Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Faculty Spotlight – November

November 29, 2016

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Dr. Michael Maune

Michael is a member of the English faculty.

Q. Where are you from and where did you graduate college?
A. I’m from a small German-Catholic farming community called St. Leon, Indiana, which is near Cincinnati, OH. I was a first generation college student. I attended Anderson University in northern Indiana, a Church of God school. I did my B.A. there in English with a minor in Mathematics and earned my teaching license for Grades 6-12 English Language Arts. I completed my Masters in English Language and Linguistics at Purdue University, also in northern Indiana. This past spring, I finally earned my Ph.D. from Purdue University. My area of focus was English Education with a specialization in Educational Linguistics. My dissertation was titled, “Toward a Genre Writing Curriculum: Schooling Genres in the Common Core State Standards.”

Q. Why did you choose education as a career?
A. I chose education because I love teaching. It invigorates me. But I also think that what I teach–how to write–is incredibly important for all walks of life. We live in a literate society, and that means no matter what profession you’re in–from food service to factory operations to medicine–you have to be able to read and write specifically in that field. My goal has always been to help students be prepared to write in college and in their field because I want them to be empowered to do what they want in life. I went into education because I want to make a difference in other people’s lives. And empowering them through supporting their literacy development is part of achieving that goal.

Q. What do you LOVE about your classes at UAHT?
A. My students and my colleagues are continuous sources of joy. I specialized in English Education, so I know a lot about how people learn and develop new skills. It’s exciting for me to see my students get new concepts and demonstrate they can do a new thing. I realize that before class, they wouldn’t have been as successful in doing something, and after class, they have these new abilities. When I see a student grow as a writer–being able to produce a complex text and write in an academic style–I know that they have been empowered to pursue their degree and succeed in their field, enabling them to have more control over their lives. My colleagues are always pushing me to do better and be better. They are wise and full of new ideas and perspectives that I find invaluable. We support each other as we go about the business of helping students learn.

Q. What are your favorite hobbies? What do you do to relax?
A. I write spoken word poetry. My major influences include Taylor Mali and Patricia Smith. I also enjoy reading–oftentimes books and articles in my field. I’m obsessed with linguistic theory and philosophy of science. Right now I’m working slowly through Jerry Fodor’s “Concepts,” a book about a mental representation theory of the mind. I’m also working through “The SLATE Project: Genre Pedagogy for Higher Education,” which documents a writing curriculum developed by linguists in Hong Kong. Lately, I’ve been reading some fiction–which I haven’t done regularly since my undergrad. Right now, I’m reading “Women” by Charles Bukowski, a beat poet, and “Underground Airlines” by Ben Winters. The latter book is a fascinating alternate history of the U.S. where the Civil War never occurred and slavery still exists. It is a haunting reflection of some of the issues facing 21st century U.S. culture. I like to watch Netflix and Hulu. I’m a big Trekkie. I’m watching “Black Mirror” right now, and my wife and I regularly watch “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” I also enjoy Real-Time Strategy and Turn-Based Strategy PC games–namely Age of Empires II & III and Civilization IV. My wife and I also have a decent collection of board games that we play. We also go running–I have been training for a 5K.

Q. What is your motto for your class?
A. Be curious. I think that applies to all of education in general. The more curious you are, the more you will learn.

Q. What is something you wish you would have known when you were in college? Do you have any advice you want to pass along to students?
A. I wish I had known more about the student support services. I did well in my English classes, but I struggled when I got into college math. Calculus II and Linear Algebra were fascinating but incredibly difficult courses. I would sit and do a Calculus problem for an hour (talking with my friends sometimes–so I wasn’t as focused as I should have been), and then I would realize that I had done my algebra wrong early on. I had wasted an hour. I think if I had taken advantage of some of the study skills workshops and tutoring, I would have been a better student in Mathematics. Also, because of my religious background, I came to college believing that every text had one correct meaning and interpretation. I thought the professor’s job was to teach me that one, correct interpretation. I wish that I had been more open minded and realized that the professor’s job was to help me develop the skills to interpret texts myself. And I would encourage students to remember that just because something is important in one area, like correct interpretation is in some religious traditions, doesn’t mean that it applies in all areas. Reading literature is a skill that often leads to many different interpretations because people come to texts from different perspectives. Embrace it. It’s a beautiful part about being human.

Q. What is your favorite snack?
A. I’m a linguist, so I’m actually more interested in what we mean by the word “snack.” It’s like the word “errand,” in that its meaning is highly based on context. What constitutes a snack? I’m going to have to think about that for awhile before I answer.


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Sandra Champion

Sandra is a member of the Early Childhood Education Faculty

Q. Where are you from and where did you graduate college?
A. Born in Prineville, Oregon raised 17 miles from the ocean in Atascadero, California. Graduated from UT Tyler
Q. Why did you choose education as a career?
A. For the love of teaching others and encouraging them in reaching their goals in life.
Q. What do you LOVE about your classes at UAHT?
A. The students.
Q. What are your favorite hobbies? What do you do to relax?
A. Reading the Bible, ministering, raising cattle, chickens, and dogs as well as gardening.
Q. What is your motto for your class?
A. Let the words of my mouth minister grace to the hearer.
Q. What is something you wish you would have known when you were in college? Do you have any advice you want to pass along to students?
A. Find out what the instructor wants and do it.
Q. What is your favorite snack?
A. Cherries or chocolate and any fruit.