Mary Lee-Nichols

Throughout this campus, I am grateful to be surrounded by some of the most thoughtful, smart and caring students and colleagues I have ever known.

What do you think makes UW-Superior a special place to study and teach?

"I love that our campus is uniquely situated as a small liberal arts college within a huge public university system! We can offer more personalized learning experiences because students and instructors to get to know each other in class, through a wonderful variety of campus-wide events that build community and encourage critical thinking. I also love being part of a campus that attracts students, faculty and staff to the Twin Ports and surrounding communities from countries throughout the world."

Why did you become a university professor?

"I believe that effective teacher preparation programs can interrupt much of the social inequality reproduced in education that advantages some students while marginalizing and disadvantaging others. As a student in suburban Littleton, Colorado, a middle school science teacher in both New York City and rural Maine and a principal in Maine towns at extreme ends of the socioeconomic scale, I had a unique perspective in understanding a broad range of student experiences. Witnessing teaching practices that unintentionally created barriers to success for some students led me to explore the intersection of culture and teaching at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. My research continues to focus on the experiences of white teachers in predominantly white rural communities who are engaging in issues surrounding diversity."

What is your philosophy of teaching?

"I believe that to be a successful teacher, one must believe that ALL students can be successful. Advancing the potential of every student furthers an educational practice that leads to a more democratic and just society. I believe that academic achievement is strengthened when students feel that their instructors believe in, care and support them. I believe that learning takes place when students are actively engaged in the learning process through interaction with course content in dialogue, through meaningful and purposeful activities that promote critical thinking."

What professional/academic accomplishment are you most proud of?

"When I hear from former students, now practicing teachers, about how they are able to recognize oppressive practices and can apply effective inclusive strategies that invite all students to participate in learning, I am filled with this great sense of hope that our program is preparing teachers who are making a positive impact in the academic success and lives of young learners."

What kind of public service do you do in your academic discipline?

"A large part of service in teacher education requires working within our program to continually review current research, collect and analyze data, to implement practices that provide the best preparation possible for this critically important profession. I am fortunate to be able to work on campus-wide initiatives that support inclusive programming and also work closely with a local elementary school as part of their diversity leadership team."

What do you like most about UW-Superior?

"Throughout this campus, I am grateful to be surrounded by some of the most thoughtful, smart and caring students and colleagues I have ever known."