Don Dyson

Don Dyson, PhD, MSS

  • Associate Professor

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Human Sexuality (2004)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • MSS, Clinical Social Work (1995)
    Bryn Mawr College (PA)
  • BA, Communications: Speech & Theater (1993)
    Eastern University (PA)

About Me

With an undergraduate degree in communications and a desire to change the world, I studied clinical social work at Bryn Mawr. There, I discovered the real need in human services to address issues in human sexuality. That led me to complete my doctoral degree in human sexuality at the University of Pennsylvania. While both working and studying full time, I developed a career in sexuality education that included AIDS Delaware, Planned Parenthood, Wesley House, CAI, Inc., and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. From that experience, I moved to the academic world where I could pursue my passion: the training of sexuality professionals.

The Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener has become an amazing professional and academic home to me over the years. It is here that I honed my research agenda (Best Practices in the Training of Sexologists) and continue my work in support of the field.

My teaching philosophy incorporates elements of adult and experiential learning, culturally relevant pedagogy, cognitive, affective and kinesthetic taxonomies of teaching and learning, and critical pedagogy. I believe strongly that the way that each student learns is deeply embedded in both his or her unique cultural and experiential histories as well as the way that those histories interact with the realities of structural inequalities within the systems of learning themselves.

As a result, I ascribe to the belief that effective teaching is not about helping students remember and recite. Effective teaching is about helping students to learn, and that learning is deeply dependent upon the ways in which the content is connected to the practical realities in their lives. As a result, when I teach people to teach, there is an inherent need for them to understand themselves (their personal, cultural, and structural realities) as well as to understand the many ways that personal, cultural, and structural realities affect those whom they intend to teach.

Essentially, effective teaching is both a science and an art. In my work with graduate students, I strive to help people understand the structures of the science as well as the skills within the art.

Research Interests

My research agenda has three major prongs:

  1. Best Practices in the Training of Sexologists—This research seeks to identify and investigate evidence-based practice in the training of sexologists and the ways that practice is applied in the field.
  2. Intercultural Issues in Sexuality Education & Training—A subset of the above, this research explores how complex understandings of culture inform the delivery of sexuality education across a wide spectrum of audiences, situations, and content.
  3.  Identity Intersections in Sexology—This research thread explores the ways in which individual identity markers affect the delivery of sexuality education and sex therapy for both the educator/therapist and the recipient of those services.


  • Sitron, J.A., & Dyson, D.A. (2012). Validation of sexological worldview: A construct for use in the training of sexologists in sexual diversity. Sage Open, 2(1), 1–16.
  • Dyson, D.A., & Satterly, B.A. (2009). Self-disclosure in the classroom: A practical user's guide for sexuality educators. In E. Schroeder & J. Kuriansky (Eds.), Sexuality education: Past, present, and future (sex, love, and psychology), volume 3. Westport, CT: Praeger Press.
  • Dyson, D. & Turner, Y. (2011). Faith Boxes: Training human service providers to address faith beliefs. American Journal of Sexuality Education.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Certified Sexuality Educator, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS)


  • Friend of Residence Life Award, Widener University, 2010
  • The Schiller Prize, American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, 2008
  • Community Advocate Award, Alliance for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention in Delaware, 1999


  • Faculty Awarded PA Global Library Licensed Materials Grant

    Assistant Librarian Adam Mizelle, Widener University's campus-representative for Affordable Learning PA, was awarded a PA Global Library Licensed Materials grant in collaboration with Jenifer Norton, Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, and Donald Dyson for their adoption of library licensed materials for use in their classes. 

    Affordable Learning PA is a community of practice among academic libraries and higher education partners in the Pennsylvania region to advance textbook affordability. 

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