Psychology Faculty

Catherine Cooper
  • Title
    • Emerita Professor of Psychology
    • Director, Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance
    • Faculty Director, UCSC Educational Partnership Center
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Psychology Department
  • Phone
    831-459-5084 (messages)
  • Email
  • Website
  • Mail Stop Psychology Faculty Services

Summary of Expertise

Cultural perspectives on adolescent development, linkages among families, peers and schools. discourse analysis, issues of ethnicity and gender in relationships; research, practice, and policy in university outreach programs; mixed-methods research with qualitative-quantitative designs and analysis.

Research Interests

Catherine Cooper's work focuses on how youth forge their personal identities by coordinating cultural and family traditions with those of their schools, communities, and work. Professor Cooper developed the Bridging Multiple Worlds theory to trace how youth bridge across their worlds in ways that reflect individuality and connectedness in their identities, relationships, and achievements. With colleagues and students, she conducts parallel studies of this theory across cultural communities, working with youth of African, Chinese, Filipino, Latino, European, Japanese, and Vietnamese descent as well as Japanese youth. To benefit children, families, schools, and community programs as well as science, policy, and practice, her team builds university-community partnerships to strengthen diversity along the "academic pipeline" from preschool through college.

Four lines of research are under way that combine quantitative and qualitative methods. The Family-School Learning Project, a collaboration with M. Azmitia, examines links across family, school, peer, and community worlds and academic achievement among low-income Mexican American and European American students from childhood through adolescence. The Bridging Project (with J. F. Jackson and M. Azmitia) examines the experiences of African American and Latino students in university academic outreach programs designed to strengthen links across students' families, schooling, and career development. The Pacific Rim Project (with P. Gjerde, H. Azuma, K. Kashiwagi, Y. Kosawa, H. Shimizu, and O. Suzuki) investigates links across families, peers, and school in the development of self and identity among Japanese, Japanese American, and European American students. The California Childhoods Project (with B. Thorne) is a comparative study of childhoods in three ethnically diverse communities in California.

Professor Cooper serves as Faculty Research Advisor to the UCSC Educational Partnership Center and co-directs a university–community partnership with E. Dominguez, director of the Cabrillo Advancement Program at Cabrillo Community College that supports pathways from childhood to college for low-income youth. Finally, Professor Cooper serves as Faculty Associate at the University of California Office of the President, where she works with regional-systemic alliances among P-20 partnerships.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., University of Minnesota
B.A., Pomona College

Selected Publications

  • Cooper, C.R., Domínguez, E., and Rosas, S. Soledad’s dream: Diversity, children’s multiple worlds, and their pathways to college. In C.R. Cooper, C.T. Garcia Coll, T. Bartko, H. Davis, and C. Chatman (Eds.), Rethinking Diversity and Contexts as Resources in Developmental Pathways through Middle Childhood. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, in press.
  • Cooper, C.R., Brown, J., Azmitia, M., and Chavira, G. Including Latino immigrant families, schools, and community programs as research partners on the good path of life---el buen camino de la vida. In T. Weisner (Ed.), Discovering Successful Pathways in Children’s Development: Mixed Methods in the Study of Childhood and Family Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Cultural perspectives on individuality and connectedness in adolescent development. In Masten, A. S. (Ed.), Cultural Processes in Development, Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology. Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999, 25-57.
  • Denner, J.; Cooper, C.R.; Lopez, E.M.; and Dunbar, N. Beyond "giving science away," How university-community partnerships inform youth programs, research, and policy, Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report, 1999, 13, 1-17.
  • Cooper, C.R., and Denner, J. Theories linking culture and psychology: Universal and community-specific processes, Annual Review of Psychology, 1998, 49, 559-584.
  • Cooper, C.R.; Jackson, J.F.; Azmitia, M.; and Lopez, E.M. Multiple selves, multiple worlds: Ethnically sensitive research on identity, relationships, and opportunity structures in adolescence. In V.C. McLoyd and L. Steinberg (Eds.), Studying Minority Adolescents: Conceptual, Methodological and Theoretical Issues, Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998, 111-126.
  • Azmitia, M.; Cooper, C.R.; Garcia, E E.; and Dunbar, N. The ecology of family guidance in low-income Mexican-American and European-American families, Social Development, 1996, 5, 1-23.