Dr. Myrna R. Olson is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of North Dakota, where she has taught for the past 44 years. Originally from North Dakota, she lived in Montana from 1968-1971, completing a Bachelor’s Degree at Northern Montana College in Science Education and a Master’s of Education from Montana State University in Secondary Education and Biology. She taught two years at the Montana State School for the Deaf and Blind before returning to North Dakota to teach at the North Dakota School for the Blind for three additional years.
Myrna began her work toward her doctorate at UND in 1973, serving as a graduate teaching assistant for two years prior to the Special Education program hiring her as a faculty member in 1975. Since that time, she completed post-doctoral work in visual impairment and blindness at San Francisco State University as well as post-doctoral work in multiple disabilities at Peabody Vanderbilt College. Myrna initiated the teacher preparation program in Blindness and Visual Impairment at UND and directed that program for 25 years. Additional areas in which Myrna has taught include early childhood education, emotional and behavior disorders, gifted education, and higher education. She served as Chair of Special Education for 12 years and as Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Doctoral Program for six years. She currently teaches several doctoral level courses that are focused on the preparation of college teachers and coordinates the College Teaching Certificate Program.
Research interests across Myrna’s career include: methods of teaching braille reading; exploratory and play behavior of children with blindness or visual impairment; hypnotherapy techniques with the learning disabled; dispositional suitability of student for the field of special education; gay or lesbian teachers; utilization of a dog in a classroom for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders; effect of music on behavior of children in an elementary school lunchroom; successful single parents; characteristics and behavior of women who survive life-altering crises; characteristics of effective school leaders; faculty and student use of technology in the college classroom; and college student mental health.
The source of Myrna’s greatest joy in life has been raising two sons (Nathan and Austin) and caring for two grandchildren (Kellen and Palmer). All of them live in Grand Forks, North Dakota as well!
Post-Doctoral Work (Deaf & Blind Education)
University of North Dakota, 1978
Post-Doctoral Work (Preschool Multi-handicapped Education)
George Peabody Vanderbilt College, 1977
Post-Doctoral Work (Visual Impairment)
San Francisco State University, 1976
Doctor of Education (Elementary Education & Special Education)
University of North Dakota, 1975
Master of Education (Secondary Education & Biology)
Montana State University, 1971
Bachelor of Science (Secondary Education & Science)
Northern Montana State University, 1969