Professor Stuart A. Karabenick died peacefully in the company of his four loving children, on August 1, 2020. He was 80 years old. He was born on March 27, 1940, to George and Florence Karabenick. Professor Karabenick was a devoted family man who loved jazz music and spending time with friends.
Professor Karabenick earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors in 1962 and a PhD in 1967 from the University of Michigan. He was an Emeritus Professor at Eastern Michigan and a Research Professor Emeritus of Education at the Combined Program of Education and Psychology, School of Education, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, at the University of Michigan.
Professor Karabenick was a scholar with wide-ranging interests who significantly contributed to understanding the role of motivation and self-regulated learning. He regularly presented his research and was frequently a discussant and invited speaker at national and international conferences. He was recently an associate editor of Learning and Instruction and coordinator of the Motivation and Emotion Special Interest Group of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). Professor Karabenick was an active member of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Motivation in Education and Studying and Self-Regulated Learning Special Interest Groups and Learning and Instruction (Division C).
A prolific writer, some of Professor Karabenick’s influential books include Strategic Help Seeking: Implications for Learning and Teaching (1998), Help Seeking in Academic Settings: Goals, Groups, and Contexts (with Richard Newman, 2013), Decade Ahead: Theoretical Perspectives on Motivation and Achievement (withTimothy C. Urdan, 2010), and Teacher Motivation: Theory and Practice (with Paul W. Richardson and Helen M.G. Watt, 2014). Professor Karabenick is the recipient of numerous grants, including funding from National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Education (USDOE), and the Spencer Foundation. Just this year, while in retirement, he received a new NSF grant.
Fully devoting his professional life to research and mentoring, Professor Karabenick published with his students and a lengthy list of collaborators throughout the world. With his kindness, professionalism, wisdom, positive disposition, and open mindset, he shaped the growth of countless graduate students and colleagues. He was a remarkable scholar who left an indelible mark on the fields of strategic help-seeking, self-regulated learning, relevance for learning and motivation in education, academic delay of gratification, perceived achievement goal structures, teacher responsibility and motivation for professional development, culturally diverse instructionalpractices, and computer-mediated instruction. For instance, Education Week (2014) quoted Professor Karabenick as emphasizing that “help seeking suggests a deficit, but we need students to think of it as managing resources to solve a problem” (p. 1).
Last year, Professor Karabenick was the keynote speaker at EARLI, and in 2014, the keynote speaker at the Studying and Self-Regulated Learning SIG at AERA. Recently, he offered advice to graduate students during an interview conducted by Jeffrey Albrecht, and he shared his acquired wisdom from a five-decade career in Education Review.
Kara Makara offered a tender tribute to Professor Karabenick in these terms, “Stuart was a dedicated, supportive, inspiring, and generous PhD advisor and mentor. He achieved the very rare accomplishment of having both breadth and depth—in his knowledge, his expertise in different psychological and educational areas, hismentoring, his writing, his connections to others, and in his life interests. Stuart will be greatly missed.” Proudly, Jeffrey Albrecht rendered these words about his compassionate and caring mentor, “Stuart was epistemologically courageous, always encouraging us to ask difficult conceptual and methodological questions. He was never afraid to earnestly confront the limitations of our understanding in educational and psychological research.” Similarly, Melissa C. Gilbert expressed heartfeltly and moving words about her mentor in these words, “Stuart was a wonderful mentor and person who warmly welcomed everyone he met to share a drink, meal, conversation, music, and their passion. His collegial approach, love of learning, and boundless intellectual engagement provide a model for so many of us.”
Professor Karabenick was preceded in death by his mother, Florence, and father, George. He is survived by his wife Julie, son Scott, daughters Robin, Rachel, and Leah, and grandchildren Zoe and Anthony.
A funeral service was held on Monday, August 3, at 11:00 am at the Machpelah Cemetery in Ferndale, Michigan. His family has suggested that those who wish to honor the memory of Professor Karabenick further may do so by making a contribution to the University of Michigan Education and Psychology Department, 610 E. University Avenue, Room 1413, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; telephone: 734-763-0680. To make an online contribution “Donate Online,” and then you will be directed to where they will see Combined Program in Education and Psychology (CPEP) listed there as a giving option.
About his professional legacy, in an interview conducted by Héfer Bembenutty (2015), Professor Karabenick stated, “I would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to advances in theory and research that has relevance for teaching and learning… An essential and rewarding part of that role involves mentoring and, in many cases, being enlightened by students, younger scholars, and researchers with their own areas of expertise andinterests… In many respects, I think there is no more important legacy” (p. 62).