Jeffrey Kuzmic Ph.D., Associate Professor, Curriculum Studies
Dr. Jeffrey Kuzmic, Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies, has been educating DePaul University students for the past two decades. Dr. Kuzmic completed his undergraduate studies in secondary education, at Purdue University. His educational career started as a middle and high school teacher, and during this time, he also pursued a master’s degree from Indiana University in Comparative Education. The first graduate level course Dr. Kuzmic completed, inspired him to further his education. Like many teachers, Dr. Kuzmic had questions about teaching styles and management methods, and this curiosity led him to earn his Ph.D. in Curriculum Inquiry from Indiana University.
One of his research topics of interest is Gender, Teaching, and Education, in which he studies gender issues and democracy in education. The purpose of his research is to see how different factors may impact individual’s philosophy of teaching and their professional identity. It was not until Dr. Kuzmic accepted a faculty position at the University of Delaware, where he taught Social Studies Methods for elementary education candidates that his doctoral research became applicable to his own teaching. Before, Dr. Kuzmic explained he “never thought about the [gender and democracy] issues and what it means in his roles as a researcher and what it means in his role as a teacher.” Dr. Kuzmic incrementally piloted a Gender, Teaching, and Education study with his Social Studies Methods classes by attempting to engage students to think about how their gender impacts the education system. This research topic pushed Dr. Kuzmic to study multiple outside forces that influence schools including demographic factors like race and class.
Dr. Kuzmic teaches a variety of graduate courses at both the master’s and doctoral levels, including The History of Curriculum Practice and Curriculum Discourses/Perspectives Over Time. As a collegiate educator, Dr. Kuzmic embeds his K-12 teaching roots into his curriculum. For example, his coursework draws on his own K-12 teaching experience, questions, and uncertainties acquired as a basis for helping students in similar situations. He states, “The roots in the K-12 classroom are what give meaning to my work at the collegiate level. My teaching influences the way I think about my scholarship and research.”
As a faculty member in the Ed.D program, Dr. Kuzmic motivates students to better understand their professional identity and their scholarly responsibilities to the education system. He believes that a foundational aspect of the doctoral program for faculty is to assist practitioners in developing the skills needed to engage the world around them, specifically in the form of a dissertation. The scholarly work he conducts with his students is extremely rewarding. Says, Dr. Kuzmic “I learn as much from them as I hope they learn from me, which is at the heart of what it means to be part of a teaching and learning dynamic”.
At the department level, Dr. Kuzmic and colleague Dr. Joby Gardner work to develop new programs that correspond with educational trends at the state and national levels. In collaboration with the Educational Leadership program, Dr. Kuzmic and Gardner developed and piloted the Teacher Leader endorsement. Dr. Kuzmic believes the endorsement pushes practitioners to think about their roles both in the classroom and within their schools, differently. He wants practitioners to think about their professional identity transpiring past teacher or administrator but as an impactful leader within their school.
Dr. Kuzmic is also a member of the College of Education Faculty Council. The council oversees and facilitates the ongoing work within the College. He enjoys his work as a scholar, research, and teacher yet knows he has a responsibility to make the COE function at its highest, most innovative capacity. Working with the council inspires Kuzmic to think of himself as part of a greater whole. “And what it does for us, faculty members in particular, move beyond self and think of our collective responsibilities to this institution in terms of how we operate, how we engage the curriculum, and how we envision the future of this college” says Dr. Kuzmic.
Residing in Chicago for roughly 22 years, Dr. Kuzmic sees the city’s wonders through a professional and personal lens. He believes the city impacts his students and his understanding of educational issues. The culture, music, aesthetics that Chicago offers is fascinating to Dr. Kuzmic. He enjoys attending jazz concerts throughout the city, and collecting vinyl records. Since he was a teenager, Dr. Kuzmic has enjoyed the art of carpentry. Currently, he is building small projects using old-style carpentry methods. In the future, Dr. Kuzmic hopes to build furniture.