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

Selected Publications

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).

Hansen, D. M., Moore, W. & Jessop, N. (2017). Youth Program Adult Leader’s Directive Assistance and Autonomy Support, and Development of Adolescents’ Agency Capacity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1-15. DOI:10.1111/jora.12355

Herrmann, S. D., & Hansen, D. M. (2015). Active Voice: Fitness and Academic Achievement in Children — Not Necessarily a Straightforward Association . Sports Medicine Bulletin,(March 3).

Selected Presentations

Hansen, D. M. & Jessop, N. . (07/31/2017). The History, Evolutions, and Future of the Youth Experience Survey. International Society of Sport Psychology . Sevilla, Spain

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
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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