Barbara L. McCombs directs the Human Motivation, Learning and Development Center at the University of Denver. The center focuses on the professional development of educators, personal and organizational change, systemic educational reform, and school violence prevention.
McCombs’ current research is directed at new leadership models for redesigning outdated views of schooling and learning. This research has led to her international and national recognition in areas that include transformational teacher development approaches, motivating hard-to-reach students, and the use of technology as a primary tool for empowering youth and facilitating relevant learning.
The author has begun a series of books published by Corwin Press. Learner-Centered Classroom Practices and Assessments: Maximizing Student Motivation, Learning, and Achievement (2006) was co-authored with Lynda Miller and written for teachers. Her second book in the series, written for school administrators and other school leaders, was also co-authored with Lynda Miller and is titled A School Leader’s Guide to Creating Learner-Centered Education: From Complexity to Simplicity (2008).
McCombs is the primary author of Learner-Centered Psychological Principles (LCPs): Guidelines for School Redesign and Reform. She has developed research-validated learner-centered models of teaching and learning based on the LCPs.
Through collaborations with colleagues at the University of Bristol in England, she developed an online version of her Assessment of Learner-Centered Practices (ALCP) teacher and student surveys. These surveys have been validated with over 35,000 students and their teachers in grades K-3, 4-8, 9-12, and college level. The ALCP surveys are being used in numerous national and international K-12 schools as well as colleges.