Frank Manis, a Professor of Psychology, received his Ph.D. in 1981 in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and his B.A. in 1975 from Pomona College. He has been engaged in teaching and research at USC since 1981. He is a specialist in learning disabilities in children and adults, and has conducted research on the cognitive bases of dyslexia in children and adults. In an ongoing project in the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, Frank is working with faculty colleagues, three graduate students and one undergraduate student to study the process of word recognition in the brains of individuals with and without a history of dyslexia, utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques. His other main research focus concerns the development of literacy in children learning English as a second language. His work has been supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for the past 20 years. He is finishing up a five-year term as editor of the journal Scientific Studies of Reading.
He has taught child development at the graduate and undergraduate levels for 26 years. He received an Innovative Teaching Award in 2003 that led to the development of an interactive website called “Virtual Child”, due to be published this fall. On the website, students are able to experience the dynamic interplay of genes, brain development and the social environment as they take on the role of a parent raising a child from birth to 18 years of age. Although the website is undeniably learner-centered, Frank has developed some novel writing assignments and classroom activities just to make sure that the whole experience is learning-centered!
As a Faculty Fellow, Frank’s interests are in promoting the use of internet technology and classroom interactions designed to facilitate student engagement in learning. He is looking forward to working with colleagues on methods of assessing the impact of innovative teaching methods at USC. He is also interested in supporting CET’s efforts to educate the next generation of professors and teachers, including the exploration of ways to provide graduate students with more hands-on teaching experience.