Dawn Mollenkopf, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Teacher Education

Dawn Mollenkopf joined the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2003, founding and directing their Early Childhood Unified program (now called Early Childhood Inclusive). She also created an early childhood specialization in the curriculum and instruction master's program. She regularly teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and was a 2014 recipient for the university-wide Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award.

Mollenkopf has secured funding for five U.S. Department of Education grant-funded projects, all in the area of professional development. Her first was an Early Reading First grant in Topeka, Kansas, designed to assist low-income preschools in developing quality literacy programs for their children. She then earned an Early Childhood Educator Professional Development grant for a statewide project to increase articulation agreements, improve non-traditional course offerings at each of the institutions of higher education and increase course completion for Head Start teachers in qualifying geographical areas.

Mollenkopf secured two grants to help UNK create and develop the administrative infrastructure for Early Childhood Inclusive online, which offers the ECI endorsement program for early childhood educators. She also collaborated with Nebraska Indian Community College on a grant to help native students complete ECU bachelor's degrees.

In addition to her grant work, Mollenkopf has served as president of the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children and as state and regional affiliate to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She is currently the higher education representative for the Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council and co-chairs the Professional Development and Workforce subcommittee. She has served on a number of Nebraska Department of Education committees, contributing to the formation of an early childhood policy handbook, the preschool Early Learning Guidelines, and the Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals. She recently served on the Rule 24 Ad Hoc Early Childhood Endorsement Committee to assist in the revisions of the early childhood endorsements. At the NU system level, she served on the committee that created the white paper for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and currently serves on the strategic planning commission.

In addition to her work in the early childhood field, Mollenkopf has supported the University of Nebraska by serving as faculty senate president for UNK and most recently served on the Search and Advisory Board for the NU presidential search. Mollenkopf earned her doctorate in special education policy integration, with an emphasis in early childhood education, from the University of Kansas in 2002.