Ozcan Gulacar

Ozcan Gulacar

Position Title
Associate Professor of Teaching (LSOE)

316 Chemistry

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)

Representative Publications