Dean Kearney earned his BA in psychology summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota. He went on to earn an MA in experimental psychology from the University of Texas before returning to Minnesota to take his MS and PhD (1983) in computer science. He has been a member of the computer science faculty at Iowa since 1983. He served as chair of his department from 1993 to 1996 and as director of the School of Library and Information Science from 2000 to 2002. He has also served on a number of College and University committees, including the Council on Teaching and the CLAS Executive Committee.
Dean Kearney's current research focuses on behavior, scene, and scenario modeling for virtual environments. He co-directs the Hank Simulation Lab, which houses a virtual bicycling simulator. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Injury Prevention, he is investigating how virtual environments can be used as laboratories for the study of human behavior. He has also published research in psychophysics, computer vision, modeling of human movement, and computer animation. Dean Kearney's recent teaching has covered discrete structures, programming techniques and data structures, human computer interaction, and computer animation.