Skip to main content


Photo of Jason Fitzgerald

Jason C. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction

Social Studies

Curriculum and Instruction
McAllan Hall 207
Office Hours
Wednesdays: 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. (online) or by email request (online)

Jason C. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

A scholar of civic thinking, Dr. Fitzgerald brings his years of social studies teaching experience to explorations of youth civic engagement. Widely published, he collaborates with schools in New York and New Jersey, training teachers to facilitate action civics and inquiry-based social studies practices in their classrooms. Drawing on his experiences as a middle school social studies teacher in the diverse communities of Montgomery County, Maryland, Dr. Fitzgerald’s research explores the ways in which social studies is taught to marginalized populations.

His civics-specific research interests have led him to the psychological studies of civic planning as an ill-structured problem category. With this work, he has helped to develop action civics curriculum for Generation Citizen, a national non-profit educational organization, and for young African Leaders as part of President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellows program, part of the Young African Leaders Initiative; he has been Co-PI on over $500,000 of grant money from the United States Department of State, managed by IREX.

Dr. Fitzgerald has used his research on historical and civic ways of thinking used when planning civic action to inform teacher professional development for teachers in local and national contexts. In his local and national professional development work, he compared these heuristics to the popular models of action civics and public policy analysis in order to provide teachers with nuanced ways of teaching civic practice to youth. He has also used this research to undergird civic leadership instruction for over 100 young African leaders, as part of the federal Mandela Washington Fellows program. This not only supported those leaders’ civic development, but some participants took the civic heuristic model home and used it to structure their own non-governmental organization work.

Additionally, Dr. Fitzgerald’s work with pre-service social studies teachers has enabled research-practice partnerships that serve to support civics instruction in middle and high school settings. He brought together undergraduate and high school students to collaborate on civic projects, incorporating this research into his social studies methods classes. This integration enabled students to establish their commitment to the NCSS C3 framework in their professional portfolios and in their teaching. Additionally, Dr. Fitzgerald helped synthesize civics education research to inform Ford Foundation funding directions. He has served on the Board of Directors for Generation Citizen and on the board of the New York State Council for the Social Studies.


Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

M.S., McDaniel College, Westminster, Md

Graduate Certificate in School Administration, McDaniel College, Westminster, Md.

B.A., McDaniel College, Westminster, Md.



  • Fitzgerald, J.C. & Schpakow, M. (in press). Mapping the way from teacher preparation to edTPA completion: A guide for secondary education candidates. Rutgers University Press.

Book Chapters:

  • Fitzgerald, J.C., Cohen, A.K., & Ferman, B. (2019). Preparing college students to facilitate action civics among K-12 students. Pineda-Alfonso, de Alba-Fernandez, and Navarro-Medina (Eds). Handbook of Research on Education for Participative Citizenship and Global Prosperity (Chapter 19). CGI Global: Hershey, PA.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2017). Relationships informing process: Reframing the foundation of civics education. Aloni, N. and Weintrob, L. (Eds). Beyond bystanders: Educational leadership for a humane culture in a globalizing world (89-101). Sense Publishers: New York, NY.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. & Mattix, A.A. (2014). Activity #17: Person Like Me. Cushner, K. and Dowdy J. (Eds.). From the margins toward the mainstream: Activities to enhance social justice awareness in social studies and the social foundations of education. Rowmann Littlefield Publishers: Lanham, MD.

Scholarly Articles

Blind, Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • Fitzgerald, Jason. 2020. “Civic Thinking and Public Policy Analysis: A Comparative Approach to Political Decision-Making.” Journal of International Social Studies 10(2): 12-36.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C., Cohen, A.K. Maker Castro, E. & Pope, A. (in press). A systematic review of the last decade of civic education research in the USA. Peabody Journal of Education. Forthcoming.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2019). Teaching the reasons why: An analysis of causation in history textbooks and historical primary source documents. Universal Journal of Educational Research. 7(4), 1027-1036. 
  • Cohen, A.K. & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2017). Measuring the relational aspects of civic engagement and action. Journal of International Social Studies. 7(2), 4-19.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2016). Pre-planning civic action: An analysis of civic leaders’ problem solving strategies. Journal of International Social Studies. 6(2), 58-83.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2014). An analysis of causal asyndetic constructions in United States history textbooks. Functional Linguistics. 1(5). doi:10.1186/2196-419X-1-5
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2012). “It doesn’t say:” Exploring students’ understanding of asyndetic constructions in history textbooks. Social Studies Research and Practice. 7(3). 
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2011). Remembering George Washington: What do instructional materials teach us about Washington’s patriotism. The Social Studies. 102(6), 242-248. 
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2009). Textbooks and primary source analysis. Social Studies Research and Practice, 4(3).

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • Love, A., Dietrich, A., Fitzgerald, J.C., & Gordon, D. (2014). Integrating collaborative learning in and out of the classroom. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. & Andes, S. (2013). Preparing active citizens: Exploring ethical issues of providing educative civic experiences for youths. Issues in Engaged Scholarship. 2, 5-14.

Presentations/Invited Talks


  • Cohen, A., Andes, S., Jennings, A., & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2016). “Expanding opportunities for diverse forms of civic participation in the classroom: Lessons from action civics.” Paper presented at the Association of Moral Education 2016 Conference, Cambridge, MA.
  • Cohen, A. and Fitzgerald, J.C. (2016). “Measuring the relational aspects of civic engagement and action.” Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. 
  • Maker, E., Cohen, A., Fitzgerald, J.C., Pope, A. (2015). “Effective civics education pedagogy and programs: A systematic review.” Paper to be presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C., Cohen A., Ferman, B. (2014). “Preparing college students to facilitate action civics among K-12 students.” Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C., Cohen A., Ferman B. (2013). “Structural and ethical considerations of preparing college students to mentor K-12 students in civic engagement.” Paper presented at the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) Annual Conference, Bryn Mawr, PA.
  • Andes, S., Fitzgerald, J.C., DeVito, J., Morton, P., Fuchs, A., Haskell, S. (2012). Ethical dilemmas in the engagement of college students, service recipients, and staff of diverse backgrounds: The value of similarities and differences. Symposium presentation at the New York Metro Area Partnership for Service-Learning Symposium (NYMAPS), New York, New York.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2010). ‘It doesn’t say’: Exploring seventh-grade students’ understanding of asyndetic constructions in history textbooks. Paper presented at the National Council for the Social Studies, College and University Faculty Assembly, Denver, Colorado.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. & Wieland, K.M. (2010). Snapshots in time: Capturing college-age readers’ word meaning construction, frame by frame. Poster presented at the American Educational Research Association, Denver, Colorado.
  • Wieland, K.M. & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2010). Palimpsests and pentimentos: Incremental word-meaning construction from context. Poster presented at the American Educational Research Association, Denver, Colorado.
  • Wieland, K.M., & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2010). Quantifying the contextual vocabulary acquisition (CVA) outcomes of college-age readers. Paper presented at the University of Pittsburgh Council for Graduate Students of Education Conference.
  • Wieland, K.M., Fitzgerald, J.C. & Kapelner, A. (2009). Contextual vocabulary analysis processes and outcomes of college age readers. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2009). Causing confusion: Asyndetic constructions as a means of relating cause and effect in history textbooks, Paper presented at the National Council for the Social Studies, College and University Faculty Assembly, Atlanta, Georgia.


  • Kunz, K., Fitzgerald, J.C., & Schpakow, M. (accepted). “With Eyes, Minds, and Hearts Open: An Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Makeover of Classroom Libraries.” International Literacy Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Kunz, K. & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2020). “Move that Bus! Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Makeovers of Classroom Libraries.” New Jersey Education Association 2020 Virtual Conference.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. & Gonzalez K. (2020). “Experiences with Accreditation: CAEP and AAQEP.” Mid-Atlantic Assessment Conference, New Brunswick, NJ. (Conference canceled).
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2020, Apr 17 – 21) Civic Thinking and Public Policy Analysis: Comparing Models of Civic Action [Roundtable Session]. AERA Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA (Conference Canceled)
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2018). Curriculum Development Models for Student Success. Wagner College Evelyn School of Nursing, New York, NY.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2016). Case Study-based Seminar Discussions. United States Department of State, Washington, District of Columbia.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2016). Educating for democracy: The role of young people in re-invigorating our democracy. Ford Foundation Convening, New York, NY.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2015). Educating for democracy: The role of young people in re-invigorating our democracy. Ford Foundation Convening, New York, NY. 
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. & Ruggeri, K. (2014). Flipped out! Prepping for flipped classroom conversion in 15 weeks of less. Wagner College Innovation Celebration: Teaching & Learning Symposium, Staten Island, New York.
  • Weintrob, L.R. & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2013). From student learning to youth leadership: Lessons in activism from the civil rights movement to Hurricane Sandy. Presentation for Faculty at Wagner College, Staten Island, NY.
  • Mule, A. & Fitzgerald, J.C. (2013). Tweet this: Using #socialmedia in ur classroom 2 #connect w/ @wagnerstudents. Presentation for Faculty at Wagner College, Staten Island, NY.
  • Preskill, S., DeMoss, K., Gordon, D., Fitzgerald, J.C. (2012). The right to education. Panel presentation at Wagner College, New York in honor of Constitution Day.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2012) Web 2.0 and student learning. Presentation for teachers and administrators at Lavelle Prep, Staten Island, NY.
  • Fitzgerald, J.C. (2010) History, language and process(ing). Presentation for the McDaniel College Lyceum Series, Westminster, MD.

Professional Associations

  • Co-Advisor for Kappa Delta Pi at Monmouth University
  • American Educational Research Association (2009-present)
  • National Council for the Social Studies (2008-present)
  • International Social Studies Association (2013-present)

Grant Support/Academic Funding

Co-PI with Kenneth Kunz (PI) & Michelle Schpakow (co-PI): UCI Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Faculty Enrichment Grant ($4,991.60): Funded Title: Nourishing Book Deserts: Providing Access to Authentic and Relevant Interdisciplinary & Inclusive Books for Coastal Communities

Co-PI with Ken Kunz (PI) & Michelle Schpakow (co-PI): Transformative Learning Grant ($5,000): Funded Project Title: Windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors: An interdisciplinary transformation of 3rd-5th grade classroom libraries


Frequently Taught Classes

  • Design-Based Research (EDD 803)
  • Psychological and Philosophical Foundations of Education (ED 250)
  • Secondary Social Studies Education Part II (ED 580)
  • Teaching Social Studies and Cultural Education at the Secondary Level (ED 579)
  • Teaching Social Studies at the Secondary Level Part I (ED 371)
  • Teaching Social Studies at the Secondary Level Part II (ED 372)