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Mathien, Tara

Clinical Assistant Professor
Unified Early Childhood Program
School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies

College of Education
University of Florida
1345L Norman Hall
PO Box 117050
Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: 352-273-4285
Fax: 352-392-2655

Research Biography

Dr. Mathien is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and affiliate of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Florida. She also serves as Unified Early Childhood Program Coordinator for the college’s department of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies (SESPECS). She has an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership from Northern Illinois University. Her specific research interests include early childhood education teacher preparation, mentoring, field experiences, career commitment, and retention. Other research interests include comparative education and international models of early childhood pedagogy. In addition to her work at the University of Florida, she serves as program advisor for KiddieLand Bilingual Child Care Program in Zurich, Switzerland http://www.kiddieland.ch/team/.

Dr. Mathien has experience working with a variety of early childhood programs and statewide initiatives (in Florida, Illinois, and Switzerland) to provide training and technical assistance surrounding developmentally appropriate practice, emergent curriculum models, classroom environments, and program administration practices. Previously, she served as Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Harper College in Illinois. Before coming to the University of Florida, she served on various Illinois statewide committees, including Workforce Development and Path, Illinois Articulation Initiative Panel, and the Professional Developmental Advisory Committee.

Dr. Mathien serves as a representative of the University of Florida’s College of Education’s Curriculum Committee. Dr. Mathien is a regular presenter for multiple early childhood conferences and workshops, including Illinois Gateways to Opportunity Higher Ed Forum and American Association for Teaching and Curriculum. She was a certified teacher in Illinois and worked as an early childhood education teacher in Chicago. She has also taught in a diverse range of school settings outside of the Chicago area, including Head Start, a charter school, and private schools. Dr. Mathien is the co-author of journal articles and a book chapter, and is an active presenter at both local and national/international conferences focusing on early childhood education as well as teacher preparation.


Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership, 2016
Northern Illinois University

M.S. in Child Development and Administration, 2007
Erikson Institute

B.A. in Early Childhood Education, 2003
Illinois State University

Key Professional Appointments

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida, 2017 – Present

Coordinator, Unified Early Childhood Program, University of Florida, 2017 – Present

Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Early Childhood Education Department, Harper College, 2007 – 2017

Activities and Honors

Service Positions

Curriculum committee representative, University of Florida, 2017 – present

Vice chair of Student Success Policy Council, Harper College, 2014 – 2017

Faculty senator, Harper College, 2013 – 2017


Co-Leader – High/Scope Curriculum Change Continuation Project, Harper College Resources for Excellence Grant, 2016

Co-Leader – High/Scope Curriculum Change Project, Harper College Resources for Excellence Grant, 2015 – 2016

Co-Leader – Early Childhood Partnership Innovation Grant, Roosevelt University and Harold Washington College, 2014 – 2016

Selected Publications

Flynn, J., James, R., Mathien, T., Mitchell, P., & Whalen, S. (2017). The overlooked context: Pedagogies for engagement and empowerment at the community college. Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 19(1).

Mathien, T., Nepstad, C., Potenza, A., & Kim, J. (2016). Building on trust: How three institutions came together to create an innovative partnership for student transfer. In S. Bernoteit, J. Darragh-Ernst, & N. Latham (Eds.), Voices from the field: Collaborative innovations in early childhood educator preparation (pp. 103-121). Edwardsville, IL: Illinois Education Research Council and Illinois Board of Higher Education.