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Associate professor receives 2024 Young Investigator Award from SfNC

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   Students and Faculty

Denis Dumas, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, recently received the 2024 Young Investigator Award from the Society for the Neuroscience of Creativity (SfNC) for his work in the field of gifted and creative education.

The award recognizes outstanding creativity scholars who received their Ph.D. degree or entered the field of creativity within the past 10 years.

“I was so honored to receive this award from SfNC,” said Dumas. “Creativity is a very complex phenomenon and understanding it requires many types of scientists working together, including neuroscientists and educational psychologists.”

SfNC seeks to foster advances in all areas of creativity research by providing a forum to enhance innovation, education, health, industry, policymaking, and the arts.

Dumas works to deepen the scientific understanding of learning and creativity, while also supporting the needs of educational stakeholders to make informed, data-driven decisions.

To accomplish this, Dumas and his colleagues have built new tests and measures, tracked nonlinear learning trajectories over the course of schooling, and modeled the cognitive processes involved in expert performance, among many other projects.

As an overarching goal, he seeks to identify students’ potential to learn what may otherwise be underestimated.

Dumas’ work has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the Naval Research Lab, and the National Academy of Education. He is currently an associate editor of Thinking Skills and Creativity and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Educational Psychology, Review of Educational Research, Contemporary Educational Psychology, and the Journal of Creative Behavior.

“I think this award illustrates how doing research in schools does not mean decreasing the rigor of the work,” said Dumas. “In fact, it means the opposite—elevating the research to the point where it can influence important educational decisions that impact real kids in real classrooms. If we work together, we can create a future where all children have license to be creative at school.”

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