Hmelo-Silver named IU distinguished professor

Cindy Hmelo-Silver has been named a distinguished professor by IU, the highest academic title for IU's most outstanding and renowned scholars and researchers.

Hmelo-Silver, the Barbara B. Jacobs Chair in Education and Technology and Professor of Learning Sciences, said she was thrilled and speechless when she heard she was being named a distinguished professor directly from IU President Michael McRobbie.

Her journey to studying learning sciences began early in her career when she worked first as a respiratory therapist and then a respiratory therapy faculty member. As she was teaching, she became fascinated by phenomena related to learning. Personal computers were coming onto the market, sparking her interest further, and she was admitted to a doctoral program at Vanderbilt University.

I have been doing work on problem-based and inquiry learning and trying to understand what it means to teach and learn in ways that honor student and teacher agency and how technology can support that. Certainly, that is my scholarly contribution that I am most proud of.

Cindy Hmelo-Silver

“I have been doing work on problem-based and inquiry learning and trying to understand what it means to teach and learn in ways that honor student and teacher agency and how technology can support that. Certainly, that is my scholarly contribution that I am most proud of,” she said. “But (also) … it is being able to work with awesome colleagues, catalyze collaborations and mentor students and folks early in their careers that I am most proud of.”

Since 2014, Hmelo-Silver has received $9.4 million as principal or co-principal investigator, a number that represents nearly 20 percent of the total amount of external funding secured by the entire School of Education from 2015 to 2020.

Her crucial work continues: two current projects to spotlight include Big Data from Small Groups and Intelligent Augmented Cognition for Teachers, creating game-based learning environments with intelligent support for student collaboration and an intelligent support for teachers with a cognitive assistant. This work is a collaboration with Professor Krista Glazewski and Professor Tom Brush from Instructional Systems Technology and colleagues in artificial intelligence at North Carolina State University and builds on Hmelo-Silver’s work on problem-based learning and thinking about how to support STEM learning and teaching more broadly. She is also working on is Scaffolding Explanations and Epistemic Development for Systems (SEEDS) with Associate Professor of Learning Sciences Joshua Danish, along with others at Rutgers University, work that involves building and investigating tools to help learners think about evidence in learning about systems through building models.

Start your life-changing journey

Schedule a visit   Request information