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April 28, 2011 Volume 32, No. 29

Meet the Kempers: Deborah Hanuscin


Associate Professor of Education and Physics

Through her teaching and research, Deborah Hanuscin wants to promote a better understanding of science among students as well as have them cultivate an appreciation of science as a vital part of their daily lives. “By focusing on authentic tasks related to real-world contexts and practical applications, instructors can foster both active engagement and meaningful learning,” she says. “In this manner, students can do more than simply plug and chug their way through course material. They can learn to consider issues, not just facts, and use their scientific knowledge to think critically about these issues in their daily decision making.”

Her teaching impacts three groups: prospective and practicing K-12 teachers, doctoral students in science education, and faculty and graduate students in the sciences.

Hanuscin believes it is important to engage the prospective and practicing teachers in critically analyzing their own views and images of science and to challenge their ideas with firsthand experiences and interaction with the science community. Her students attend lectures and seminars, explore current advances and controversies in science, and engage in investigations that have direct relevance to their daily decision making. She encourages students to participate in professional organizations and to take part in new experiences that stimulate their professional development.

At MU since 2004, Hanuscin has received several teaching awards, including the Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award, the College of Education’s Outstanding Undergraduate Instructor of the Year Award and the Bess Schooling Professorship in Elementary Education for Excellence in Teaching.

She received a bachelor’s degree in 1995 from Florida State University–Tallahassee and both a master’s degree in 2001 and a doctorate in 2004 from Indiana University–Bloomington.