Preparing Educators as Leaders

David M. Hansen

School of Education - Educational Psychology
Department Chair
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Room 618
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Rd
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Dr. Hansen is an associate professor at the University of Kansas in the School of Education where he teaches and maintains an active research program as a graduate faculty member. He completed his doctorate (2001) and post-doctorate experience (2001 to 2007) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a developmental scientist with an applied research focus. His expertise is on adolescent development and learning in a variety of out-of-school settings, including the full range of organized youth activities (e.g., extracurricular, community-based programs). Dr. Hansen is particularly invested in understanding how adolescents from impoverished communities learn "real-world" skills and competencies needed for adult life and engaged citizenship, such as strategic planning, engagement with challenge, initiative, teamwork, and leadership. He argues that adolescence is the second critical period of human development when an adolescent is neuro-developmentally primed to learn adult-like, real-world skills and competencies. Prior to returning to pursue graduate degrees, Dr. Hansen helped start a non-profit organization in Chicago whose aim was to provide the means for local faith-based organizations to hire full-time staff to assist in addressing issues of poverty and education an a community.

Dr. Hansen specializes in adolescent development in the non-formal settings, including out-of-school activities and employment, and processes of real-world decision making and initiative.


Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois

M.S., Developmental Psychology, Illinois State University

B.A., International Ministries, Moody Bible Institute



EPSY 704:Advanced Educational Psychology: Learning Processes in Education

EPSY 705:Human Development through the Lifespan

EPSY 715:Understanding Research in Education

EPSY 800:Development During Youth and Adulthood

EPSY 980:Advanced Topics: _____

Teaching Interests

  • Adolescent Development
  • Human Development
  • Research Methods
  • Human Learning


Publications grouped by topic

Selected Publications

Trang, K. T., & Hansen, D. M. (in press). The Roles of Teacher Expectations and School Composition on Teacher-Child Relationship Quality. Journal of Teacher Education, 1-16. DOI://

Zhai, Y. Weyhmeyer, M. Jamie, B. & Hansen, D. (2019). Tackling the Wicked Problem of Measuring What Matters: Framing the Questions. ECNU Review of Education, 2(3), 262-278. DOI:10.1177/2096531119878965

Hansen, D. M., Moore, W. & Jessop, N. (2018). Youth Program Adult Leader’s Directive Assistance and Autonomy Support, and Development of Adolescents’ Agency Capacity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 28(2), 505-519. DOI:10.1111/jora.12355

Hansen, D. M., & Jessop, N. (2017). A Context for Self-Determination and Agency: Adolescent Developmental Theories. In M. L Wehmeyer, K. A Shogren, T. D Little, & S. J Lopez (Eds.), Development of Self-Determination Through the Life-Course (pp. 27-46).

Donnelly, J. E., Hillman, C. H., Greene, J. L., & Hansen, D. M. (2017). Physical Activity and Academic Achievement Across the Curriculum (A+PAAC): Primary outcomes from a 3-year cluster-randomized trial. Preventive Medicine, 99, 140-145.

Hansen, D. M., Herrmann, S. D., Lambourne, K. Lee, J. & Donnelly, J. E. (2014). Linear/nonlinear relations of activity and fitness with children's academic achievement. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(12), 2279-85. DOI:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000362

Lambourne, K. Hansen, D. M., Szabo, A. Lee, J. Herrmann, S. D., & Donnelly, J. E. (2013). Fitness mediates the relation between physical activity and academic achievement in elementary school students. Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity, 6(3), 165-171.

Donnelly, J. E., Washburn, R. A., Gibson, C. Sullivan, D. Greene, J. & Hansen, D. M. (2013). Physical Activity and Academic Achievement Across the Curriculum (A+PAAC). Rationale and design of a 3-year, cluster-randomized trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13(307). DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-307

Moore, E. G., & Hansen, D. M. (2012). Assessing the construct-validity of a new self-report measure of adolescents’ engagement with challenge: Evidence for structural- and criterion-validity. Psychology, 3(10), 923-933.

Hansen, D. Skorupski, W. P., & Arrington, T. L. (2010). Differences in developmental experiences for commonly used categories of organized youth activities: It's time for a "tune-up". Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(6), 413-421.

Hansen, D. & Larson, R. (2007). Amplifiers of developmental and negative experiences in organized activities: Dosage, motivation, lead roles and adult-youth ratios. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 360-374.

Larson, R. Hansen, D. & Moneta, G. (2006). Differing profiles of developmental experiences in across types of organized youth activities. Developmental Psychology, 42(5), 849-863.

Alfed, C. Stone, J. R., Aragon, S. Hansen, D. Zirkle, C. Connors, J. Spindler, M. Swineburne-Romine, R. & Woo, H. (2005). The value added by career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) to students' high school experience. Minneapolis, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

Hansen, D. Larson, R. & Dworkin, J. (2003). What adolescents learn in organized youth activities: A survey of self-reported developmental experiences. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(1), 25-55.

Selected Presentations

To learn more about our Educational Psychology faculty members, click here.

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#1 public program in nation for special education
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Assists public schools and other partners in all 105 Kansas counties
$938,377 in scholarship funds awarded to 420+ students
Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
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44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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