Ideas captivate doctoral grad

May 26, 2005, vol. 33, no. 3
By Stuart Colcleugh

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A dean's medal is awarded to a top graduating student from each faculty, both undergraduate and graduate. The student is recommended by the faculty dean and must be among the top five per cent of graduating students.

Krista Muis is fascinated with the idea of - the idea of ideas. More specifically, Muis is captivated by epistemology - the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, source and range of ideas and knowledge. She is the dean of graduate studies convocation medal winner in the faculty of education

“My PhD thesis is about students' beliefs about mathematics knowledge and how that influences how they actually engage in problem solving,” Muis says from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas where she is pursuing her own ideas about ideas as an assistant professor in the educational psychology department.

The Kingston, Ontario native earned an honours BA in psychology from the University of Waterloo and an MA in psychophysics and math psychology from the University of Victoria. She completed her PhD in educational psychology at SFU in 12 semesters, earning the deans medal with a perfect 4.33 cumulative grade point average.

Muis has earned a number of other academic awards as well, the most recent being the Dunlop award for best dissertation in educational psychology from the Canadian Association for Educational Psychology and the Canadian Society for the Study of Education.

Muis's research interests involve how students' epistemic beliefs influence various facets of learning, motivation, and academic performance.

She is also exploring what cognitive operations are involved in learning mathematics and what strategies learners can use to improve understanding, including an examination of how critical thinking and problem solving develop. She is combining both lines of research to assess contemporary models of self-regulated learning.

Muis credits the support of her parents, husband and her professors for her success at SFU, particularly educational psychologists Jack Martin and Phil Winne.

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