College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct. - Dec. 2010 > Murphy Named Eberly Faculty Fellow

Murphy Named Eberly Faculty Fellow

P. Karen Murphy, professor of educational psychology, has been named recipient of the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education in Penn State's College of Education.

by David Price (October 2010)

murphy_sml_cp.jpgUniversity Park, Pa. -- P. Karen Murphy, professor of educational psychology, has been named recipient of the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellowship in Education in Penn State's College of Education.

The Eberly Faculty Fellowship provides supplementary funds to an outstanding member of the College of Education to assist the holder in teaching, research, and public service. Murphy's expertise lies in the area of educational psychology, and she is actively pursuing interests in factors contributing to learning in general and reading comprehension in particular.

"Dr. Murphy richly deserves recognition as the Eberly Faculty Fellow," says David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. "She is an accomplished scholar with a lively intellect who is always pushing the envelope on the frontiers of knowledge. Her interests have evolved in some very promising directions recently as she pursued a faculty fellowship with Penn State's Children, Youth, and Families Consortium, and I am very pleased to name Dr. Murphy as the Eberly Faculty Fellow in the College of Education for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2011."

Murphy joined the College of Education faculty in 2002. She earned her bachelor of science degree in animal science and her master's degree in agricultural education from Texas A&M University. She then earned her Ph.D. in human development (educational psychology) at The University Maryland. Prior to coming to Penn State, Murphy was on the faculty of The Ohio State University.

“I am honored to be the recipient of the Eberly Faculty Fellowship,” Murphy says, “and I plan on taking full advantage of this exceptional opportunity to ‘push the envelope’ about human learning and development through my work.” Murphy went on to say that she initially came to educational psychology with the intention of making a difference in the lives of students and teachers. “I wanted to look critically into classrooms and into the minds of those who populate those classrooms to understand not only what is but also what could be. And the past 12 years have only served to deepen my commitment and increase my passion for the research, teaching, and service that I do.”

Murphy's research focuses on the role of students’ knowledge and beliefs in the comprehension of oral and written language—specifically, the investigation of processes underlying students’ abilities to read and understand a text, to critically examine and evaluate the information presented, and to make reasoned judgments as a result of reading. Her ongoing projects pertain to the role of knowledge and beliefs in teaching and learning, promoting high-level comprehension through classroom discussion, student processing of intertextual refutation, and the use of biobehaviorial indices in educational research.

The Eberly Faculty Fellowship is one of five faculty endowments in the College of Education. The other four are the Kenneth B. Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education; the Henry J. Hermanowicz Professorship in Education; the Gilbert and Donna Kahn Professorship in Education in Recognition of David H. Monk and Graham B. Spanier; and the Harry Lawrence Batschelet, II, Chair of Educational Administration.