Dr. Michael Gurlea joins Ball State as the Director of Social Studies Education and Assistant Professor of History.
Dr. Michael Gurlea earned his Bachelor of Arts in 2011 in History and Government at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. After this, he earned his Master of Arts in Secondary Education with a focus on Social Studies Education.
Before becoming a new faculty member at Ball State, Dr. Gurlea was a high school social studies teacher for six years at John Champe High School in Loudoun County, Virginia. Most recently, he lived for four years in Charlottesville, VA where he served as a Research and Teaching Assistant as he completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education with a focus on Social Studies Education.
What initially drew you to your field of study/piqued your interest?
When I was in high school I had a very influential history teacher my sophomore year, Ms. Salyers. Not only did she find interesting and engaging ways to teach content, but she also had a way of making all students feel welcome in her classroom. I obviously developed a passion for the subject of history, but I also felt a calling to help students feel more welcome in social studies classrooms.
What is your research focus in your department/area of study?
I currently have two areas of research. The first area of study concerns how we assess what students know in social studies education and considers how policies that promote performance assessment impact teachers’ decision-making and student experiences. My second area of interest concerns student experiences of topics in the social studies classroom that may be considered effectively difficult. In other words, content that might trigger an emotional response.
What drew you to Ball State? What are some of your goals for your first year here as a new faculty?
Ball State is a great fit for me as an institution that prides itself on student success. The focus on high-quality instruction and the future career readiness of graduates aligns closely with my philosophy of teacher preparation. This first year I hope to establish myself within the community and get to know local schools and teachers and better understand their needs. This will help me better prepare teacher candidates in my social studies education program.
What are some of your hobbies/non-academic interests?
I could list these forever! First – I have been a runner all my life – it helps me stay fit and keeps me grounded. I also love music, I have played guitar since I was fourteen. I love using songwriting as an outlet and exploring new music.