ATLANTA/MACON – Mercer University Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis has announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas R. Koballa Jr., currently dean of Georgia Southern University’s College of Education, as dean of Mercer’s Tift College of Education, effective July 1.
“Tom has a long history, both as a department chair and dean, of building teacher education programs that meet the needs of a constantly evolving classroom,” Dr. Davis said. “Among his strengths are student success and faculty development, which are both critically important to an institution like Mercer. We are looking forward to his leadership of our College of Education.”
Dr. Koballa has served as dean and professor of education at Georgia Southern since 2010, following faculty and administrative appointments at the University of Georgia and the University of Texas at Austin for the previous 28 years. His teaching and research interests focus on science teacher learning and mentoring.
Dr. Koballa earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in science education from Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a Master of Education in science education and a Bachelor of Science in biology, both from East Carolina University. Additionally, he participated in the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at Harvard University.
His early-career research on science educators’ attitudes led to better understandings of the relationship between educators’ dispositions and their classroom practice. More recently, his research has involved greater collaboration with P-12 school and community partners and university faculty in a host of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. It has expanded to include investigations of educator mentoring, examinations of the influence of case-based pedagogy and studies of conference participation on the thinking and practice of STEM educators.
Dr. Koballa is past president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, former president of the Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and a recipient of the Association of Science Teacher Education’s Outstanding Mentoring Award. He also holds membership in the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Educational Research Association, National Science Teachers Association and Georgia Science Teachers Association.
His work has been published in refereed journals such as the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, the International Journal of Science Education and the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. He has authored and edited numerous books and textbooks, and published chapters in multiple books, including the Handbook of College Science Teaching and the Second International Handbook of Science Education.
He served as principal investigator of the Georgia Teacher Quality Grants Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and has received additional external funding from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles Foundation.
About the College of Education
Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named for the former women’s college that merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit education.mercer.edu.