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Faculty Bio

Professor Ji-Mei Chang is a teacher educator and educational researcher in the Department of Special Education, Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San Jose State University (SJSU). She received both of her Master of Arts Degree and Doctor of Philosophy (1989) at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, with an emphasis on Chinese and English reading-learning abilities and disabilities. She also minored in research methodology and bilingual education. She joined SJSU as an Associate Professor in fall 1990 and was promoted to a Full Professor in spring 1996. In summer 2011, she took an early retirement and participated in the SJSU's Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP).

As an educator, she taught Chinese language to seventh graders in Taipei, Taiwan; as a middle school Chinese language teacher in Taipei, she was drawn to those who were intelligent but lagged behind their peers in classroom performance. Such experiences led her to pursue graduate studies focusing on reading and learning abilities and disabilities. Before resuming her doctoral studies, she earned a teaching credential as a learning disability resource specialist and taught at a public elementary school for three years in Wisconsin (1980-1983). She worked with K-5 students who were diagnosed with mild or moderate reading and/or learning disabilities. Since then, she has worked with individuals with mild reading and learning disabilities in a wide range of K-16 settings at both US private and public schools. As a teacher educator at SJSU, she received Teacher Scholar Award in 1998 representing College of Education and Dean’s Recognition for Teaching and Scholarly work in 2008. She also volunteers and collaborates with colleagues across department to develop the K-8 Mandarin Bilingual Teaching Authorization Program; due to budget issues, this proposed credential program is on hold.

As a teacher-educator in the Department of Special Education, she teaches courses with an emphasis on the following areas:

  1. Strengthening the pre-service and inservice teachers’ abilities to cultivate learners’ multiple abilities and generate the cycle of success for learners with and without disabilities in a wide range of PreK- K-12 educational settings,
  2. Activating and engaging educational specialists and interns’ productive habits of mind in order to gain knowledge and be ready to apply a range of formative and summative assessments,  to differentiate classroom instruction/intervention, as well as to use technology to flip classroom instruction,
  3. Designing and implementing the integrated curriculum units, highlighted with service learning component, by following the 3-stage of the Understanding by Design framework, and
  4. Building information literacy communities guided by information literacy standards for high education.

As an educational researcher, she specializes in cross-language research in reading ability and disabilities, effective pedagogy for language learners, as well as school-based professional development. Her goals are to guide teachers to design and implement meaningful curriculum units for coherent learning experiences and to differentiate K-12 classroom instruction. In 1996 she served as a principal investigator at the National Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE), which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that position, she conducted four funded reading research studies among selected groups of third and fourth graders to systematically examine the reading comprehension processes. The groups are:

  1. Mandarin-speaking children in Taiwan (1986-1988),
  2. Mandarin-English bilingual children in Singapore (1989-1990),
  3. Cantonese speaking children with limited English proficiency and mild reading or learning disabilities in Northern California (1991-1993) and
  4. Chinese/Asian American elementary school children placed in the resource program for reading intervention in Northern California (1994-95).

Based on these studies’ findings, she then developed and field-tested the research-based and classroom oriented professional development model to facilitate teaching transformation among teachers. The major research goals were to enhance reading comprehension, literacy and language development among the various groups of Asian American language learners as well as family literacy activities in a Title I middle school in Northern California.

CREDE is a national research center that specializes in promoting effective pedagogy for language learners and school reform in order to better educate diverse learners in the US. In this 3-year study, she collaborated with seven middle school teachers and used the backward design process to develop and implement the integrated curriculum units as well as established the home-school-community partnership to promote family literacy practices to support language learners. CREDE has since moved from University of California, Berkeley to University of Hawaii at Manoa.

From April 1998 to December 2001, with funding from the Ministry of Education in Taiwan and the support of CREDE, she then advanced a cross-cultural CREDE-based pedagogical model for school-based professional development activities. This was geared toward teachers and administrators with the aim of engaging in teaching transformation. During this time, she pioneered a project to lead a group of university professors to serve as coaches to guide school administrators and teachers to implement both CREDE pedagogies and the theory of multiple intelligences as tools to enhance teaching for understanding. This multi-semester project was conducted in four middle and five elementary schools in Taiwan. The transformation process and research products have impacted various government and school-sponsored professional development training activities for teachers, administrators and parents. After 2003, she also conducted long-term school-based professional development activities to support teachers and language learners in various International and American Schools in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Her follow-up studies and activities focused on preparing K-12 teachers and education specialists to become information literate in order to guide the Net-geners more effectively in the Knowledge age. In Fall 2008, she established a collaborative action research team with other faculty members, Grinell Smith (K-8 Teacher Education), Christina Peterson (SJSU Martin Luther King Library/Occupational Therapy) and Sharon Eilts (Special Education) to build information literacy communities across departments and colleges. The goal was to prepare credential and MA candidates to become information literate. The team had received a research grant funded by the Connie L. Lurie College of Education’s first Lurie Innovation for Excellence (LIFE) Award for three semesters (Spring 2009 – Spring 2010). While FERPing, in 2015, she was selected by SJSU's e-Campus to participate in the Summer iPad Project; one of her project goals is to use iPad and other mobile devices and applications to flip university classroom instructions and promote active student engagement.

Contact Information:   Mailing Address:

Office: (408) 924-3705
Fax: (408) 924-3701


Ji-Mei Chang, Ph.D.
Department of Special Education
Connie L. Lurie College of Education
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0078

                        Areas of Studies