Meet the Faculty: Stephanie Murphy, Director of MAT Programs and Associate Professor

By The Room 241 Team December 13, 2017

In addition to reading about your potential professors, you’ll also be hearing from our on-campus professors—because even though you may not sit in their course, they have so much to share, so many insights on the field of education, and such an admiration for every Concordia student.

So for today’s faculty Q&A, we spoke with Stephanie Murphy, Director of our Master of Arts in Teaching Program and Associate Professor in the College of Education at Concordia University-Portland.

A quick background

Professor Murphy received her undergraduate degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida, her MAT degree from Concordia University-Portland, and her doctoral degree from the University of Portland. In her current role as Director of the MAT Programs at Concordia, she oversees the graduate preliminary licensure program and assists candidates who wish to become K-12 educators. Back at home in Northeast Portland, where she lives with her husband and two sons, she loves to read, cook, listen to NPR, and collect vinyl records.

What led to your calling and vocation as a teacher of teachers?

I am passionate about working with pre-service teachers, who are at start of their (hopefully lengthy) educational trajectory. I feel it is imperative to help our soon-to-be teachers understand the important role they play in the lives of students, particularly when it comes to equity and culturally responsive practices. My aim is to foster in preservice educators a keen awareness of systemic disparities and a commitment to disrupting oppression.

What courses do you teach at Concordia, and what kind of student thrives in your courses?

I teach on-ground courses centering on educational issues, ethics, and equity. Students who thrive in the MAT program are passionate, caring, committed, adaptable, and civic-minded!

What do you love about working at Concordia?

I love the camaraderie and collegiality at Concordia. I appreciate that I am empowered to do my job, but also supported when I need assistance. My absolute favorite part of this university is the students. I love working with a diverse group of individuals, and I appreciate the opportunity to connect—on a genuine level—with my students. Those relationships continue, even when MAT students finish the program and begin their teaching careers.

Any advice for prospective students—for making the most of their experience, or for why they should consider applying?

What I appreciate about the MAT program (full disclosure: I am also the director of the program) is that we are constantly evolving and adapting our curriculum to ensure that we are best preparing pre-service teachers for the profession. We want our candidates to leave this program with the tools, skills, and dispositions necessary for a successful career in education. I’d add that it is never too late to pursue your passion for teaching. We have some MAT students who always knew they wanted to teach and never deviated from that plan. Yet, we have others who took a more circuitous path, taking time and getting life experience in order to affirm that teaching is the career choice for them. So the bottom line is: Teaching is a calling, and it’s never too late to heed the call!

Favorite book about teaching that every educator should read?

“The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, “The Shame of the Nation,” by Jonathan Kozol, and “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire

What’s your favorite quote?

“The student is infinitely more important than the subject matter.” – Nel Noddings

Thank you, Professor Murphy!

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