Ozcan Gulacar


Position Title
Professor of Teaching (SRLSOE)

316 Chemistry

Dr. Gulacar's research group specializes in studying problem-solving methods and enhancing the academic performance of high school and college students in solving problems. By employing both qualitative and quantitative approaches, we delve into the thought processes of problem solvers to grasp how they utilize their knowledge in tackling a variety of challenges. It is crucial to illuminate the interaction between problem-solving performance and the structure of one's knowledge base. Aligned with constructivist theories, knowledge formation occurs through a dynamic interplay between learners' experiences and existing knowledge, evolving into a more organized form as they develop deeper conceptual comprehension. Students' problem-solving competence is intricately linked to their ability to construct and transform knowledge. Understanding this process and its variables is paramount for effectively addressing the factors behind students' struggles and setbacks in problem solving. Recognizing that students' knowledge system is not the sole determinant of their problem-solving proficiency, we also scrutinize the impact of instructional methods, educational technology, cognitive factors, motivation, attitude, and self-efficacy on students' ability to learn and apply knowledge in problem-solving scenarios. Furthermore, drawing from our ongoing and past investigations, we adapt teaching techniques, devise more efficient instructional methods, and create educational materials that cater to the diverse learning styles, needs, and interests of various student populations in secondary schools and colleges, subsequently evaluating their efficacy.

Education, Awards and Professional Highlights

  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2024)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching, UC Davis (2024)
  • Alumni Achievement Award, Mallinson Institute for Science Education (2023)
  • College of Letters and Science Teaching Award, UC Davis (2022)
  • Promoted to Associate Professor of Teaching (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