A closeup of a white woman's face. She is smiling gently. She has brown hair that is blowing in the breeze. She is wearing a grey sweater over a red shirt.

Read more about Dr. Kearns’ professional activities on her Biography page.

Dr. Katie Kearns is an educator and author about the experiences of graduate students. Since 2005, she has worked for Indiana University’s graduate school and teaching center. Her workshops and talks include identity development, building a mentor network, preparing a statement of teaching philosophy, communities of practice, and PhD careers within higher education. Kearns has co-edited two books, Teaching as if Learning Matters (Indiana University Press, 2022) and Higher Education Careers Beyond the Professoriate (Purdue University Press, forthcoming) and published in educational development journals. She received a PhD in ecology and taught biology at the University of Georgia and Boston University.


Katie sporadically writes blogs for graduate students and the people who mentor them about graduate student wellbeing and identity development. Sometimes, she also writes about her personal interests including glass blowing, creativity, explorations, community, and living with complex PTSD.

Recent posts
  • Slow down! Graduate student developers at play
    Graduate student developers regularly perform pure magic with professional development programming for graduate students: pedagogy workshops, learning communities, feedback on teaching philosophy statements, classroom observations. At the same time, we make invisible what a project really costs in terms of specialized time, skills, and energy. 
  • Remembrances of my father
    My father’s work often meant trips to Washington, DC, and we occasionally went with him. I have many fond memories of exploring the National Mall, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum with my dad. We went up the Washington Monument at night. Those trips are part of a connection I feel with him about space-related things. I was in sixth grade when Halley’s Comet made a close pass in 1986; we woke up at 3am multiple times on his work days to hang out in dark fields with amateur astronomers and their telescopes to see the comet.
  • Leaving the hibernation den
    I promised myself that the first day I would work only a half-day in-person. Even that was a lot. The office lights were excruciatingly bright and the considerate, everyday noise of people in the office overwhelmed my sensory system. I retreated to my office “den” where I used desk lamps instead of the overhead lights and kept my door cracked or closed.
  • Baby steps
    Discomforts started setting in by around day three. Sensations which I had long ago adapted to and learned to manage subconsciously were now very consciously noticed new sensations. I felt really overstimulated and mentally exhausted. And cranky and impatient.
  • I identify as a facilitator
    In distant kinship to midwives and doulas, I help graduate student individuals and groups give birth to new ideas and new self-/group-concepts. It’s up to the person or group to decide what direction they want to grow in, and then I help them develop their capacities. That might be about having new ideas, developing a more complete understanding of a problem, nurturing compassion for difficulties, practicing new skills, or committing to a bold action.