School of Continuing and Professional Studies > Faculty & Staff > Faculty Directory > Donald L. Opitz

Donald Opitz

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  • Associate Professor, Director of Cannabis Studies
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  • Cannabis Studies
  • ​School of Continuing & Professional Studies

  • Faculty
  • 312-362-6426


A DePaul alumnus, Opitz has devoted his career to advancing the education of nontraditional learners who seek to be leaders and agents of change in their professional, public and personal spheres of life.

Prior to joining DePaul’s faculty in 2006, Opitz held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctorate in history of science and technology. He directed the Minnesota Women’s Center and, afterwards, the Math Center in General College, the University of Minnesota's former gateway for working adult, nontraditional and first-generation college students.

At DePaul’s School for Continuing and Professional Studies, Opitz has served in a range of administrative positions: Interim Dean (2018-2020), Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management (2016-2018), and Senior Director of Mentoring and Student Services (2014-2016). In 2017 he served on DePaul’s 2024 strategic planning team focused on enrollment and student success strategies.

Opitz's ongoing research in the history of science focuses on women and gender in science and science in Victorian culture. He is an editor of two books and author of more than 40 essays, including refereed journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. He is editor-in-chief of “Endeavour,” a leading journal in the history and philosophy of science, and a volume co-editor of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project. He has won several grants and fellowships in support of his research from a range of funders including the National Science Foundation. Professionally active, he has served on committees of the History of Science Society and currently serves as vice-president of the Commission on Women and Gender Studies of the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.

Opitz also is a faculty member of DePaul’s Lesbian, Gay,  Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies Program and an affiliated scholar in the Department of History.

Among his downtime activities, he especially enjoys running, gardening and playing the French horn.

Recent Courses Taught

CCS 230 Cannabis and Society 
LL 280 Liberal Arts in Action: Rats in the City
SNC 191 Issues in Science and Religion
SNC 193 Sexual Orientation & Science

Recent Awards and Grants

DePaul Academic Initiatives Pool Grant: “Plant Matters,” 2017
NSF International Travel Grants: “Science as Power,” 2016; “Gendering Science,” 2015
Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine Research Fellow, 2013-2014
DePaul Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, 2010-2011, 2018-2020
DePaul Institute for Nature & Culture Faculty Fellowship, 2009

Opitz, D.L., S. Bergwik, and B. Van Tiggelen, eds. (2016). Domesticity in the Making of Modern Science. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Lykknes, A., D.L. Opitz, and B. Van Tiggelen, eds. (2012). For Better or For Worse? Collaborative Couples in the Sciences. Basel: Birkhauser.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

Opitz, D. L. (2022). “Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick, Country House Science, and Personas for British Women in Science at the turn of the Twentieth Century." In: Gehmacher, Johanna, Niskanen, Kirsti, and Prager, Katharina, eds, When Does the Genius do the Chores? Knowledge, Auto/Biography, and Gender. Special cluster in European Journal of Life Writing​ 11: WG13–43.

Opitz, D.L. (2019). “Cupcakes and Chemical Composition: Ida Freund's Legacy." Pp. 457-467 in Women in their Element: Selected Women's Contributions to the Periodic System, ed. Annette Lykknes and Brigitte Van Tiggelen. London: World Scientific.

Opitz, D.L. (2016). “Domestic Space.” Chapter 18 in A Companion to the History of Science, ed. Bernard V. Lightman. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Opitz, D.L. (2016). “Gender and Science.” Pp. 382-386 in A Companion to the History of American Science, ed. Mark A. Largent. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Opitz, D.L. (2014). "'Back to the land': Lady Warwick and the Movement for Women's Collegiate Agricultural Education" Agricultural History Review 62: 119-145

Opitz, D.L. (2014). "'The sceptre of her pow'r': Nymphs, Nobility, and Nomenclature in Early Victorian Education" British Journal for the History of Science 47: 67-94.

Opitz, D. L. (2013) "'A Triumph of Brains over Brute': Women and Science at the Horticultural College, Swanley, 1890-1910" Isis 104: 30-62.

Opitz, D. L. (2011). "Cultivating Genetics in the Country: Whittingehame Lodge, Cambridge." Pp. 73-98 in Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, ed. C. W. J. Withers and D. N. Livingstone. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Opitz, D. L. (2010).  Three Generations in the Life of the Minnesota Women's Center: A History: 1960-2000, 2nd edn., University of Minnesota.