Dana Franz (Faculty)
Dana Franz is passionate about effective teaching and learning, and she is playing a major role in developing Mississippi’s teacher workforce by helping educators to have a greater impact on their students.
After teaching math in a secondary classroom for 12 years, Franz earned her doctoral degree from Texas A&M in educational psychology with an emphasis in at-risk learners. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in math education and special education both are from Trinity University in San Antonio. She said having the first-hand experience of a classroom teacher is vitally important to those in her field who are teaching pedagogy and best practices to other educators seeking advanced degrees.
An MSU professor of curriculum, instruction and special education, she joined the university in 2002 and recently has been promoted to the rank of full professor. She primarily works with students who are already working in schools or plan to work as middle-school and high-school teachers.
“Most of my former students have gotten Ph.D.’s with an emphasis in mathematics,” she said, explaining that every doctoral student in her department’s Ph.D. program has at least three years of teaching experience in a secondary classroom setting. She also teaches an undergraduate practicum class.
“A lot of what we do is trying to help people understand how children and young people learn,” she said.
Franz said she enjoys helping college-level students explore their personal strengths, as well as what they enjoy, to figure out the career pathway that’s the right fit for them.
“I think I enjoy the most helping my students, whether undergraduate or graduate, to think about how they can have the most impact on education in this country,” Franz said.
In addition to her responsibilities at Mississippi State, Franz is serving as part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ “Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership.” She is working as part of a research action cluster studying the recruitment and retention of teaching professionals.
“We are looking at ways to make teaching something that many people will consider as a possible career,” Franz said.