Thea Peetsma is the chair of the Department of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam.
She studied psychology (specialization: research methods in psychology) at the University of Amsterdam, where she subsequently obtained her doctorate (PhD). The subject of her doctoral dissertation was motivation, specifically the relationship between students’ time perspectives and their investment in school. Motivation and academic achievement is still of major interest in her research. Students with special educational needs is another important focus of her research. More recently, she studied motivation in innovative learning contexts and developed an intervention of students’ learning motivation. In these fields she conducted research in both elementary and secondary education, also intervention studies.
From 1994 to 1998 she led a special research programme on educational and parenting difficulties. Between 1998 and 2009, she was a research coordinator of the Division for Fundamental Research of the SCO-Kohnstamm Institute of the University of Amsterdam.
Since 1987, she is an active member of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). Within EARLI, she is active in the Special Interest Group (SIG) ‘Motivation and Emotion’, which she coordinated from 1995-1997, and she is also member of the SIG ‘Special Educational Needs’. In addition, she was member of the EARLI Executive Committee from 2001 to 2005.
Besides activities in research, management and teaching, she participated in various advisory boards, organized over ten international scientific conferences such as the EARLI Conference in Amsterdam in 2009, received many grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Ministry of Education (a PI for over 3 million euros). She published more than 200 papers and reports, and functioned in different editorial boards, e.g., as editorial board member of Educational Research Review and as associate editor of Learning and Instruction.