Carlton Fong honored by Association for Psychological Science

Featured Faculty

Julie Cooper | April 13, 2021

mans professional headshot
Dr. Carlton Fong

Carlton Fong, an assistant professor in the College of Education at Texas State University, was recently honored as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

In recognizing Fong, APS acknowledged that his “innovative work has already advanced the field, signaling great potential for continued contributions to psychological science.”

Fong joined the faculty of the graduate program in developmental education within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in 2017. He completed his doctorate and master’s degree in educational psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and earned his bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from the University of California, Berkeley. Born and raised in California, Fong has called Texas home for almost 13 years.  

“(This APS honor) recognizes psychological researchers in the early stages of their research careers.” Fong said. “They looked at publications, recognitions, research contributions, potential broad impact and demonstrated independence from mentors.

“My work addresses applications of educational and social psychology to higher education contexts — looking at the best ways to motivate college students for academic success and goal attainment.”

In 2019 and 2020 Fong won presidential awards in college achievement in the scholarly/creative category. He was also honored in 2019 as Alpha Chi Favorite Professor and a 2019 Cynthia L. Peterson JCRL Outstanding Award from the College Reading and Learning Association.

Last month, Fong co-authored a piece with his former doctoral student, Dr. Megan Krou, for The Conversation titled “Motivation is a key factor in whether students cheat.”

“We found that if students are motivated for more extrinsic rewards like getting high grades, then they are more likely to engage in academic dishonesty,” Fong said. “If they are more motivated by a desire for mastery of the material or if they feel they are in control for their own choices for learning, they are less likely to cheat.”

Fong teaches courses in research methods and in student motivation to doctoral and master’s students. Some people, he said, will joke that “research is me-search.”

“Ever since college I was always fascinated by the psychology of learning. How we learn, what are the factors and processes associated with learning,” he said. “In graduate school I was able to focus on motivation — this driving force that is initiated and sustained to achieve learning goals.”

Fong said he was drawn to Texas State because of the developmental education program, “that seeks to understand college students holistically, and applies disciplines like psychology to best support students to and through college. Overall, my department is really committed to issues around equity and justice. It really speaks to me and forms the foundation of my work.”

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