Don Opitz began serving as interim dean of the School for New Learning in July 2018. A DePaul alumnus, Opitz has devoted his career to advancing the education of nontraditional learners who seek to be leaders and agents of change in their professional, public and personal spheres of life.
Prior to joining DePaul’s faculty in 2006, Opitz held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctorate in history of science and technology. He directed the Minnesota Women’s Center and, afterwards, the Math Center in General College, the University of Minnesota's former gateway for working adult, nontraditional and first-generation college students.
At DePaul’s School for New Learning, Opitz previously served as senior director of mentoring and student services, and as associate dean of academic affairs and enrollment management, charged with overseeing the school’s 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and its online learning unit. In this role, he shepherded the approval and launch of two new professional studies bachelor’s programs in business administration and computing. In 2017 he served on DePaul’s 2024 strategic planning team focused on enrollment and student success strategies.
Opitz's ongoing research in the history of science focuses on women and gender in science and science in Victorian culture. He is an editor of two books and author of more than 40 essays, including refereed journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. He is assistant editor of “Endeavour,” a leading journal in the history and philosophy of science, and a volume co-editor of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project. He has won several grants and fellowships in support of his research from a range of funders including the National Science Foundation. Professionally active, he has served on committees of the History of Science Society and currently serves as secretary of the Commission on Women and Gender Studies of the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.
A 2018-20 faculty fellow of the DePaul Humanities Center, Opitz also is a faculty member of DePaul’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Program and an affiliated scholar in the Department of History.
A native of Chicago, Opitz currently lives in Evanston. Among his downtime activities, he especially enjoys running, gardening and playing the French horn.
Recent Awards and Grants
DePaul Academic Initiatives Pool Grant: “Plant Matters,” 2017
NSF International Travel Grants: “Science as Power,” 2016; “Gendering Science,” 2015
Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine Research Fellow, 2013-2014
DePaul Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, 2010-2011
DePaul Institute for Nature & Culture Faculty Fellowship, 2009
Domesticity in the Making of Modern Science. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lykknes, A., D.L. Opitz, and B. Van Tiggelen, eds. (2012). For Better or For Worse? Collaborative Couples in the Sciences. Basel: Birkhauser.
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
Opitz, D.L. (2016). “Domestic Space.” Chapter 18 in A Companion to the History of Science, ed. Bernard V. Lightman. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.
Opitz, D.L. (2016). “Gender and Science.” Pp. 382-386 in A Companion to the History of American Science , ed. Mark A. Largent. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.
Opitz, D.L. (2014). "'Back to the land': Lady Warwick and the Movement for Women's Collegiate Agricultural Education" Agricultural History Review 62: 119-145
Opitz, D.L. (2014). "'The sceptre of her pow'r': Nymphs, Nobility, and Nomenclature in Early Victorian Education" British Journal for the History of Science 47: 67-94.
Opitz, D. L. (2013) "'A Triumph of Brains over Brute': Women and Science at the Horticultural College, Swanley, 1890-1910" Isis 104: 30-62.
Opitz, D. L. (2011). Cultivating Genetics in the Country: Whittingehame Lodge, Cambridge. Pp. 73-98 in Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, ed. C. W. J. Withers and D. N. Livingstone. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Opitz, D. L. (2010). Three Generations in the Life of the Minnesota Women's Center: A History: 1960-2000, 2nd edn., University of Minnesota.