The Person Behind Our Success: Dr. Theresa Stahler

Several of us on the Kutztown University Her Campus executive board are secondary education majors. Because of this, I felt like it was extremely appropriate to dedicate part of our success to our department chairperson, Dr. Theresa Stahler. This woman is the source of many education students’ opportunities and successes here at Kutztown University. Due to her help, advice, and kindness, Dr. Stahler has provided me with a pleasant, easy going, and lovely college experience.

Dr. Stahler has been teaching for many years, resulting in her having plenty of experience under her belt. She spent part of her life teaching middle school students, later moving to a college level. She is now a professor as well as the department chairperson for education at Kutztown University. Dr. Stahler still holds her middle level education strategies and memories close to her heart, for those are the focus of the courses she offers to her students here at KU.

Some courses she teaches include, “Introduction the Middle Level Education,” “Foundations of the Middle Level Learner,” and “Middle Level Curriculum and Instruction.” Dr. Stahler also belongs to several associations, all focused on the education of middle level students. I particularly admire Dr. Stahler because, like her, I want to teach middle school aged children. She placed me at a center city middle school a few semesters ago, introducing me to this kind of setting for the first time. I absolutely loved my work here, and I cannot thank her enough for helping me realize what I really want to do with my degree.

When I began to compose interview questions for Dr. Stahler, I decided to focus on what kind of experiences she has had being a woman in the education field as well as her relationships with students. Dr. Stahler told me that Kutztown University has been very accepting of her life choices (having children, certain unavailability, etc) and that she has never had a problem working here. When she was asked to be the education department chairperson, she accepted with joy.

When asked how she would compare her field experience to those who are in the program now, Dr. Stahler said, “I think that the teaching profession is under siege.” What she means by this is that the education field is under more stress now than it was when she became a part of it. Dr. Stahler mentioned the fact that there are teacher shortages showing up in certain parts of the country, and she thinks that “there will be greater appreciation for the impact and the dedication of the profession” based on this occurrence. I hope that when I enter the education field things begin to turn around. I am sure that many education students are hoping for that as well, and maybe together we can make it happen.

When I asked Dr. Stahler how she believes she has made a difference for students on campus, she turned the question around to say that the students have made a difference on her. “I think that they have made a difference in how I look at teaching and learning,” said Dr. Stahler, “Their generosity is always overwhelming . . . they have enriched my professional life in every way possible.” This is exactly what I love the most about Dr. Stahler. She is appreciative of her students and she lets us know it. When she isn’t too busy and sees one of her students walk past her office, she invites them in to chat. She gets to know us and cares about what we are doing in our academic as well as personal lives. This is exactly the kind of teacher that I hope everyone in the education program at Kutztown University strives to be.

Finally, Dr. Stahler ended our interview by saying, “When I entered teaching, I thought I could transform education, one student at a time. Rather, I have been transformed. Every student whom I have taught has taught me more about learning, about the world, about belief systems and about contributing to others.” Well, Dr. Stahler, you have taught us a countless amount of things about education as well as life too. We are so grateful for you.