The Social-Emotional Teaching & Learning Lab

Conducting rigorous research to benefit the emotional well-being of young children and the people who care for them.

What Our Research Says


About 35% of the responding Illinois programs had expelled at least one child in the 2019. On average, programs expelled almost 2% of children enrolled in their programs. However rates of expulsion and knowledge of the new law varied widely by program type, funding, location, and populations served. Zinsser, Silver, Hussaini, & Zulauf (2019)

To ensure a highly qualified workforce, programs and policymakers must attend to both the “pipeline” through which new early childhood educators (ECEs) enter the workforce and the “pathways” by which ECEs work toward and obtain the necessary education and credentials for different roles within the field. Zinsser, Main, Torres & Connor (2019)

Thinking Man on Couch

Teachers with greater levels of depression are more likely to request that a child be expelled from their care but that this association is attenuated by their centers’ utilization of infant/early childhood mental health consultation services. Attending to teacher mental health and early childhood mental health consultants may be important in reducing rates of exclusionary discipline in early education settings. Silver & Zinsser (2020)

Father and Daughter

When teachers believe they have high-quality relationships with children's parents they are less likely to describe those children as at high-risk of being expelled in the future. This protective effect is especially potent for Black children, who are disproportionately expelled nationwide. But parent-teacher relationships did not protect children who had previously been expelled from being at-risk of future expulsions. Zulauf & Zinsser (2021)

Children in Classroom

Emotion-focused teaching practices (modeling, responding, instructing) vary across the classroom. These instances of practices are related to children's social interactions with teachers and peers, as well as engagements in tasks. Curby et. al (2021)


There are calls to increase investment in the support of family childcare (FCC) workforce by addressing the FCC providers' needs through recognition of differences in workplace appraisals and provider feelings at work. Park, Zinsser, & Jeon (2021)

Read more about our lab's work here.

The SETLers

SETL Lab 2020
SETL Lab 2020
SETL Lab 2019
SETL Lab 2017
Velisha - SROP 2018
Monica - SROP 2018
Velisha - SROP 2018
Christen - Poster Presentation
Qaswa - Poster Presentation
Dr. Z & Courtney - Award Ceremony
Dr. Z & Callie - Poster Presentation
Qaswa & Vinoad - Poster Presentation
Callie - Symposium Presentation
Qaswa - Poster Presentation
Callie - Round Table Discussion
Callie - Round Table Discussion
Callie - Poster Presentation
SETL Lab - Rooftop Pizza Party
Courtney - Award Ceremony
Qaswa - UIC Data Blitz
Callie - UIC Data Blitz
Qaswa, Nikki, & Dr. Z - Day at the Park
Qaswa - Day at the Park
Callie - Day at the Park
Vinoad & Graeson - Day at the Park
Dr. Z - Lab Birthday Party
Qaswa - Poster Presentation
Diamond - UIC Impact Day Poster
Jasmina - UIC Impact Day Poster
Qaswa - UIC Impact Day Poster
Diamond - UIC Impact Day Award
Tito - UIC Impact Day "Poster"
Tito & Callie - Dinner in Austin (SRCD)
Tito, Samantha, & Stephany - Hard work in the lab
SETL Lab 2016 - Derby Day Party
SETL Lab 2016 - Derby Day Party
SETL Lab 2015 - Chili Cook Off  & Inside Out Watch Party
SETL Lab 2015
Courtney - Symposium Presentation
Luz - UIC Student Research Forum Poster
Taylor & Dr. Z - Graduation Day
Dr. Z & Claire - Graduation Day