The online voice of cambridge campus students
by Michael Relitz

Contributing writer

Some teachers obtain their degrees looking toward teaching at universities, yet others prefer state schools and smaller community colleges. Dr. Kate Maurer, member of the Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) English department, has had the best of both worlds.

Maurer was born in Little Falls, Minn and raised in St. Cloud, Minn where she attended a parochial high school. Maurer grew up believing she could be whatever she wanted to be, thanks to her mother’s praises. 

In her early post-secondary education, Maurer was engaged in scientific studies. She believed that a person always had to study something that was a challenge to them, but she soon became ill and fell behind. 

Maurer recalled, “When I was a sophomore in college I got very sick. I ended up missing about a month of school, and if you miss a month of chemistry and calculus when they are not easy for you to begin with, you will never catch up.” It was at that point in her education that Maurer had an epiphany. She added, “That’s when I realized, ‘wow, I don’t have to take something that’s hard for me.’ I always enjoyed literature and reading, and it never dawned on me that I could study for something that I have an affinity for.” 

Maurer explained that she was drawn to teaching by example. “I had some really good role models -- some professors who I just would do anything for. They were amazing, which made me want to be like them.” 

Maurer went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth and followed that with a masters from Marquette University in Milwaukee where she also got her doctorate.  

While at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Maurer worked as a teacher’s assistant (T.A.). She stated, “I was a T.A., which in our field means you run the whole class. It doesn’t mean you help the professor, you are the professor.” She added, “Once I started doing that I really liked it. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to go but I found that I really sort of grew into my personality once I had to be in charge of a classroom, and I really enjoyed it. First it was to pay the bills and it quickly became something I very much enjoyed.”

Maurer has been teaching in one capacity or another since 1989. Before coming to ARCC she taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth for nine years. Maurer stated, “I wanted to come to a teaching-centered school. I had some philosophical differences with the approach of the four-year school.” Those differences were enough to convince her to make the move to the smaller campus of ARCC. 

Comparing ARCC to the University of Minnesota Duluth, Maurer said, “I like that it [ARCC] is very student orientated. To me that doesn’t mean, bend over backwards and do whatever the students want, but it means I’m given the freedom to spend time with you, to help you to get to know you as opposed to,  just ‘get them through, don’t care about them, push them on through.’ We are encouraged to get to know our students individually and spend time with them.” 

Maurer explained that she is happy with her decision to make the move to a smaller school and has no future plans on moving back to a bigger school. She is currently involved in teaching courses at ARCC such as: college writing and critical reading, British literature, introduction to literature, and the art of watching films. She also hopes to one day teach a special topic Shakespeare course.

5/6/2012 01:52:30 pm

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