Thomas J. McKenna


Thomas TJ McKenna

Dr. Thomas “TJ” McKenna is a lecturer in Science Education at BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. He works at the nexus of policy, practice, and research in ways that deepen the understanding of how to make progress on the ecological problem of supporting teachers (pre-service & in-service) in their efforts to offer high quality science learning to all of our students.

Dr. McKenna also is the founder and creator of, a website designed to be educative and support teachers in learning more about phenomena-based instruction. The site has 3.5 million views and engages teachers though phenomena on the site and through the companion Twitter account.


Preparing the Next Generation of Science Teachers, with Flair,” BU Today

TJ McKenna ’18 Ph.D.: Changing How We Teach Science,”

PhD, Science Ed Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut
MS, Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
BS, Biology, Central Connecticut State University



CH 300/515: Elementary Science Methods
SED SC570 OL: Secondary Science Methods I
SED SC572 OL: Secondary Science Methods II
SC 521: STEM Education Theory & Practice
ED 111: Technology in Education
ED 130/131: Exploring Professions: STEM Learning, Action, & Impact
BF/BI510: IRHS Institutional Racism in Health and Science

Dr. McKenna's research focuses understanding where, what, and how teachers learn to teach science over the course of their careers and how we can encourage and support ongoing changes to improve science teaching, and–more importantly– science learning. In addition, he is interested in designing and researching innovative approaches to professional development that strengthen science teacher learning and build organizational capacity for educational reform.

Visit Thomas McKenna's Faculty Profile
Professor Thomas McKenna Invited to NSF-Funded Crosscutting Concept Summit


McKenna, T.J. (2022, March) Building an Elementary Science Teacher Education Community to Advance Equity and Justice [Conference session], National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Vancouver, CA

McKenna, T.J. (2022, April) Asset-Based Approaches to Science Learning [Leadership Series], National Science Education Leadership Association, Virtual

McKenna, T.J. (2021, November) Can Education Change the World? [Keynote Address], Curiosity and Learning Conference, Virtual

McKenna, T.J. (2021, October) Making Science Education Meaningful [Keynote Address], Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science, Lincoln, NE

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