Tara Mathien

Tara Mathien 

Clinical Assistant Professor

Tara Mathien





PO Box 117050
Gainesville, FL 32611



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.


  • School of Special Education School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies

Research Interests

Community College, Early Childhood, Field Experience, International Education, Mentorship, Primary / Elementary, Professional Development, Teacher Education, Teaching and Licensure


  • 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

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

  • 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

Selected Grants

High/Scope Curriculum Change Continuation Project,

Funding Agency
  • Harper College Resources for Excellence Grant
Project Period
  • 2015-2016

Co-Leader - Early Childhood Partnership Innovation Grant

Funding Agency
  • Roosevelt University and Harold Washington College
Project Period
  • 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.