Faculty and Staff

headshot of Thomas P. O'Brien

Thomas P. O'Brien


Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership


Thomas O'Brien joined the predecessor of the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership (TLEL) as an assistant professor in 1987. He received a BA in Chemistry and Science Education from Thomas More College and his master's and doctoral degrees in Chemistry & Science Teacher Education from the University of Maryland. He has worked as a science teacher across the K-12 levels and as a national, state and local science curriculum and professional development specialist.


  • MA, PhD, University of Maryland at College Park
  • BA, Thomas More College

Research Interests

  • BSCS 5E “intelligent” CIA model (Engage-Explore-Explain-Elaborate-Evaluate)
  • Real-world relevant FUNomena-first, discrepant events and Science Technology-Society issues
  • Cognitive, evolutionary and social psychology
  • Pre-service and in-service science teacher professional development
  • 360-degree, transformational K-12 educational leadership for all school stakeholders


  • Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) Fellows Award, 2016.
  • Collaborative, funded grants for science curriculum and professional development work totaling more than $4.6M, 1987-2008.
  • New York State Science Education Leadership Association, NYSSLEA Outstanding Leadership in Science Education Award, 2004.
  • SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1999.
  • New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE) R. Neal Appleby Award for New York's State's Outstanding Teacher Educator, 1999.