Gina Riley

Photo of Gina Riley

Program Leader, Adolescent Generalist (Grades 7-12) Special Education Program
Daily from 6-7pm via zoom

Gina Riley, Ph.D. is an educational psychologist, Clinical Professor, and Program Leader of the Adolescent Special Education Program at CUNY – Hunter College. Dr. Riley has over fifteen years experience working with teens diagnosed with learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders. She is also a seasoned academic, with years of teaching, research, and supervisory experience within the fields of special education, psychology, school psychology, and mental health counseling. In addition, Dr. Riley has extensive experience in online education and distance learning at the college/university level. She is known internationally for her work in the fields of homeschooling, unschooling, and self-directed learning.

  • Ph.D. in Psychology, Walden University, Minnesota, 2012.
    • Dissertation: Differences in Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness between Home Educated and Traditionally Educated Young Adults
  • M.S. in Psychology, Walden University, Minnesota, 2003. Concentration: Educational Psychology.
    • Thesis: An Ethnographic Study of Intrinsic Motivation in Homeschoolers
  • B.S. in Psychology, Mercy College, New York, 1999. Summa Cum Laude

Dr. Riley has taught every course within the Adolescent Special Education Program, including:

  • SPED 700.50: Social, Historical, and Philosophical Foundations
  • SPED 701: Assessment of Students with Learning Disabilities
  • SPED 771: Methods of Teaching Reading for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities
  • SPED 772/774: Supervised Clinical Teaching of Students with Learning Disabilities
  • SPED 773: Methods of Teaching Math for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities
  • SPED 775: Student Teaching/Practicum (Adolescent Special Education Gr. 7 – 12)

Dr. Riley’s research interests include intrinsic motivation in education, Self Determination Theory, Cognitive Evaluation Theory, Homeschooling, Unschooling, Online and Distance Learning in Higher Education, and Supported Decision Making in students with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

  • Gray, P. & Riley, G. (2013). The challenges and benefits of unschooling, according to 232 families who have chosen that route. Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, Volume 7, Issue 14.
  • Riley, G. (2015). Differences in competence, autonomy, and relatedness between home educated and traditionally educated young adults. International Social Science Review, 90 (2), 1 – 27.
  • Gray, P. & Riley, G. (2015). Grown unschoolers’ evaluations of their unschooling experience: Report I on a survey of 75 unschooled adults. Other Education, Volume 4, Issue 2, 8 – 32.
  • Riley, G. & Gray, P. (2015). Grown unschoolers’ experiences with higher education and employment: Report II on a survey of 75 unschooled adults. Other Education, Volume 4, Issue 2, 33 – 53.
  • Riley, G. (2016). Unschooling in Hong Kong: A case study. Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning. 10, 1 – 15.
  • Riley, G. (2016). The role of Self Determination Theory and Cognitive Evaluation Theory in home education. Cogent Education. 3, 1 – 7.
  • Riley, G. (2018). A qualitative exploration of the experiences of individuals who have identified as LGBTQ and who have homeschooled or unschooled. Other Education, 7 (1). 3 – 18.
  • Riley, G. (2018). Unschooling: A direct application of Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory and Cognitive Evaluation Theory. European Journal of Alternative Education Studies, 3 (1), 54 – 61.
  • Riley, G. (2018). Exploring unschoolers’ experiences in learning to read: How reading happens within the self directed learning environment. Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, 12 (24), 1 – 33.
  • Riley, G. (July, 2020). Unschooling: Exploring learning beyond the classroom. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Riley, G. (2020). The Academic and Social Outcomes of those who have Homeschooled. In Global Perspectives on Home Education in the 21st Century. Hersey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
  • Riley, G. & Riley, B. (2021). A Unique Education: Unschooling to Adulthood. This is Homeschooling: Stories of Unconventional Learning Practices on the Road and In Nature. New York: Routledge.
  • Gray, P., Riley, G., Currie-Knight, K. (2021). Former students’ evaluations of experiences at a democratic school: Roles of the democratic processes, staff, and the community of students. Other Education, 10 (2), pp. 4-25.
  • Riley, G. (2021). The Homeschooling Starter Guide. Rockridge Press.
  • Ricci, C. & Riley, G. (2022). The Joys of Self-Determined Learning: A Collection of Essays. Toronto: Ricci Publishing.
  • Recipient of a New York State Developmental Disability Planning Council Grant to develop and pilot Supported Decision Making models for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (1.4 million dollars over 5 years)
  • PSC – CUNY Grant (Traditional A, $3,500).
    Grant Project Title: How Unschoolers Learn to Read
  • Supported Decision Making Curriculum Committee Grant ($3,000)
  • Faculty Innovations in Teaching with Technology (FITT) Grant – 2017
    Creating Interactive and Dynamic Online Options (with Professor Kristen Hodnett) ($3,500).
  • Faculty Innovations in Teaching with Technology (FITT) Grant – 2019
    Video Supervisory Training for Students in an Online Teacher Education Program – including OER module ($3,000)
  • New York Community Trust Grant – 2019 Training Adolescent Special Education Students in Supported Decision Making Facilitation ($5,000)
  • PSC – CUNY Grant Cycle 52 (Traditional A, $3,500). (2021). Grant Project Title: Unschooling Students with Disabilities
  • Principal Investigator: New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC). (2023 – 2027). Creating a Decision-Making Curriculum for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) in K-12th Grade. ($200,000 per year for 4 years – $800,000 total).