November Faculty Series: Dr. Eugene Provenzo

For 28 years Dr. Eugene Provenzo’s passion to learn and teach has guided him into a variety of avenues as a scholar and professor at UM. From investigating the effects of video games on children to chronicling the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, Provenzo has used his interests in learning to teach others.

“I’ve always liked learning. Coming from a family of teachers it seemed to me that working at the University as a professor was sort of an ideal job,” Provenzo said. “You not only get to research and be a scholar and learn but you get to teach people.”

At the School of Education, Provenzo teaches several courses in the social and cultural foundations of education, including an introductory class for undergraduates as well as courses like Computers and Education and History of American Education for doctoral and master students.

Provenzo’s experiences in the area of education has taught him to ask the important questions and to learn from other teachers and students.

“I have a natural tendency towards being a little overly serious or pompous. My students have helped me laugh at myself, and I think occasionally we have to laugh at ourselves,” Provenzo said. “We ought to worry more about the joy of learning and being with others in community.”

Apart from being a serious teacher and scholar, Provenzo also makes time for many hobbies. He has an extensive wind-up toy collection, is a woodworker and sculptor and has even published children’s books, including Favorite Board Games You Can Make and Play.

Despite winning the University-wide undergraduate teaching award in 1991, being interviewed by ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and BBC radio and becoming a well-known expert on the impact of computers on contemporary children, his most memorable accomplishments are far beyond accolades.

Provenzo mentioned his top three accomplishments:

“Being successfully married to a wonderful woman for 30 years, Asterie Baker Provenzo, having made something of a difference in terms of improving conditions of education for children in the United States through my research and having taught several generations of UM graduates and hopefully taught them well,” Provenzo said.

For almost three decades, Provenzo has called UM home, and he sees himself there 10 years from now. He feels that the University has benefited with each change it has undergone.

“I feel I’ve grown and matured with the University as the University itself has grown and matured,” Provenzo said. “One of the things that impresses me is that no matter how imperfect an institution like UM may be, as all institutions are, it has evolved, and I think we come out better every time.”

Paul Fajardo can be contacted at