PHOTO:Cara Meixner

Cara Meixner, Ph.D.

Professor, Graduate Psychology


  • Ph.D. Antioch University (October 2008)
  • M.A. University of Maryland (May 2000)
  • B.S. James Madison University (May 1998)

Scholarly Interests/Research Topics

  • Brain Injury Survivor Advocacy. Cara pursues an advocacy-based research agenda that has contributed to the development of noteworthy changes and advocacy initiatives for survivors of brain injury. She has served as co-principal investigator, with Dr. Cynthia O’Donoghue (Communication Sciences and Disorders), on studies that investigate barriers to accessing crisis intervention services, with focus on the experience of survivors with neurobehavioral presentations. Learn more about the Brain Injury Research Team (BIRT), co-founded by Meixner and O’Donoghue. Publication venues include Brain InjuryJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, and NeuroRehabilitation. Cara currently serves as elected chairperson to the Virginia Brain Injury Council.
  • Research Methodology. Keenly interested in the philosophy of science, Cara has partnered with Graduate Psychology colleague Dr. John Hathcoat on pieces (e.g., Journal of Mixed Methods Research) that advance understanding of ontology and epistemology in qualitative and mixed methods research. Cara also partners with Drs. Pranee Liamputtong (Western Sydney University) and Dan Spitzner (University of Virginia) on the topics of positionality and decolonizing methodologies (statistics, qualitative tools, and mixed methodologies) for social inclusion. In 2021, Cara joined the American Psychological Association (APA) as PsycLearn’s content expert on qualitative methodologies.
  • Higher Education (Pedagogy and Change). Cara has presented and authored on topics related to pedagogy, leadership development, service-learning, and organizational change. Contributions include a study on faculty learning outcomes (Journal of Faculty Development); a co-authored chapter, Powerful Pedagogies; a mixed methods study on the experience of part-time faculty (College Teaching); empirical studies of Course Design Institutes (CDIs) (To Improve the Academy), and the acclaimed text Reconceptualizing Faculty Development in Service-Learning/Community Engagement.