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Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips


Psychological Sciences
Education and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Information

McKee Hall 66
Mailing Address
University of Northern Colorado
Psychological Sciences
Campus Box 94
Greeley, CO 80639


Ph.D. - Educational Psychology & Educational Technology, Michigan State University

B.S. - Psychology, University of Nebraska - Omaha

Professional/Academic Experience

Michael Phillips is an Educational Psychologist who joined the faculty in the School of Psychological Sciences at University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in 2008. Before taking an academic position at UNC, he worked as an educational researcher at McREL. In this position, he worked on state- and federally-funded projects and developed grant proposals and budgets. Additionally, he worked with educators, policy-makers, and educational decision-makers to translate research and program evaluations into evidence-based practices. While at UNC, he has been an active member of both the undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees in the School of Psychological Sciences. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at UNC. Recently, he has been a review panelist for APA’s Division 15 Early Career Research Grant and a reviewer for the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant program.

He currently has an NIH-funded 3-year project with colleagues at UNC to examine the impact of marijuana use and craving in relation to academic motivation and success among at-risk university students using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). In addition, he was recently awarded an NSF-funded 3-year project. This multi-course multi-institution collaborative study, with a chemistry-education researcher, focuses on whether the flipped learning model is efficacious in chemistry courses and if so, for whom (focusing on differential effects for underrepresented STEM populations). He has also been a senior researcher on an NSF grant focused on social-cognitive factors for women selecting and persisting in the geosciences.

Research/Areas of Interest

His primary research interests span several areas of human motivation and emotion, along with particular methodologies used to study motivation in the moment. One of the central components to his research has centered on the psychology of interest, its relationship to other motivational and academic factors, and the intersection with instructional practices. A number of his projects have focused on individual and environmental factors related to educational pathways in STEM fields. A second strand of his research program focuses on using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to investigate motivational and psychosocial factors related to academic success for at-risk college students who regularly use marijuana. As an extension of this work, he is interested in investigating individuals’ motivation to change when considering academic-related and health-related behaviors through the use of adaptive ecological momentary interventions (EMI) via the use of smartphones and plans to further this line of research.

Dr. Phillips has taught a range of courses while at UNC, including Motivation, Educational Psychology, Research Methods, Advanced Research Methods, Social Psychology and Human Growth and Development. Additionally, he has taught graduate seminar courses on such topics as the Psychology of Interest and Boredom in Educational Contexts and Grantwriting. He consistently works with a number of undergraduate and graduate students in his motivation research group and mentors a number of students outside of the classroom.

Publications/Creative Works

Phillips, K. T., Phillips, M. M., & Duck, K. D. (in press). Factors associated with marijuana use and problems among college students in Colorado, Substance Use and Misuse.

*Ferrell, B., Phillips, M. M., & Barbera, J. (2016). Connecting achievement motivation to performance in general chemistry, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 17(4), 1054-1066. DOI: 10.1039/C6RP00148C

*Bergstrom, C. M., Pugh, K. J., Phillips, M. M. & *Machlev, M. (2016). Effects of problem-based learning on recognition learning and transfer accounting for GPA and goal orientation. Journal of Experimental Education, 84(4), 764-786.

Phillips, K. T., Phillips, M. M., Lalonde, T. L., & *Tormohlen, K. N. (2015). Marijuana use, craving, and academic motivation and performance among college students: An in-the-moment study, Addictive Behaviors.47, 42-47.

Phillips, M. M., Phillips, K. T., Lalonde, T., & *Dykema, K. (2014). Feasibility of text messaging for ecological momentary assessment of marijuana use in college students. Psychological Assessment, 26(3), 947-957. doi: 10.1037/a0036612

Pugh, K. J. & Phillips, M. M. (2011). Helping students develop an appreciation for school content. Theory into Practice, 50, 285-292.

Honors and Awards

Current and Recently Funded External Grants

Assessing the impacts of the flipped classroom environment on student learning and motivation in chemistry (2016-2019; DUE/IUSE: 1611220 & 1611519). National Science Foundation (NSF) / Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE): Collaborative Research.

Investigators: M. Phillips (UNC-PI), J. Barbera (Portland State University-PI).

Understanding the dynamics of college student marijuana use: A study using EMA (2016-2019; 1R15DA041656-01). National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) / National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Investigators: M. Phillips (PI), K. Phillips (PI), Lalonde (Co-I) & Stein (Co-I).

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