RALEIGH, N.C. — Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby, Ph.D., will be the next head of the NC State College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS), effective Aug. 1. She will succeed John K. Lee, Ph.D., who became the college’s associate dean for faculty and academic affairs July 1, 2020.
“Dr. DeCuir-Gunby is highly-regarded and respected by her peers across the college and nation. Under her thoughtful, inclusive, and principled leadership, I have no doubt that TELS will build off the progress it has made in recent years to become a cohesive department nationally recognized for its research, scholarship, and teaching,” said NC State College of Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz. “Dr. DeCuir-Gunby will work with faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue to raise TELS’ reputation and standards of excellence, as well as implement the strategies, policies and procedures needed to advance its critical work in solving educational problems.”
Currently, DeCuir-Gunby is a professor of educational psychology, director of graduate programs, and associate department head of TELS. She also currently serves on the editorial board for Contemporary Educational Psychology, Educational Psychologist and the American Educational Research Journal. She is also a former associate editor for the American Educational Research Journal.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as the department head of TELS. I look forward to working with the talented and dedicated TELS faculty, staff, students and alumni. As we Think and Do, together as a community, TELS will address some of the most challenging and pressing issues in education,” DeCuir-Gunby said. “My priorities include supporting schools and communities during and after the COVID-19 crisis, addressing issues of equity and diversity in undergraduate and graduate education, and raising the academic profile of programs in the TELS department.”
DeCuir-Gunby is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University where she was a recipient of the Paul C. Young Outstanding Undergraduate in Psychology Award and was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. In 1998 she earned her BS degree with a double major in psychology and Spanish, graduating summa cum laude with upper division honors in psychology and both Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions. DeCuir-Gunby then attended the University of Georgia where she was the recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholar Fellowship and the Southern Regional Education Board Dissertation Fellowship. At the University of Georgia, she earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in educational psychology in 2000 and 2003, respectively.
DeCuir-Gunby’s research interests include race and racial identity development, critical race theory, mixed methods research, and emotions in education. She has served as co-principal investigator on two National Science Foundation funded grants, totaling over $4.3 million: Nurturing Mathematics Dreamkeepers and Peer Mentoring Summits for Women Engineering Faculty of Color. Both grants used mixed methods approaches, were multidisciplinary, and explored important issues in diversity and STEM. Her current grant, funded by the Spencer Foundation, is a qualitative exploration of Black essential worker mothers and their experiences with distance learning during COVID-19.
DeCuir-Gunby’s work is highly cited and has been featured in top-tier journals such as Contemporary Educational Psychology, Educational Psychologist, Educational Researcher, and Review of Educational Research, among others. Also, DeCuir-Gunby has served as the co-author or co-editor of several books, including a book documenting a teacher professional development study merging critical multiculturalism and mathematics, an edited collection on race and ethnicity in the study of motivation in education, a textbook on how to develop mixed methods research proposals, and an edited volume discussing critical race research approaches.
DeCuir-Gunby has received numerous awards. In 2012, she was inducted into the NC State University Academy of Outstanding Teachers and received the NC State University Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award. In 2013, she was awarded the inaugural NC State University Faculty Scholar award which recognizes academic leadership and achievement. In 2018, DeCuir-Gunby received the NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award for outstanding research and was inducted into the Research Leadership Academy for leadership and mentoring in research. She was awarded the University of Georgia’s College of Education 2015-2016 Outstanding Educator Award for alumni.