Sharon K. Zumbrunn, Ph.D.

Professor, Foundations of Education

Sharon K. Zumbrunn, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in psychological studies in education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.A. in educational psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.S. in elementary education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research interests

Learning, self-regulation, motivation, belonging and well-being

Career highlights

  • Developer, RoboCogger metacognition and motivation software VCU News article
  • American Psychological Association Division 15 Early Career Research Grant (2014)
  • Recipient of the VCU School of Education’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2014)
  • Recipient of the VCU School of Education’s Distinguished Junior Faculty Award (2011)
  • Co-Director, Motivation in Context Research Lab

Recent publications

  • Zumbrunn, S. (under contract). Why aren’t you writing?: Research, real-talk, strategies, and shenanigans. SAGE Publications.
  • Broda, M., Ekholm, E., & Zumbrunn, S. (in press). Assessing the predictive nature of teacher and student self-regulation discrepancy in writing. Frontline Learning Research.
  • Varier, D., Zumbrunn, S., Conklin, S. B., Stringer, J., Marrs, S., & Furman, J. (in press). Getting stuck in writing: Exploring elementary students’ writing self-regulation strategies. Educational Studies.
  • Zumbrunn, S., Broda, M., Varier, D., & Conklin, S. (2019). Examining the multidimensional role of self-efficacy for writing on student writing self-regulation and grades in elementary and high school. British Journal of Educational Psychology.
  • Zumbrunn, S., Marrs, S., Broda, M., Ekholm, E., Jackson, L., & DeBusk-Lane, M. (2019). Toward a more complete understanding of writing enjoyment: A mixed methods study of elementary students. AERA Open, 5(2), 2332858419850792.
  • Ekholm, E., Zumbrunn, S., & De-Busk-Lane, M. (2018). Clarifying an elusive construct: A systematic review of writing attitudes. Educational Psychology Review, 30(3), 827-856.


As a former elementary school teacher, Dr. Sharon Zumbrunn’s broad research interests include understanding student learning and motivation, and the contexts that foster student success. Current projects include longitudinal, experimental and mixed method investigations that examine student belonging, motivation, and self-regulation across developmental levels (elementary through college). She also works with educators to understand the ways in which their beliefs, emotions and instructional practices influence student motivation, engagement and achievement.

Zumbrunn teaches courses in motivation, educational psychology, social processes in education, mixed methods, and teaching, learning and success in higher education.

Curriculum Vitae

(804) 827-2625