Alex Collopy, Ph.D., IMHE® is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Child & Family Studies at Weber State University. She is a former preschool teacher trained as an educational anthropologist and teacher educator. Alex’s work centers around inclusive education, working at the unique emerging intersections of Disability Studies in Education and psychodynamic approaches to working with young children. She is passionate about preparing professionals across disciplines to think critically and psychotherapeutically about intersectional experiences of disability and difference as a vehicle for inclusion in research and practice.
208 McKay Education Building
1351 Edvalson Street
Ogden, UT 84408
Following undergraduate study in Psychology and Disability Studies, Alex received her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from The Pennsylvania State University in 2019. Her graduate coursework included Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education; Politics of Disability; Identity Theories; Bakhtin and Education; Foucault and Education; Language, Identity, and the Development of Knowing; European Philosophy: Derrida, Heidegger, Agamben, and Benjamin; Curriculum, Culture, & Child Development; Play and Early Childhood Education; Social Class and Early Childhood Education; and 3 semesters of independent study in Psychoanalysis under the supervision of a Professor of Education and child psychotherapist.
In addition to taking courses in Educational Ethnography, Contemporary Educational Ethnography, The Ethnographic Interview, Video Ethnography, Sensory Ethnography, and Community Ethnography, Alex received training in video ethnography as an assistant on a research project at an inclusive preschool in Paris, France grounded in “collectivist integration” informed by the institutional psychotherapy approach of the La Borde Clinic founded by Jean Oury and developed with Félix Guattari.
Alex has experience teaching associate’s through doctoral level students as well as teaching Concurrent Enrollment instructors who will teach courses at the high school level. At Penn State, Alex taught the undergraduate courses Introduction to Early Childhood Education, The Young Child’s Play as Educative Processes, and Introductory Field Experience for Early Childhood Education. She also co-taught a doctoral seminar in Educational Ethnography and served as a Teaching Assistant in the graduate course Theories of Childhood. At Weber State, Alex created and teaches the following new courses:
Alex also taught a semester-long Guided Readings independent study course in inclusive early childhood education.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to the longstanding needs of non-traditional students, a primary focus in her teaching has been developing accessible online learning materials. During her first two years at Weber State, Alex was awarded nearly $30,000 of university-level funding to lead the development of online coursework and practicum opportunities in early childhood education.
Alex is also experienced in revising undergraduate educator licensure programs and in graduate program and certificate development, having led the development of a new master’s program in inclusive early childhood education. As part of the graduate program proposal, Alex developed 5 new courses along with practicum opportunities in early childhood education and in supervised college teaching.
Alex is constantly seeking continuing education opportunities to develop expertise in creative psychotherapeutic approaches to working with young children in inclusive classrooms. She is a 2022-2023 fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis at the Washington- Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis (WBCP) and the Contemporary Freudian Society. Alex also completed a fellowship at the Washington- Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis during the 2016-2017 academic year. She has participated in seminars at the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) on Object Relations-informed approaches to love in psychoanalysis, and completed a short course on “The Winnicotts’ Psychoanalytically-Informed Intervention in a Time of National Crisis”. Alex is currently a post-graduate student in WBCP’s New Directions: Writing with a Psychoanalytic Edge program, where she is working to develop manuscripts from her dissertation research and classroom teaching experiences.
Alex is also an Intersectional Pedagogy Fellow in the Transformative Intersectionality Collective (TRIC), a program of the University of Utah’s School of Social and Cultural Transformation, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. She was featured in the Weber State President’s 2022 Annual Report for her contributions to the university’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Alex was the recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s 2021 Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education Dissertation Award for her ethnographic case study of an inclusive, bilingual Universal Pre-Kindergarten Classroom in a psychoanalytically-informed Community-Based Organization in Washington, D.C. In addition to the AERA conference, Alex has presented research at the international Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education, the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Education, and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society conferences.
Alex has developed a nationwide reputation for preparing inclusive practitioners across disciplines with knowledge around Disability Studies and psychotherapeutic practices. She has been invited to speak at the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee (AIMHiTN) on addressing disproportionality in inclusive early childhood settings. Alex has served as an invited guest lecturer at Montclair University, University of Northern Iowa’s Department of Special Education, Penn State’s School of Visual Arts, and Utah State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. She has twice been invited to speak to students in Weber State University’s Office of Academic Affairs Integrated Studies Department about interdisciplinary, critical approaches in anthropology and early childhood education. Alex was also invited to speak in the University of Utah’s brown bag series for Developmental Psychology graduate students, on “Using Psychoanalysis in Pedagogical and Anthropological Theory and Practice From Preschool Through Higher Education”.
Alex is the inaugural Chair of Professional Development & Training for the Utah Association of Infant Mental Health (UAIMH), where she is working to launch a quarterly Lunch & Learn series co-sponsored by the Weber State University Department of Child & Family Studies. She also created and supervises a fellowship in Professional Development & Training for early career professionals and students. In January 2022, Alex was appointed to the board and named President-elect of UAIMH. In each of her UAIMH roles, Alex is contributing to the roll-out of Infant Mental Health Endorsement (IMHE® ) in Utah. As a member of Utah’s IMHE® Leadership Cohort, Alex earned endorsement through the national Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health in Summer 2022.
Alex serves on the AERA Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education Dissertation Award Committee. She has served as a conference proposal reviewer and as a reviewer for international peer-reviewed journals in qualitative research and in early childhood education. Alex served as the editorial assistant for the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series 2016 special issue on “Life in Inclusive Classrooms: Storytelling with Disability Studies in Education”. She is a former Student Editorial Board member of the American Journal of Education.
At Weber State University, Alex serves on the Faculty Senate’s Teaching and Learning Committee. Alex has been recognized by the WSU Teaching and Learning Forum as a campus leader in inclusive pedagogy and recruited to facilitate university-wide discussions around disability inclusion in higher education. She is the faculty advisor to 38 undergraduate students in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Education programs, and enjoys serving on capstone project committees for students pursuing Bachelors of Integrated Studies degrees. She previously served on the Research, Scholarship, and Professional Growth (RSPG) committee, the Moyes College of Education Justice and Equity Committee, and the Teacher Education Admission & Retention Committee. Alex is the former Vice Chair of the Weber State University Charter Academy Kindergarten’s Board of Directors. During her time at Penn State, Alex served as the President of the Disability Studies Student Group, as a member of the University Libraries’ Accessibility Committee, and as treasurer for the Penn State campus chapter of Active Minds.