Associate Professor of Teaching (LSOE)
Dr. Gulacar’s research group focuses on understanding of problem solving procedure and finding ways to increase high school and college students’ achievement in solving problems. We enjoy taking a journey in the mind of a problem solver using qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how that person uses his knowledge to tackle with a wide range of problems and tasks. So, it is important to reveal and highlight the interaction between problem solving performance and nature of knowledge system. As advocated by constructivist theorists, knowledge is created in the minds of learners through interactions between their experiences and pre-existing knowledge and transforms into a more organized form as the learner develops a better conceptual understanding. Students’ ability to deal with problems is closely associated with the success in knowledge construction and transformation. An understanding of this process with its variables is essential to properly address the sources of students’ challenges and failures experienced in problem solving. Knowing that students’ knowledge system is not only the factor affecting their problem solving performance, we also keep a close eye on the influence of teaching methods, educational technology, cognitive variables, motivation, attitude, and self-efficacy on students’ success with learning and application of knowledge in problem solving. In addition, in conjunction with our current and past research, we modify current teaching methods and develop more effective instructional strategies and educational materials addressing different learning styles, needs, and interests of diverse groups of students at secondary schools and colleges and, in turn, examine their effectiveness.
Education, Awards and Professional Highlights
- College of Letters and Science Teaching Award, UC Davis (2022)
- Promoted to Lecturer SOE (2020)
- Fulbright Specialist Award (2020)
- ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement Award (2019)
- UC Davis Committee on Research Grant Award (2016)
- Appointed to UC Davis faculty (2015)
- Best Paper Award, Clute Institute International Academic Conference (2014)
- University Teaching Effectiveness Award, Western Michigan University (2007)
- Ph.D. Western Michigan University (2007)
- B.A. Uludag University, Turkey (1996)
- Gulacar, O., Vernoy, B., Tran, E., Wu, A., Huie, E., Wadhwa, A., Santos, E., Sathe, R., & Milkey, A. (2022). Investigating differences in experts’ chemistry knowledge structures and comparing them to those of general chemistry students. Journal of Chemistry Education, 99(8), 2950-2963.
- Gulacar, O., Wu, A., Prathikanti, V., Vernoy, B., Kim, H., Bacha, T., Oentoro, T., Reedy, K., Navarrete-Pleitez, M. (2022). Benefits of desirable difficulties: Comparing the influence of mixed practice to that of categorized sets of questions on students’ problem-solving performance in chemistry. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 23, 422-435.
- Tribble, E., Skariah, R., Tran, E., & Gulacar, O. (2022). Exploring the effects of a neglected area: The UN Sustainable Development Goals in science education. Journal of College Science Teaching, 51 (3).
- Gulacar, O., Cox, C., and Fynewever, H. (2021). Deconstructing the Problem-Solving Process: Beneath Assigned Points and Beyond Traditional Assessment. In Tsaparlis, G. (Ed.), Problems and Problem Solving in Chemistry Education: Analyzing Data, Looking for Patterns and Making Deductions.
- Gulacar, O., Zowada, C., Burke, S.*, Nabavizadeh, A.*, Bernardo, A.*, & Eilks, I. (2020). Integration of a socio-scientific issue into general chemistry curriculum: Examining the effects on student motivation and self-efficacy. Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy, 15.
- Gulacar, O., Milkey, A.*, & Eilks, I. (2020). Exploring cluster changes in students’ knowledge structures throughout general chemistry. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 16(6).
- Gulacar, O., Milkey, A.*, & McLane, S.*, (2019). Exploring the effect of prior knowledge and gender on undergraduate students’ knowledge structures in chemistry. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 15, 8,
- Gulacar, O., Tan, A.*, Cox, C., Bloomquist, J.*, Okechukwu, J.*, & Cao, N.* (2019). Analyzing characteristics of experts in the context of stoichiometric problem solving. Education Sciences, 9(3), 219,
- Zowada, C., Gulacar, O., & Eilks. I. (2019). Innovating undergraduate general chemistry by integrating sustainability-related socio-scientific issues. Action Research and Innovation in Science Education, 1(2), 3-8. doi: 10.12973/arise/100433.
- Zowada, C., Siol, A., Gulacar, O., & Eilks, I. (2019). Phosphate recovery as a topic for practical and interdisciplinary chemistry learning. Journal of Chemical Education.
- Gulacar, O., Zowada, C., & Eilks, I. (2018). Bringing Chemistry Learning Back to Life and Society. In I. Eilks, S. Markic, & B. Ralle (Eds.), Building Bridges Across Disciplines for Transformative Education and a Sustainable Future. Aachen, Germany: Shaker Verlag.
- Ekmekci, A., & Gulacar, O. (2015). A case study for comparing the effectiveness of a computer simulation and a hands-on activity on learning electric circuits. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, 11(4), 765-775.
- Gulacar, O., Eilks, I., & Bowman, C.R. (2014). Differences in general cognitive abilities and domain-specific skills of higher- and lower-achieving students in stoichiometry. Journal of Chemical Education, 91 (7), 961-968.
- Gulacar, O., Sinan, O., Bowman, C.R., & Yildirim, Y. (2014). Exploring the changes in students’ understanding of the scientific method using word associations. Research in Science Education, 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11165-014-9443-9.
- Sahin, A., Gulacar, O., & Stuessy, C. (2014). High School Students’ Perceptions of the Effects of International Science Olympiad on Their STEM Career Aspirations and Twenty-First Century Skill Development. Research in Science Education, 1-21. doi: 10.1007/s11165-014-9439-5
- Gulacar, O., & Bowman, C.R. (2014). Determining what our students need most: Exploring students’ perceptions and comparing difficulty ratings of students and faculty. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 15 (4), 587-593.
- Bowman, C.R., Gulacar, O., & King, D. B. (2014). Predicting student success via online homework usage.The Journal of Learning Design, 7 (2), 47-61.
- Gulacar, O., Overton, T.L., Bowman, C.R., & Fynewever, F. (2013). A novel code system for revealing sources of students’ difficulties with stoichiometry. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 14 (4), 507-515.
- Gulacar, O., Damkaci, F., & Bowman, C.R. (2013). A comparative study of an online and a face-to-face chemistry course. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 12 (1), 27-40