photo of Mary John O'Hair


Mary John O’Hair, Ed.D.

Department of Educational Leadership Studies
111C Dickey Hall
(859) 257-8921

Dr. Mary John O’Hair is a professor of Educational Leadership Studies at the University of Kentucky. Dr. O’Hair served as dean of the UK College of Education for nine years (2009-2018). Prior to moving to Kentucky, she served as vice provost and K20 Center director at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. O’Hair began her career as a middle school teacher in Texas and New Mexico. She has a distinguished teaching record at four universities. Dr. O’Hair has led local and global educational transformation initiatives and served as principal investigator for grants totaling more than $40 million designed to improve learning and leading in P-12 and higher education, including one U.S. patent for co-inventing an electronic game-based learning system. She was the founding editor of Teacher Education Yearbook (Corwin Press; Association of Teacher Educators) and has served as co-editor and associate editor for multiple publications in educational leadership and communication disciplines. Dr. O’Hair has published numerous journal articles and books on topics including educational partnerships, social justice, network learning, organizational communication, and democratic schooling. Recent edited scholarly books include: Handbook of Applied Communication Research Volumes 1 & 2 (2020); Communicating Science in Times of Crisis: COVID-19 Pandemic Volume 1 (2021); and Catastrophic Events: Communicating Science in Times of Crisis Volume 2 (2022, expected).

Dr. O’Hair has served on multiple national and state boards, including the Association of Teacher Educators; the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board; the USDE Regional Education Lab – Appalachia; and the Phi Delta Kappa, International.

Dr. O’Hair’s research and teaching interests include educational leadership, organizational learning, risk/crisis communication, and transdisciplinary engaged scholarship.

CV – (PDF)

Research categories: Communication, Educational Leadership, Innovation, Learning