Travis Wilson

  • Associate Professor of Psychology

Areas of Study


  • BS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1997
  • MS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2008
  • PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2011


I teach courses in developmental psychology, research methods in psychology and developmental science, and a seminar in child development. My research concerns social adaptation during middle childhood, a time when children’s competencies take flight and engender greater agency to live cooperatively in social groups.

I study developmental processes of children’s peer relations in school settings and links between children’s peer relations and academic motivation. Because children’s relationships are dynamic (they gain and lose friends all the time) and multilayered (they are immersed in friendship dyads, peer groups, and neighborhood environments), I also have interests in social network analysis and other innovative methodologies.

Jamison, R., Wilson, T. M., & Ryan, A. M. (In press). "Too Cool for School? The relationship between coolness and academic reputation in the first year of middle school." Social Development.                       

Wilson, T.M., Rodkin, P. C., & Ryan, A. M. (2014). "The company they keep and avoid: Social goal orientation as a predictor of children’s ethnic segregation." Developmental Psychology, 50, 1116-1124. 

Rodkin, P., Ryan, A. M., Jamison, J., & Wilson, T.M. (2013). "Social goals in middle childhood: Relations to social behavior and social status." Developmental Psychology, 49, 1139-1150.

Wilson, T.M., & Rodkin, P. C. (2013). "Children’s cross-ethnic relations in contemporary elementary schools: Concurrent and prospective associations between ethnic segregation and social status." Child Development, 84, 1081-1097.

Wilson, T., Perry, M., & Anderson, C. J. (2012). "Sustaining scientific inquiry: Prompting children for meaningful reflection." Instructional Science, 40, 19-46.

Wilson, T., Karimpour, R., & Rodkin, P. C. (2011). "African American and European American students’ peer groups during early adolescence: Structure, status, and academic achievement." Journal of Early Adolescence, 3174-98.

Wilson, T., & Rodkin, P. C. (2011). "African American and European American children in diverse elementary classrooms: Social integration, social status, and social behavior." Child Development, 82, 1454-1469. 

Wilson, T., & Rodkin, P. C. (2011). "Peer relations of Latina/o children in Midwest U.S. elementary schools". In N. Cabera, F. Villarruel, & H. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Latina and Latino children’s mental health (pp. 117-148). New York: Praeger. 

Garandeau, C. F., Wilson, T., & Rodkin, P. C. (2010). "The popularity of elementary school bullies in gender and racial context." In S. R. Jimerson, S. M. Swearer, & D. L. Espelage (Eds.), The International Handbook of School Bullying. Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Sims, L., Perry, M., Schleppenbach, M., McConney, M., Wilson, T., & Miller, K. (2008). "Look who’s talking: Reflecting on differences in math talk in U.S. and Chinese classrooms." Teaching Children Mathematics15, 120-124. 

Rodkin, P. C., & Wilson, T. (2007). "Aggression and adaptation: Psychological record, educational promise. "In P. Hawley, T. D. Little & P. C. Rodkin (Eds.), Aggression and adaptation: The bright side to bad behavior. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. 

Rodkin, P. C., Wilson, T., & Ahn, H. J. (2007). "Social integration among African- and European-American children in majority white, majority black, and multicultural elementary classrooms." In L. Hanish & P. C. Rodkin (Eds.), Social Network Analysis and Children’s Peer Relations. San Francisco: Wiley.

Spring 2024

Research Methods II — PSYC 300
Teaching Assistant — PSYC 500
Practicum in Psychology — PSYC 501
Supervised Research in Psychology - Full — PSYC 510F
Supervised Research in Psychology - Half — PSYC 510H
Senior Portfolio — PSYC 599
Senior Portfolio - Half — PSYC 599H


Travis Wilson Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

March 28, 2019

Associate Professor of Psychology Travis Wilson in March received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Education at the University of Illinois. The five other recipients of the 2019 award were Ann Larson, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville; Elegwa Mukulu, professor of entrepreneurship at Jomo Kenyatta University, Republic of Kenya; Patricia Clark, chair of the Department of Elementary Education at Ball State University; Jennifer Dillavou, president of the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance; and Margaret Kobia, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Republic of Kenya.

Travis Wilson Receives 2014 American Educational Research Association Award

November 21, 2014

Assistant Professor of Psychology Travis Wilson is the recipient of the 2014 American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award in the field of Human Development. The award goes to the most outstanding publication in the field of human development stemming from a doctoral dissertation. Wilson’s paper was co-authored by Dr. Philip C. Rodkin (deceased) and was published in the 2013 volume of Child Development, the flagship journal of the Society for Research in Child Development:

Wilson, T.M., & Rodkin, P. C. (2013). Children’s cross-ethnic relations in contemporary elementary schools: Concurrent and prospective associations between ethnic segregation and social status. Child Development, 84, 1081-1097.

Travis Wilson Publishes Article in Journal of Developmental Psychology

November 21, 2014

Assistant Professor of Psychology Travis Wilson has published an article in the journal “Developmental Psychology”:

Wilson, T.M., Rodkin, P. C., & Ryan, A. M. (2014). The company they keep and avoid: Social goal orientation as a predictor of children’s ethnic segregation. Developmental Psychology, 50, 1116-1124.

Travis Wilson Awarded Spencer Foundation Grant

November 21, 2014

Assistant Professor of Psychology Travis Wilson has been awarded a grant of $50,000 from the Spencer Foundation for his project titled, 'A Longitudinal Study of School-based Relationships, Academic Motivation, and School Outcomes among Low-income African-American Youth.' Wilson is examining developmental change and within-group variability among low-income African-American elementary school children in their academic motivation and relationships with peers and teachers at school.


Seeing Results

November 17, 2014

Rachel Marino ’13 applies her research to education programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, making art-based education more accessible to students and teachers alike.