college students and their attempts to transcend those structural barriers impeding their persistence in college. Additional research projects concern the impact of various pedagogical innovations (multi-disciplinary learning communities, immediate feedback technology, and “civically engaged” psychology classes) on students’ mastery of course content and sense of belonging within community college


Introduction to Psychology

Social Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

Study of Lives (at the CUNY Graduate Center)

Second Year Research Seminar (at the CUNY Graduate Center)


City University of New York Graduate Center
Ph.D. degree: Psychology (Social-Personality)

New York, NY

City University of New York Graduate Center
M. Phil. degree: Psychology (Social-Personality)

New York, NY

Hunter College, City University of New York
M.A. degree: General Psychology

New York, NY

State University of New York-Purchase College
B.A. degree: Psychology

Summa Cum Laude

Purchase, NY

College Teaching

Kingsborough Community College (2008-present)

CUNY Graduate Center (Fall 2013-present)

New York City College of Technology (2004-2006)

Selected Publications and/or Other Resources

VanOra, J. (2014). Desperate to Achieve: Understanding the Lives, Struggles, and Identities of Community College Students Assigned to Developmental Classes. New York: AMS Press.


VanOra, J. & Schnee, E. (2022). Disappearing in Plain Sight: Developmental Education, Distance Learning, and the COVID-19 Pandemic. In R. Kim, G.M. Cho, & R. McGinty (Eds.) Children of the People: Writings By and About CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice (pp. 273-296). Lewes, DE: DIO Press.

VanOra, J. (2019). “It’s like one step for me to go forward”: A longitudinal study of community college students’ perceptions on the value of developmental education. Community College Enterprise, 25 (1), 59-76.

VanOra, J. (2019). The impact of learning communities on the experiences of developmental students in community college: A qualitative study. Learning Communities Research and Practice, 7(1), 1-22.

VanOra, J. (2019). “I wanted to know more”: A narrative exploration of community college students’ goals and aspirations. The Qualitative Report, 24 (5), 1168-1180. Available at

VanOra, J. (2016). "What does this have to do with psychology?”: Challenges and possibilities of civic engagement in Introduction to Psychology. In E. Schnee, A. Better, and M. C. Cumming’s (Eds.) Civic Engagement Pedagogy in the Community College: Theory and Practice (pp. 95-113). New York: Springer Publishers.

Symister, P., VanOra, J., Griffin, K., & Troy, D. (2014). Clicking in the community college classroom: Assessing the effectiveness of clickers on student learning in a General Psychology Course. Community College Enterprise, 20, 10-24.

McCormack, T., Schnee, E., & VanOra, J. (2014). Researching up: Triangulating qualitative research to influence the public debate of “on time” college graduation. Teachers College Record, 116 (4), 1-35.

Schnee, E. & VanOra, J. (2012). Student incivility: An engagement or compliance model? MountainRise International Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7, 1-19.

VanOra, J. (2012). The experience of community college for developmental students: Challenges and motivations. Community College Enterprise, 18, 22-36.

VanOra, J., & Ouellette, S. (2009). Beyond single identity and pathology: Revealing coherent multiple selves and transformative activism in the narratives of two transgender women. International Review of Qualitative Research, 2, 89-115.

Wells, B.E., Bimbi, D.S., Tider, D., VanOra, J., & Parsons, J.T. (2006). Preventive health behaviors among lesbian and bisexually identified women. Women and Health, 44, 1-13.

Parsons, J.T., VanOra, J., Missildine, W., Purcell, D.W., & Gomez, C.A. (2004). Positive and negative consequences of serostatus disclosure among seropositive injection drug users. AIDS Education and Prevention, 16, 459-475.

Parsons, J.T., Missildine, W., VanOra, J., Purcell, D.W., & Gomez, C.A. (2004). HIV serostatus disclosure to sexual partners among HIV-Positive injection drug users. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 18, 457-469.


VanOra, J. (2019). It Makes Learning Easier: A Qualitative Study of How Developmental Readers and Writers Experience a First-semester Learning Community Program. Paper presented at the 2019 Faculty Forum, Kingsborough Community College.

VanOra, J. (2018). Safety, Inclusion, and Discrimination at Kingsborough Community College. Paper presented at the Spring 2018 Women’s and Gender Studies and Safe Zone Campus-Wide Workshop, Kingsborough Community College.

Hill, G., Rozenboym, A., Schultz, D., & VanOra, J. (2014). What Does It Mean to Do Discipline Specific Engagement? Paper presented at the Fall 2014 Brooklyn Public Scholars Faculty Forum, Kingsborough Community College.

VanOra, J. (2014). Using Qualitative Research on Students’ Identities to Influence Public Policy Debate on Literacy, Educational Standards, and Access to College. Paper presented at the Fall 2014 School of Natural and Social Sciences Lecture Series, Purchase College, NY.

VanOra, J. (2014). Moral exclusion in higher education: What can community college students teach us? Paper presented on the panel, “From Exclusion to Inclusion: Empirical Work on Widening the Scope of Justice” at the International Society for Justice Research (ISJR) Biennial Conference, New York, NY.

Symister, P. & VanOra, J. (2014). Clicking in the Community College Classroom: Assessing the Effectiveness of Clickers on Student Learning in a General Psychology Course. Paper presented at the 2014 Spring Faculty Forum, Kingsborough Community College.

Hill, G., VanOra, J., Rozenboym, A., & Leggett, J. (2013). Integrating Civic Engagement into Learning Communities. Panel presented at the Atlantic Center for Learning Communities, Fall 2013, West Hartford, CT.

VanOra, J. (2013). Doing Narrative Analysis. Guest Lecture Presented at the New School for Public Engagement, Fall 2013, New York, NY.

Better, A., Walters, B., and VanOra, J. (2012). ESL and Learning Communities at Kingsborough Community College. Panel presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Spring 2012, New York, NY.

Schnee, E., McCormack, T., & VanOra, J. (2009). Writing our way in: Composition research and the public debate on literacy. Paper presented at the College Composition and Communications Conference (CCCC), March 2009, San Francisco, CA.

Hirsch, L. & VanOra, J. (2008). Multiple measures to assess WAC effectiveness: What have we learned? Paper presented at the 2008 International WAC conference, May 2008, Austin, TX.

Research Interests

Personal and social constructions of identity

Life histories, selves, and persistence based struggles of community college students

Narrative construction of (trans)gender selves

Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants

Spring 2022-Present: Appointment to the Doctoral Faculty in Social Welfare, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Fall 2016: Recipient of Faculty Fellowship Leave Award, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2015-Present: Appointment to the Doctoral Faculty in Critical Social-Personality Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY.​

Fall 2012-Spring 2013: Recipient of KCC President´s Faculty Innovation Award, Project: The Impact of Immediate Feedback Technology on Community College Students´ Learning and Engagement.

Fall 2012-Spring 2014: Participant, Brooklyn Public Scholars Consortium for Civic Engagement in the Community College Classroom.

Fall 2010-Spring 2011: Recipient of KCC President’s Faculty Innovation Award, Project: The Impact of Learning Communities on First-Semester Developmental Students.

Fall 2006- Spring 2008: Recipient of CUNY Writing Fellowship.

Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies

Summer 2023- Present: Faculty Coordinator, Liberal Arts Program, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2021-Present: Faculty Scholarship Circle Coordinator, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2020-Present: Co-founder and Committee Member, Qualitative Methods Concentration in Psychology and Social Welfare, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Fall 2019-Present: Bridges Summer Research Program for Community College Students, Professional and Career Development Facilitator, Purchase College, SUNY.

Spring 2017-Spring 2022: Co-coodinator of Kingsborough's Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Program.

Fall 2019-Spring 2020: Chairperson, Faculty and Student Disciplinary Committee and Title IX sub-committee, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2018-Spring 2019: External Evaluator, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Hostos Community College.

Fall 2018-Spring 2019: Committee Member, Academic Master Planning (AMP) Committee, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2018: Search Committee Member, Chief Diversity Officer, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2017-Spring 2020: Coordinator of College Now Program in Behavioral Sciences, Kingsborough Community College.

Fall 2017-Spring 2019: Admissions Committee, Critical Social/Personality Psychology Doctoral Program, CUNY Graduate Center. (Co-chair, Fall 2017-Spring 2018, with Dr. Katie Cumiskey).

Fall 2017-Present: Mentor and Advisor for CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNY B.A.) Program.

Fall 2015-Spring 2020: Co-facilitator of LGBTQ Safe Zone Training Program, Kingsborough Community College.

Spring 2013-Present: Member of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP)

Fall 2013: Co-chair, with Dr. Michelle Fine, of the inaugural conference for the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP).

​Spring 2010 - Spring 2015: American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Summer 2008-Present: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)

Summer 2008-Summer 2009: “Early Career Scholars” Committee at SPSSI