Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction Division and Undergraduate Program Chair


PhD in Polymer Chemistry, Sussex University, United Kingdom

MSc in Polymer Science, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

BSc in Chemistry, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Post Graduate Certificate in Secondary Science Education, Advanced Skills Teacher Accreditation, Southampton University, United Kingdom

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Cert in Assessing Vocational Achievement, UAE


Dr. Dean Cairns is a former scientist, science teacher, educational consultant and science advisor from the UK. Dean completed his BSc in Chemistry and his MSc in Polymer Science at Lancaster University. After a short time in the chemical industry he undertook a PhD at Sussex University in Polymer Chemistry. He then worked as a surface physics and polymer science researcher in various European laboratories until 1999 before changing career to become a science teacher in the year 2000, through the PGCE qualification route. Dr. Cairns went on to spend 12 years in the education sector in the UK as a science teacher, department head and key stage 3 science consultant. His students and departments regularly placed in the 95% percentile, nationwide, for value-added and overall attainment in key stage 2 and 3 science. In 2009 Dean achieved Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) status by consistently demonstrating outstanding attainment across the UK Teacher Standards. The AST role involved in-reach and out-reach work in teaching and learning, through modelling best practice and advising leaders and middle-leaders in the local area.

Dr. Dean moved to the UAE in 2012 and worked for 2 years as a science advisor and curriculum developer for ADEK. He worked on a team to develop the Cycle 2 science curriculum and accompanying assessment framework and teacher support documentation. He moved into higher education as an Assistant Professor at the ECAE in 2014. Dean’s roles have included Division Head for Science, Division Head for Science and Mathematics and the Program Chair for Undergraduate Programs. He has taught undergraduate courses in the sciences, science pedagogical content knowledge and integrated curriculum and assessment.

In terms of scholarship, Dean has a research background in polymer science (conducting polymer colloids and their applications) and is currently building his educational research profile. Areas of current research interest include: science teaching methods (inquiry-based learning and direct instruction), educational measurement and multi-level modelling as a means of determining the effectiveness of instructional techniques. Dean is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education at the University of Bath.


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Research Journals

Cairns, D. & Areepattamannil, S. (2017). Exploring the Relations of Inquiry-Based Teaching to Science Achievement and Dispositions in 54 Countries. Research in Science Education, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-017-9639-x

Pegus, A., Kirkwood, D., Cairns, D.B., Armes, S. P., & Stace, A. J. (2005). Depth profiling of sterically stabilised polystyrene nanoparticles using laser ablation/ionisation mass spectrometric methods. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 7(12), 2519-2525.

Cairns, D., Khan, M., Perruchot, C., Riede, A., & Armes, S. (2003). Synthesis and characterization of polypyrrole-coated poly (alkyl methacrylate) latex particles. Chemistry of Materials, 15(1), 233-239.

Cairns, D., Armes, S., Chehimi, M., Perruchot, C., & Delamar, M. (1999). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy characterization of submicrometer-sized polypyrrole-polystyrene composites. Langmuir, 15(23), 8059-8066.

Cairns, D., Armes, S., & Bremer, L. (1999). Synthesis and characterization of submicrometer-sized polypyrrole-polystyrene composite particles. Langmuir, 15(23), 8052-8058.

Barthet, C., Hickey, A. J., Cairns, D.B., & Armes, S. P. (1999). Synthesis of Novel Polymer–Silica Colloidal Nanocomposites via Free-Radical Polymerization of Vinyl Monomers. Advanced Materials, 11(5), 408-410.

Burchell, M. J., Cole, M., Lascelles, S., Cairns, D., Khan, M., Barthet, C., . . . Armes, S. P. (1999). Acceleration of conducting polymer-coated latex particles as projectiles in hypervelocity impact experiments. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 32(14), 1719.

Maeda, S., Cairns, D., Armes, S. (1997). New reactive polyelectrolyte stabilizers for polyaniline colloids. European polymer journal. 33(3), 245-253.

Books, Chapters in Books and Other

Book Chapters:

Dickson, M., Fidalgo, P. & Cairns, D. (In-press). The ‘S’ and ‘T’ in STEM: Integrating Science and Educational Technology in UAE Schools. In Gallagher, K. (Ed.), Education in the UAE: Innovation and Transformation.

Editorial Duties:

Editorial advisory board member, (2018). Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives on 3D Printing in Education. IGI Global.