Headshot of Harsha Perera, Ph.D.

Harsha Perera, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department(s): Educational Psychology and Higher Education
Office: CEB 327
Mail Code: 3003
Phone: 702-895-1110
Email: harsha.perera@unlv.edu


Harsha N. Perera, B.Ed. (Hons 1) (Sydney), PhD (UTS) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology with the Department of Educational Psychology and Higher Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States, and Director of the Educational Career Pathways Lab. Prior to this appointment, he was a SPF03 Strategic Professor with the School of Education, University of New South Wales, Australia. He has also held an academic position with the University of Southern Queensland, Australia where he remains in an honorary capacity. Dr. Perera has two main lines of substantive research. First, he seeks to examine the social cognitive processes, involving competence self-beliefs, interests, and success expectations, through which young people develop intentions to choose, engage in, and achieve in specific educational and career pathways. Second, his program of research aims to examine the social cognitive processes through which teachers engage with their work, become satisfied with teaching, and, ultimately, remain in the profession. Recently, Dr Perera has bridged these two streams of research to investigate the roles of teacher motivational beliefs in student outcomes. On a methodological level, Dr Perera has interests and expertise in the development and application of latent variable methods to examine validity evidence and advanced quantitative methods (viz., structural equation, multi-level, finite mixture modeling, item factor analysis, and Monte Carlo methods). Dr. Perera's research is conducted in a substantive-methodological synergy framework in which sophisticated quantitative methods are used to investigate complex substantive problems. His research work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Graduate Careers Australia, and the Nevada Department of Education, inter alia.

Dr. Perera has published in a number of top-tier scientific journals, including AssessmentContemporary Educational PsychologyJournal of Personality AssessmentBritish Journal of Educational Psychology,Learning and Individual DifferencesTeaching and Teacher EducationPersonality and Individual DifferencesJournal of Vocational Behavior, and Frontiers in Psychology. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Educational PsychologyJournal of Vocational BehaviorJournal of Career Assessment, inter alia, and is a regular reviewer for several national and international journals. He has been recognized by Publons as within the Top 1% of reviewers in the fields of Psychology/Psychiatry for the past two years. Dr. Perera is also the recipient of a number of prestigious awards recognizing his research excellence, including (a) the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Ray Debus Award for the most outstanding doctoral dissertation in education across Australia, (b) the UTS Chancellor's List Award for outstanding doctoral research, and (c) the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division E Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Dr. Perera is currently accepting graduate students who possess comparable research interests to those mentioned above. Interested graduate students, with competitive track records, will join a dynamic team of researchers, including international collaborators, PhD candidates, and MS candidates, with considerable opportunities to publish from dissertation research as well as other conceptually or methodologically related projects. Dr. Perera’s students regularly publish in top-tier periodicals, suchContemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Personality and Individual Differences, Frontiers in Psychology, Journal of Career Assessment, and present at national conferences, such as the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Research Expertise

Advanced quant methods (viz., structural equation, multi-level, finite mixture modeling, item factor analysis, & Monte Carlo methods); Roles of personality & social cognitive-constructs in educational & Career interests, choice, engagement, & achievement