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Brett D. Jones

Brett Jones, Professor

Alicia Johnson
Brett D. Jones, Professor

School of Education
Public Safety Building, Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-8328  |


Brett D. Jones, Ph.D., is a professor in the Educational Psychology program within the School of Education at Virginia Tech. He received his B.A.E. (1992) in Architectural Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. (1999) in Educational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has held faculty positions as an educational psychologist at Duke University, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), and Virginia Tech, and has taught courses as an adjunct professor at the University of the Virgin Islands and North Carolina Central University. He has taught 24 different types of courses related to motivation, cognition, and teaching strategies, and has conducted workshops and invited presentations at several universities. His teaching awards include the Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Education at USFSP (2003), the university-wide Undergraduate Teaching Award at USFSP (2003-2004), and the Favorite Faculty award (2007) and the Teacher of the Week award (2013) at Virginia Tech.

As an educational psychologist and motivation scientist, Dr. Jones’ research includes investigating how students’ beliefs impact their motivation, and examining methods instructors can use to design instructional environments that support students’ motivation and learning. He has received more than $2 million from the National Science Foundation to conduct his research and has published more than 80 articles, books, and book chapters. He has also contributed to the field by conducting more than 110 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. For his research, Dr. Jones received the North Carolina Association for Research in Education’s Distinguished Paper Award (2000); the Scholar of the Week recognition at Virginia Tech (2009); the Best Paper Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, K-12 Engineering Division (2010); and the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award (2010-2011). He was inducted into the East Stroudsburg Area School District Meritorious Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dr. Jones’ email is and his website is

Click to watch the following video featuring Dr. Jones and some of his students.

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  • Motivating students
  • Designing effective learning environments
  • Students’ academic identification
  • Student engagement
  • PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Received the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award
  • Received the Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week Award


Jones, B. D. (2018). Motivating students by design: Practical strategies for professors (2nd ed.). Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

Jones, M. G., Jones, B. D., & Hargrove, T. Y. (2003). The Unintended Consequences of High-stakes Testing. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


Ormrod, J. E., & Jones, B. D. (2018). Essentials of Educational Psychology: Big Ideas To Guide Effective Teaching 5th ed. Boston: Pearson.


Jones, B. D., Byrnes, M. K., & Jones, M. W. (2019). Validation of the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory: Evidence for use with veterinary medicine studentsFrontiers in Veterinary Science, 6(11), 1-9. doi:10.3389/fvets.2019.00011

Chittum, J. R., Jones, B. D., & Carter, D. M. (2019). A person-centered investigation of patterns in college students’ perceptions of motivation in a course. Learning and Individual Differences, 69, 94-107. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2018.11.007

Chittum, J., Jones, B. D. (2017). Identifying pre-high school students’ science class motivation profiles to increase their science identification and persistence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(8), 1163-1187. doi:10.1037/edu0000176

Jones, B. D., Sahbaz, S., Schram, A. B., & Chittum, J. R. (2017). Using psychological constructs from the MUSIC Model of Motivation to predict students’ science identification and career goals: Results from the U.S. and Iceland. International Journal of Science Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/09500693.2017.1319093

Jones, B. D., Li, M., & Cruz, J. M. (2017). A cross-cultural validation of the MUSIC ® Model of Academic Motivation Inventory: Evidence from Chinese- and Spanish-speaking university students. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 6(1), 366-385. doi:10.17583/ijep.2017.2357.

Jones, B. D. (2009). Motivating students to engage in learning: The MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 21(2), 272-285.

Evans, M. A. (PI, 40%), Jones, B. D. (Co-PI, 30%), & Brandt, C. (Co-PI, 30%). (August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2015; NSF Award #DRL-1029756). Studio STEM: Engaging Middle School Students in Networked Science and Engineering Projects. National Science Foundation, ITEST, $1,053,754..

Paretti, M. (PI, 20%), Jones, B. D. (Co-PI, 20%), Matusovich, H. (Co-PI, 20%), Williams, C. (Co-PI, 17%), Knot, M. (Co-PI, 17%), & Terpenny, J. (Co-PI, 6%). (November 1, 2009 to October 31, 2014; NSF Award #HRD-0936704). A Mixed-Methods Study of the Effects of First-Year Project Pedagogies on the Retention and Career Plans of Women in Engineering. National Science Foundation, GSE/RES, $492,637.

Setareh, M. (PI, 40%), Jones, B. D. (Co-PI, 25%), Polys, N. (Co-PI, 25%), & Ermann, M. (Co-PI, 10%). (August 15, 2008 to July 31, 2013; NSF Award #DUE-0817106). Integrating Web-Based Visualization with Structural System Understanding to Improve the Technical Education of Architects. National Science Foundation, $499,833.

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