Dean Campbell

Dean Campbell

Professor and Co-Director for the Center of STEM Education

    Olin Hall 211
    (309) 677-3029


Ph.D., Chemistry, Northwestern University
M.S., Northwestern University
B.S., University of Wisconsin - Green Bay


Prior to coming to Bradley, Dr. Dean Campbell graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay with a B.S. in chemistry, where he worked with Drs. Jack Norman and Nancy Sell. He spent a summer revising documents at the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant and worked in the ink and adhesives quality control lab at Moore Response Marketing Services. He then earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, working for Dr. Chad Mirkin, and enjoyed postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, working for Dr. Art Ellis.

Dr. Campbell joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Bradley University in 1998 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004 and then Professor in 2015. Dr. Campbell has done sabbatical research projects with Dr. Younan Xia at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA (2004-05), Dr. Keith Stevenson at the University of Texas – Austin (2011-12), and Beyond Benign (2022). In 2014, he was awarded the Illinois Heartland Local Section of the American Chemical Society 2013 Chemist of the Year and Illinois Heartland Local Section of the American Chemical Society 2014 Outreach Volunteer of the Year. In 2023, he received the Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award.


Dr. Campbell's primary teaching areas include general, inorganic, materials, and environmental chemistry. He believes that everybody can benefit from learning chemistry. Some of his more frequently taught courses include:

  • General Chemistry I and II and associated laboratory courses
  • Engineering Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Environmental Chemistry (undergraduate and graduate)


Dr. Campbell’s research interests include two intertwined areas: materials chemistry and chemistry education. In materials chemistry, he is involved in the synthesis and characterization of a variety of microscale and nanoscale structures with at least one dimension less than 1000 nanometers in size. These small structures can have characteristics (e.g. optical and catalytic properties) that distinguish them from both individual molecules and extended solid structures. Nanostructures such as colloidal particles containing copper, silver, gold, and palladium are synthesized by a variety of wet chemical methods, often within a polymeric support to improve their ease of use and recyclability, and then their structure and chemical reactivity are characterized by techniques such as ultraviolet/visible absorption spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and electron microscopy. 

Areas of work in chemistry education involve the development of new demonstrations and activities for use in a classroom or educational laboratory setting. Where possible, the demonstrations are designed to be as simple, cost-effective, and “green” as possible.  Projects have often included: modeling chemical structures and properties with LEGO brick-based and paper-based structures, easily observable demonstrations of nanoscale materials and properties, and demonstrations of various aspects of environmental chemistry.

In addition to the journal publications listed below, Dr. Campbell contributes blog entries and papers to the Chemical Education Xchange and online learning objects to the Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community.


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (*undergraduate student, **graduate student):

Campbell, D. J.; Kuntzleman, T.; Lippincott, K.*; Yassin, A.*; Dar, K.*; Ott, Q.* “Plumes from Using Iron to Boil Liquid Nitrogen to Illustrate the Importance of Surface Area.” J. Chem. Educ., 2023, 100, 1699–1703.

Kuntzleman, T. S.; Kuntzleman, J. T.; Campbell, D. J. “A Simple Chemical Oscillator: The “Educator.” J. Chem. Educ., 2022, 99, 3540–3545.

Kuntzleman, T. S.; Campbell, D. J. “The Chemical Wonders of No-Mess Markers.” J. Chem. Educ., 2022, 99, 2364–2371.

Green, T.**; Gresh, R.*; Cochran, D.*; Crobar, K.*; Blass, P.; Ostrowski, A.; Campbell, D.; Xie, C.; Torelli, A. “Invisibility Cloaks and Hot Reactions: Applying Infrared Thermography in the Chemistry Education Laboratory.” J. Chem. Educ., 2020, 97, 710-718. 

Lippincott, K. A.*; Rosengarten, E. A.*; Sengupta, A.; Campbell, D. J. “Using Polymers and Pigments to Produce Laser Interference Rings.” J. Chem. Educ., 2019, 96, 2553-2559. 

Schorr, D. K.**; Campbell, D. J. “Demonstration Extensions Based on Color-Changing Goldenrod Paper.” J. Chem. Educ., 2019, 96, 308-312.

Kuntzleman, T. S.; Nydegger, M. W.; Shadley, B.; Doctor, N.; Campbell, D. J. "Tribonucleation: A New Mechanism for Generating the Soda Geyser." J. Chem. Educ., 2018, 95, 1345-1349

Palmer, M. J.*; Martinez, K. A.*; Gadgil, M. G.*; Campbell, D. J. " Demonstrations of Magnetism and Oxidation by Combustion of Iron Supplement Tablets." J. Chem. Educ., 2018, 95, 423-427.  

Getz, W. A.**; Wentzel, D. A.**; Palmer, M. J.*; Campbell, D. J. "Erasing the Glow in the Dark: Controlling the Trap and Release of Electrons in Phosphorescent Materials." J. Chem. Educ., 2018, 95, 295-299.   

Marsh, J. L.*; Wayman, A. E.**; Smiddy, N. M.*; Campbell, D. J.; Parker, J. C.; Bosma, W. B.; Remsen, E. E. “Infrared Spectroscopic Analysis of the Adsorption of Pyridine Carboxylic Acids on Colloidal Ceria.” Langmuir, 2017, 33, 13224-13233.

Campbell, D. J.; Brewer, E. R.*; Martinez, K. A.*; Fitzjarrald, T. J. "Using Beads and Divided Containers to Study Kinetic and Equilibrium Isotope Effects in the Laboratory and in the Classroom." J. Chem. Educ., 2017, 94, 1118-1123.  

Campbell, D. J.; Staiger, F. A.*; Jujjavarapu, C. N. "Improvements to the Whoosh Bottle Rocket Car Demonstration." J. Chem. Educ., 2015, 92, 1687-1691.

Staiger, F. A.*; Peterson, J. P.*; Campbell, D. J. "Variations on the ‘Blue-Bottle’ Demonstration Using Food Items that Contain FD&C Blue #1." J. Chem. Educ., 2015, 92, 1684-1686.

Campbell, D. J.; Peterson, J. P.*; Fitzjarrald, T. J. “Spectroscopy of Sound Transmission in Solid Samples.” J. Chem. Educ., 2014, 91, 1684-1688.

Campbell, D. J.; Baliss, M. S.*; Hinman, J. J.*; Ziegenhorn, J. W.*; Andrews, M. J.; Stevenson, K. J. “Simple Methods for Production of Nanoscale Metal Oxide Films from Household Sources.” J. Chem. Educ., 2013, 90, 629-632.

Campbell, D. J.; Andrews, M. J.; Stevenson, K. J. “New Nanotech from an Ancient Material: Chemistry Demonstrations involving Carbon-based Soot.” J. Chem. Educ., 2012, 89, 1280-1287.

Campbell, D. J.; Villarreal, R. B.*; Fitzjarrald, T. J. “Take-Home Nanochemistry: Fabrication of a Gold- or Silver-Containing Window Cling.” J. Chem. Educ., 2012, 89, 1312-1315.

Campbell, D. J.; Bosma, W. B.; Bannon, S. J.*; Gunter, M. M.*; Hammar, M. K.** “Demonstration of Thermodynamics and Kinetics Using FriXion Pens.” J. Chem. Educ., 2012, 89, 526-528.

Campbell, D. J.; Miller, J. D.**; Andersh, B. J. “Synthesis of palladium colloids within polydimethylsiloxane and their use as catalysts for hydrogenation.” J. Coll. Interfac. Sci., 2011, 360, 309-312.

Campbell, D. J.; Bannon, S. J.*; Gunter, M. M.* “Gas Property Demonstrations Using Plastic Water Bottles.” J. Chem. Educ., 2011, 88, 784-785.

Campbell, D. J.; Miller, J. D.**; Bannon, S. J.*; Obermaier, L. M.* “An Exploration of the Nanoworld with LEGO® Bricks.” J. Chem. Educ., 2011, 88, 602-606.

Cobley, C. M.**; Campbell, D. J.; Xia, Y. “Tailoring the optical and catalytic properties of gold-silver nanoboxes and nanocages by introducing palladium.” Adv. Mat. 2008, 20, 748-752.

Campbell, D. J.; Korte, K. E.*; Xia, Y. “Fabrication and Analysis of Photonic Crystals.” J. Chem. Educ., 2007, 84,1824-1826.

Campbell, D. J.; Xia, Y. “Plasmons: Why Should We Care?” J. Chem. Educ., 2007, 84, 91-96.


Dr. Campbell has been involved with a number of committees at the departmental and college level. He works to help coordinate General Chemistry in the Mund-Lagowski Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He has also served as the chair of the chemistry division of the Illinois State Academy of Science and as chair of the Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society.

For many years, Dr. Campbell also served as the faculty advisor for the Chemistry Club (the Bradley University undergraduate chapter of the American Chemical Society). In the Fall of 2007, Dr. Campbell and members of the Chemistry Club formed the Demo Crew, which continues to educate people about science through demonstrations. The demonstration events range from hands-on activities that the audience members can actually touch, to hands-off shows that often involve more spectacular activities. The Demo Crew has reached out to over 40,000 audience members in over 400 events in central Illinois since its formation. The Demo Crew project has involved the efforts of nearly 300 Bradley undergraduate and graduate students. This has been a fantastic opportunity to connect Bradley University and its students with the local community.

In 2021, Dr. Campbell stepped into the role of co-director for the Bradley University Center for STEM Education. The Center was established to be a primary resource for enhancing preparation of STEM educators, administrators, and professionals and to be a leader in advancing the scholarship of STEM education. The Center advances STEM education and literacy among all citizens through research and collaborative initiatives.