What programs do you teach at Concordia University Irvine? What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?
I enjoy teaching many of the classes in the Curriculum & Instruction master’s program and also serve as the Curriculum & Instruction Program Director.
Designing and writing curriculum has always been a part of my journey as an educator. When teaching in the high school classroom at the start of my career, I wrote almost all my own curriculum either from scratch or to supplement the required texts and standards. Now it is my joy to work with a student population of hardworking teachers who are in their respective classrooms doing the same!
One of my roles is to serve as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for several the courses in the C&I program. With this comes the opportunity to revise, update, and make curriculum decisions to keep our courses current and up to date. I relish this opportunity and the ability to combine my love for teaching and writing curriculum.
How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate we are in, specifically with COVID-19 and online/hybrid learning?
One of the ways Curriculum & Instruction students are being equipped and prepared happens naturally as we model what rigorous, organized, and enjoyable online education looks like. Our master’s in Curriculum & Instruction students are hardworking and busy teachers who made the conscious decision to enroll in a fully online program and it is our privilege to provide a cutting-edge experience for them.
Many Curriculum & Instruction students have shared that their experience taking online classes with Concordia University Irvine has absolutely prepared them for a year of virtual teaching because they were already experiencing it. They were able to see a program in action and then put many of the same tenets to work with their own students.
What attracted you to Concordia University Irvine to teach at? What sets them apart?
I wanted to teach at a Christian University where I could speak freely about my faith, pray for my students, and talk about the joys of servant leadership. To open my weekly instructor videos with a Bible passage or a devotion is such a joy and a gift. Concordia University Irvine encourages instructors to create a Christ-centered learning environment, and I strive to do this even in my online classes.
What is your professional background (including degrees) as an educator?
I received my B.A. in English and my M.A.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University Irvine. I’m finishing a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition from Grand Canyon University (ABD). I hold a California Clear Teaching Credential. My career in education began at the high school level, and I enjoyed years of teaching English and theology classes.
My posts as ASB advisor and basketball coach provided additional ways to connect with my students. A couple years as the school’s communications director came at the same time I began teaching for Concordia University Irvine in 2002. At that time, I taught in the CUAccelerate program which is a hybrid on-campus and online program. A move to Arizona led to five years of instruction for University of Phoenix where I taught a range of writing courses. While I enjoyed that, I decided to pursue courses in the field of education and started teaching for Grand Canyon University in both their graduate and under-graduate programs.
In 2012, I was thrilled to join the CUI ranks again as a Professor of Education for Curriculum & Instruction as well as Educational Technology. I also currently serve as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for a number of Curriculum & Instruction courses. My other role as Program Director for the Curriculum & Instruction program provides opportunity to work with other instructors and stay current with all the courses offered. I have a true love for the online classroom and look forward to the start of each new term.
Right now, I’m a doctoral candidate working toward a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition. PhD in psychology with an emphasis in cognition. My quantitative research study has me looking at variables affecting adjunct and full-time faculty teaching in the post-secondary online learning environment.
Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?
I have lived in Scottsdale Arizona for nearly 13 years. My husband is a school administrator and we have four wonderful children. I recently served as school board president at our local Lutheran High School and I enjoy speaking at and participating in different school events. I enjoy writing, singing with a local chorale, and making jewelry. It is my heart’s desire that God would use me to point others to Him in both my personal and professional life.
I come by my interest in the field of education very naturally. Both my parents are teachers, my husband is a teacher and administrator, and now our oldest daughter is studying to become a teacher. You could say it is in our genes!
What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
The privilege of pouring into classroom teachers cannot really be put into words. The decision to be a teacher requires a keen understanding of service: service to kids, families, colleagues, and a community. The fact that I get to interact, encourage, and motivate teachers helps me feel a part of the large family of educators who want to make a difference.
I always enjoy learning about my CUI students’ interests, both inside and outside the classroom. A little-known interest and hobby of mine is jewelry-making. A friend and I started a jewelry company a couple years ago and we sell at local markets and even a couple stores.
What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their Curriculum & Instruction degree? How can people stand out in this field?
One piece of advice I would give prospective students is to think through at least one person who will serve as an accountability partner. It’s important to have a support system. I often ask my students to think this through because there is strength in numbers. And most importantly, I want my students to remember they can cast all their anxieties on God because He cares for each of us (1 Peter 5:7).
Having a graduate degree speaks for itself. The hard work it takes to complete a degree shows dedication to the field. Teachers who enroll in a graduate program also get to talk with their own students about the value of hard work, commitment, and grit.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have worked in higher education for almost 20 years, for four different programs, and I can absolutely say that Concordia’s graduate programs are top notch and exemplary. It is my joy to be part of such an amazing team of educators and educator supporters. To God be the glory.