Jennifer Wallace Jacoby


  • Associate Professor of Psychology and Education
  • Director of First-Year Seminars
  • Director of the Teaching and Learning Initiative
Jennifer Wallace Jacoby

Jennifer Jacoby is interested in how both children and teachers develop in school contexts. In particular, she seeks to understand how teachers can best support the learning of linguistically and socio-economically diverse groups of children. Jacoby's current research investigates how school settings support the language and literacy development of young English learning children, as well as, how these school settings support the professional learning of the teachers who work with English learners. She uses both qualitative and quantitative methods in her research.  

Areas of Expertise


  • Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • M.A., University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A., Amherst College


Recent Campus News

Faculty and teaching staff at Mount Holyoke College gathered for their annual Teaching and Scholarship Renewal Week, which had been suspended since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mount Holyoke College’s Common Read for fall of 2022 is “Braiding Sweetgrass.” “Braiding Sweetgrass” centers Indigenous knowledge as an alternative or complementary approach to mainstream scientific methodologies.

Mount Holyoke’s 2021 Common Read, “The Fire This Time,” is a collection of “thoughtful, searing, and, at times, hopeful” essays and poems about race.

Recent Publications

Jacoby, J.W. (2021). Assistant teachers in Head Start: Important drivers of a diverse and competent workforce. Urban Institute.

Jacoby, J.W. (2019). When, where, and how do Head Start teachers use Spanish in the context of English curriculum?: Increasing native language support in preschools. Perspectives: A Publication of the National Association for Bilingual Education, 43(2), 6-9.

Mancilla-Martinez, J. and Jacoby, J.W. (2018). The influence of risk factors on preschoolers' Spanish vocabulary development in the context of Spanish instruction. Early Education and Development. DOI:10.1080/10409289.2018.1442098

Recent Awards

Jennifer Wallace Jacoby received the Taylor & Francis/National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators Foundation’s Outstanding Journal Article Award for 2019 for her article, Supporting Dual Language Learners in Head Start: Teacher Beliefs about Teaching Priorities and Strategies to Facilitate English Language Acquisition from the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. She was recently honored with the award at the NAECTE Annual Conference, which was held virtually on November 4, 2020.  

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