Dr. Gordon Vessels joined the faculty of the American College of Education in 2010 and is now a Senior Core Faculty member. He serves as the Doctoral Research Reviewer for ACE and is a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Grade Appeals Committee. Between 2015 and 2016 he carried out an inter-rater reliability study of ACE grading rubrics and headed up the creation of replacement rubrics. At the 2016 graduation commencement, he received the annual ACE Faculty Award for Excellence.  

Dr. Vessels came to the college with six years of online teaching experience in the school of psychology at Walden University. He also has teaching experience in the public schools and experience teaching undergraduate education students as a teaching assistant at the University of Georgia in the early 1980s. He completed degree programs in education, art, sociology, and school psychology, and during the 1990s, he completed a leadership training program at Georgia State University. His doctoral dissertation was on nonbiased assessment. Because of his expertise on the topic, he was asked to re-evaluate students in the Marshall vs State of Georgia racial discrimination case. He also has expertise in the areas of visual art, creative thinking, child development, school psychology, curriculum integration, educational reform, character education, and research. 

Dr. Vessels worked for 25 years as a school psychologist in urban, rural, and suburban schools, mostly urban with 15 years in the Atlanta Public Schools. During his last several years working in K-12 schools, he authored and directed U.S. DOE grant projects in multiple schools designed to (a) build community in classrooms and schools, (b) promote character development (social and moral development), and (c) integrate academic, arts, and character standards in multi-week instructional units. The first of these grants resulted in his publication of a book in 1998 titled Character and Community Development. The second project included seven schools from across Georgia and was supported by two million in federal grant funding.

As a psychologist with unusual knowledge about social and moral development, Dr. Vessels has been credited with bringing child development theory and research to the character education movement and related efforts to build caring communities and prosocial behavior. He recommends including service learning, intercultural exchange/multiculturalism, and curriculum integration as components in these programs. He has shown that schools focusing on personal and social integrity, and caring-community-building create school climates/cultures that prevent most of the problem behaviors that can make classroom and school management difficult. Unlike PBIS/PBSS programs that rely heavily on reward systems and extrinsic motivation, his recommended approach builds intrinsic motivation. During the course he will share his elaborate 36-criteria rating of all major programs for promoting positive prosocial behavior. He suggests blending pieces from several and utilizing all six "learning modes" in the process.

Dr. Vessels is convinced significant educational reform requires curricula that address all domains of development in an age-appropriate way, and curricula derived-from and relevant-to the needs and challenges of families, local communities, society, and the world community (curricular relevance). In essence he views curricular reform as an essential centerpiece for effective educational/school reform and as a process that calls for systematic input from external systems (e.g. structured external feedback loops with business, service agencies, professional organizations, etc.) and teacher leadership throughout the curricular reform process. He believes both are lacking, and teachers can make the latter happen by coming together as scholar practitioners to reclaim their profession.

Dr. Vesselsí wife of 47 years is Deputy Executive for Human Resources for the 11th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. They have been together since age 13 when athletics drew them together. His adopted biracial son James completed a bachelorís degree at Georgia State University with a 3.7 GPA and now works for Shire Pharmaceutical. Dr. Vessels' accomplishments are not limited to work as an educator and psychologist. He began college on an art scholarship, was a graphic artist for awhile, and was an art teacher and multi-sport coach in a junior high school for several years. His understanding of the creative process was strengthened by his masterís thesis on the topic and work with the late creativity specialist Professor E. Paul Torrance at the University of Georgia. He is an active visual artist who has lots of paintings and sculptures in his home, which he designed and built on eight heavily wooded acres in 1987. His paintings are mostly surrealistic, but he recently finished a portrait of his wife that will be unveiled at her retirement celebration and hung permanently in the court. 

As a professor, Dr. Vessels insists on quality work and feels teachers as "scholar practitioners" should read the professional literature and engage in online communities of practice. He discovered that asking students to use, cite, and reference two or more expert sources in their postings and assignment papers significantly increases the quality of their work and stimulates high-level thinking. His feedback is quite direct but also constructive and thought-provoking. This is balanced by his enthusiastic praise for quality student work. He likes to place in the Announcements area of the classroom model student work from the past and present. He truly enjoys working with teachers in graduate programs because of the high quality of work they do and how much he learns from them. He likes lots of meaningful dialogue, openness, and sharing of ideas on the discussion boards and feels this may be the most valuable aspect of ACE courses and all online courses.

No one respects good teachers more than Dr. Vessels, as you will see. He advocates for them and defends them at a time when pressures and expectations have denied them due respect and discretion as professionals.