Students are Becoming.
Michele Dickey-Kotz incorporates her passion for College Student Development Theory into her teaching, exemplifying theory into practice. She loves her job. She explains, “I believe that education is the threshold of social change. It is the way that we can break cycles of ignorance, poverty and abuse.”
Her clear focus on students is unmistakable. “This is their space. Their living. Their learning environment… Their community.“
“There is a specific way that higher education needs to bring students into the college experience, move them through and move them beyond. We have to be adaptable and flexible; we have to learn who they are and where they think they’re headed. The main task is identity development. We need to help them become their true selves and help them to explore what that means. How does the college student develop? How does the environment contribute to their success? Their persistence? Their identity development?”
“Graceland is truly about the power of community,” explains Dickey-Kotz. “The Graceland way is about the power of coming together. We need to commit to the students who are here and remember that they are transforming us. Together, we shift and change, and they will lead us to the potential that we have as well.”
As she teaches students, she instills accountability. “We must always teach the students that they have the right and the responsibility to consistently challenge this environment – this community. We have to help them transform, and we have to transform ourselves so that we can become a reflection of who they are and who they are becoming.”
A fan of her strong mother, who raised her to ask, “What are you going to give back to the universe?” Michele models her teaching with this motto:
Be the guide on the side, not the sage on stage.
“Michele has high expectations of her students and challenges us to be authentically invested in the success of our future students. She's a role model for me as an English major with an education endorsement. I'm eager to create social change through the power of education.”
~ Dylan Pitt ‘17