Georgia selects SWU alumna as Governor’s Teaching Fellow
Luther, an associate professor in the Tift College of Education at Mercer University and a 1992 Southern Wesleyan education graduate, will join a number of other selected professors and higher education faculty from across Georgia to attend the fellow program's academic symposia.
She said of her selection as being ”totally a God thing.”
Luther received from Southern Wesleyan her B.S. in early childhood/elementary education and special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities. She also has an M.Ed. in reading and Literacy and an Ed.D. in innovation and leadership from Wilmington University in Delaware. She has published in a variety of peer reviewed journals, has written a book chapter on teacher retention and has presented at regional, national and international conferences. In 2015, she was honored by SWU Alumni Association with the Professional Excellence Award - School of Education.
Luther feels the support she received from her professors at Southern Wesleyan “set the stage” for her future career in higher education. Her involvement in numerous activities at Southern Wesleyan helped her learn the planning and organization skills essential to her graduate work and her career.
“I started out as an elementary teacher. I was still enjoying it but I felt there was something else God had for me,” Luther said. “I felt like I was making a difference in my 22-23 students per year, but in this role I get to shape teacher candidates and then they can go out and impact their students, so I feel this is a greater impact I have in my life.”
At Mercer, Luther’s research has focused on literacy and equipping teachers to relate to students who might have had limited exposure to reading at home. She also researches teacher retention and stresses, “I think it’s ethical that we train and support teachers so they feel this is a career they can stay in. We have all these statistics that people spend all this money to be teachers and then after the first year they leave because they didn’t have the strength in a program to really, truly know how to teach.”
She feels optimistic that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on schools can result in a changing mindset toward what teachers do and lead to the teaching profession gaining more respect.
“I firmly believe this will open up some eyes to the challenge that teachers face, that teaching is difficult and it’s a career. It’s a profession and should be treated as such,” Luther said.
What is Luther’s advice to those considering becoming a teacher?
“Use every moment as a teachable moment because there are so many times what I learned wasn’t from a textbook. Don’t look at your time at college as a means to an end but use every moment as a teachable moment. This is an opportunity to find yourself,” Luther said, stressing the importance of being a lifelong learner.
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, go online to swu.edu.