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College of Education > Faculty and Staff Directory > Dr. Deborah L. Schussler

Dr. Deborah L. Schussler

Dr. Deborah L. Schussler
Phone: 8148631314
Office Address:
204H Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Associate Professor of Education


Education Policy Studies


Educational Leadership
Educational Leadership: Teacher Leadership

Other Penn State Affiliations

Prevention Research Center Rock Ethics Institute


Deborah Schussler is an Associate Professor of Education in the Educational Leadership program at The Pennsylvania State University. She is also an Affiliate at the Prevention Research Center and Rock Ethics Institute. She was a high school English teacher for 5 years before becoming a teacher educator. Deborah’s research interests include exploring how prospective teachers acquire the necessary dispositions to meet the needs of all learners. Specifically, Deborah has examined the epistemological nature of dispositions and how teacher education fosters awareness of dispositions to enhance prospective teachers' knowledge, skills, and moral sensibilities. Teachers who are reflective and mindful about their intended aims and how they achieve those aims in their practice, are better prepared to nurture the academic and social-emotional development of their learners. Therefore, Deborah's recent work has strategically focused on mindfulness-based programs designed to enhance teachers’ social-emotional competencies and communication skills.

Areas of Expertise

Education Levels

Professional Education

Educational Studies

Ethics and Values

Individual Difference


Leadership Preparation

Educational Leadership
Teacher Prep

Methodological Research

Qualitative Research

Teacher Preparation

Professional Development

Courses Taught

EDLDR 532 Pro-Seminar (Educational Leadership program doctoral program)
EDLDR 894 Capstone Seminar (Teacher Leadership)
CI 405 Classroom Management

Education History

Ed.D. Vanderbilt University M.Ed. Middle Tennessee State University B.S. Indiana University

Representative Publications

Schussler, D. L., Frank, J. L., Lee, T. K. & Mahfouz, J. (in press). Using Virtual Role-Play to Enhance Teacher Candidates’ Skills in Responding to Bullying. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education.

Schussler, D. L. (2017). Teacher dispositions as a means to moral practice. In E. Campbell & K. Wang (Eds.), Professional ethics and the moral work of teaching: Western contemporary research. Fuzhou, Fujian, PRC: Fujian Education Press.

Schussler, D. L., Jennings, P. A., Sharp, J. & Frank, J. L. (2016). Improving teacher awareness and well-being through CARE: A qualitative analysis of the underlying mechanisms. Mindfulness 7(1), 130-142.

Schussler, D. L. & Murrell, P. M.,  (2016). Teaching as moral practice: Teacher preparation as cultivating “practical wisdom.” In J. Chi-Kin Lee & C. Day (Eds.), Quality and change in teacher education: Western and Chinese perspectives. New York, NY: Springer.

Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Cook, M., Wilson, N. M., Hillemeier, M., Pun, W. H., & Schussler, D. L. (2016). Are black children disproportionately represented in special education? Findings from studies using covariate adjustment. Exceptional Children. doi: 10.1177/0014402916664042


Center for Online Innovations in Learning

“Using Virtual Roleplay Modules to Accelerate Student Mastery of Effective Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Resolution Strategies: Phase 2,” Penn State University, 2015-2016, (Principal Investigator)

Institute for Education Sciences – Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning, Goal 2

“Project RESPECT: A Proposal to develop the Responding in Emotionally Supportive and Positive ways in Educational Communication skills Training program,” Penn State University, 2015-2018, (co-Principal Investigator)

Institute for Education Sciences – Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning, Goal 2

“Promoting Adolescent Well-Being and Academic Performance Through Mindfulness-based Emotion Regulation Skills Instruction,” Penn State University, 2014-2017, (co-Investigator)

Institute for Education Sciences – Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning, Goal 3

“Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): A Cluster Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial,” Penn State University, 2013-2017, (co-Investigator)

PSU Pathway to Partnerships (P3) – Stage 1

“Mindfulness-based interventions for obesity and related disorders” 2015 (co-Investigator)

Center for Online Innovations in Learning

“Using Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate Student Mastery of Effective Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Resolution Strategies,” Penn State University, 2013-2014, (co-Principal Investigator)

Faculty Development Grant

“Contemplative Pedagogy, Mindfulness, and Teacher Dispositions,” Villanova University, 2011.

Summer Research Fellowship and Research Support Grant

“Using Case Studies to Develop Awareness of Dispositions,” Villanova University, 2007, (Principal Investigator)

Villanova Institute of Teaching and Learning Mini-Grant

“Teacher Education Portfolio Project,” Villanova University. (Principal Investigator)