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Nancy L. Leech

Professor, Research and Evaluation Methods

My story:

My interest in research started as an undergraduate psychology major at the University of Colorado Boulder. I worked as a research assistant for a number of professors, assisting them in various aspects of their research studies. After graduation, I worked full time as a counselor for battered women. After completing a master's degree in counseling, I entered into my doctoral studies with the intention of being a therapist. As I worked through my coursework, I realized I excelled in and enjoyed statistics and research. I also learned that my counseling background served me well in teaching research and statistics. During my doctoral studies, I worked as a research assistant and grant/program evaluator. From these experiences, I had three epiphanies: (a) retaining research and analysis techniques is difficult for many researchers, (b) for many students and faculty, research and analysis can be extremely frustrating, and (c) the ability to investigate and analyze research questions is imperative in order to increase scientific knowledge, thus, helping to make informed choices. These realizations have impacted my teaching as well as my research agenda.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

Using my experience and knowledge, I try to encourage my students to see topics through new "lenses." Many of my students view my classes and the topics as hurdles or requirements. This is very common in the courses I teach due to statistics and math anxiety. Thus, I show my students a new and exciting way to view the topic as well as actively and continuously applying the concepts to real world examples. Having students who are excited about learning creates an atmosphere that is conducive to success.

Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:

  • Introduction to Research Methods - REM 5120
  • Introduction to Measurement - REM 5110
  • Intermediate Statistics - REM 7110
  • Advanced Methods of Quantitative Inquiry and Measurement - REM 7120
  • Methods of Survey Research - REM 7050
  • Methods of Qualitative Inquiry - REM 6100
  • Advanced Methods of Qualitative Inquiry - REM 7100
  • Mixed Methods Research - REM 7150

My research interests:

  • Increase understanding of existing methods and techniques in research, analysis, and evaluation
  • Enhance teaching practices and materials. I want to transform perceptions of research methodologies so that researchers do not feel "boxed" in with specific traditions, methods, or analysis.
  • Utilize the methods about which I have been writing with empirical data

My hobbies:

In what free time I do have, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two boys.

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