College appoints two new department heads

The Purdue University College of Education has named two new department heads for the Departments of Educational Studies and for Curriculum and Instruction.

Head of Curriculum & Instruction (EDCI)

Selcen Siddika Guzey
S. Selcen Guzey

Based on a very strong recommendation from the College’s Curriculum and Instructional Head Search Committee, S. Selcen Guzey has accepted the offer to become the next head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Guzey began her appointment as Head on July 1, 2024, replacing Janet Alsup, professor of English education and former head of curriculum and instruction for the past eight years.

“We are very grateful to Professor Alsup who has served the department with sound, ethical leadership,” said Phillip J. VanFossen, interim dean of the College. “Her stewardship over some of the most difficult times benefited both the college, and Purdue.”

Guzey joined the College as an assistant professor in 2014, after serving as a research associate in the STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota, where she also earned her master’s and PhD in science education. At Purdue, she served as the associate head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction since 2021, and as the associate director of Purdue Center for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of STEM (CATALYST) since 2016. She has also served on various department and college-level committees such as chairing the COE Curriculum Committee during the 2021-2022 academic year.  

“The College was delighted that Professor Guzey accepted this offer to serve,” VanFossen said. “Her experience in various leadership roles here in the College, and across campus, have positioned her for success.  I look forward to working closely with her in this fundamental leadership role.”

“I’m eager to collaborate with my Curriculum and Instruction colleagues in my new role as department head. Together, we can continue making a significant impact in various specialized areas within education,” Guzey said. “My vision includes creating additional opportunities for collaboration in our courses, research programs, and community service efforts.”

Head of Educational Studies (EDST)

Christine Kiracofe (Rienstra-Kiracofe)
Christine Kiracofe

Based on a very strong recommendation from the College’s Educational Studies Head Search Committee, Christine Kiracofe (Rienstra Kiracofe) has accepted the offer to become the next head of the Department of Educational Studies.

“I must thank Professor Kiracofe for agreeing to step up and take on this new role during a challenging time,” said VanFossen. “Educational Studies will be better for her having taken on this crucial assignment, and I look forward to working with her.”

Kiracofe began her appointment as Head on June 1, 2024, allowing her to overlap with the current interim head, Ala Samarapungavan, for a smooth transition in leadership.

VanFossen thanked search advisory committee members F. Richard Olenchak, Amanda Case, Terron Phillips, Jennifer Smith, and Anne Traynor. “The work of the committee was timely, efficient, and very effective,” said VanFossen. “The Department was very well served by their work.”

VanFossen also thanked Samarapungavan, professor of educational psychology and research methodology, for serving as interim head over the last two years. “She has provided principled, steady leadership during her tenure as Head,” said VanFossen. “I am personally grateful she accepted this late-career challenge—as is the College and the Department.”

Kiracofe joined Purdue in 2018 after 14 years as a professor at Northern Illinois University, where she taught in the College of Education and as an adjunct professor in the College of Law. At Purdue she and colleague Lisa L. Snodgrass were tasked with re-envisioning and launching a new PhD program in higher education in 2019. She directed this PhD program until June 1, when she began serving as the Educational Studies department head. Her research relates to the intersection of education law and finance, specifically school funding litigation.

Sources: Christine Rienstra-Kiracofe,; S. Selcen Guzey,