Ohio University

Faculty Focus - Debra Dunning

Faculty Focus - Debra Dunning

Full Name: Dr. Debra Therese Dunning

  • Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Title: Coordinator of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Associate Professor of Instruction
  • Department: Patton College of Education
  • Number of Years Teaching: 10 years at OUL; 6 at Ashland University and 2 at The Ohio State University
  • Number of Years at OU Lancaster: 10
  • Degrees/University/Dates: B.S. in Education from Bowling Green State University; MS in Human Ecology from The Ohio State University and Doctorate in Philosophy from The Ohio State University
  • Greatest Accomplishment(s): Raising four children!


Q. What led you to Ohio University and how long have you taught at the Lancaster campus?

  • I have a heart for the regional student. I also feel that everyone is able to complete a college degree and sometimes it takes grit and determination to start college or come back to education. As a first-generation college graduate myself, I want to reach out to students to let them know they do belong and we believe in them.  I want all regional college students to know that they receive a quality education at an affordable price and that my classes are the same caliber as main campus just a different location.

Q: What are the areas of campus and community engagement in which you are involved? How does this support or impact your teaching?

  • I am the advisor for the professional student group associated with OEA; Aspiring Educators which helps education students participate in a professional organization. I am also on the Fairfield County Board of Directions for the Community Action group where I am the child development expert.  I am on the nominating board sub-committee in addition to my other board duties. I serve on two Steering Committees for OUL on the Child Development Committee and Early Elementary Committee working with our school partners. Being part of the community helps me to stay relevant with the needs and focus of the local environment.

Q: Who is your biggest role model and why?

  • My biggest role model is Maria Montessori.  Her life story is amazing and her contribution to the field of education is life-changing. She helped to focus early childhood to what is developmentally appropriate and to model everyday occurrences for young children.

Q. What is one thing your students may not know about you that you would like to share?

  • I love to hike and enjoy finding new hiking paths around Ohio with my husband.

Q. What is one (or two) books every student should read and why?

  • The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis which is a book about traveling around the world on the kindness of others.  Truly inspirational to find out those people with little share what they have to others. Gives the reader a sense of the goodness of the world and people.
  • Above the Line by Urban Meyer. People may think it is only a book about football but, it a book that can relate to life.  He explains how at the line effort it not good enough and if you want to succeed then you need to work above the line.  Great visual for students and simple question to ask yourself, “Are you on the line, below the line or above the line?”

Q. When you were in college, what were your interests?

  • Reading fiction books to relax and taking weekends off to state and national parks to camp or hike.

Q. How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality?

  • Interactive and fun (I hope!)  I explain to students that I am part Italian, so I speak with my hands and I like to move around the room!

Q: What is one piece of advice that you would give students?

  • Take care of your mental and physical health. As you grow older you cannot separate the two.


Also see "Faculty Focus - Matt Wanat" and "Employee Focus - Judy Carey Nevin."