Inspiring teacher: Nancy Kaler, senior lecturer of human development and family science
Published February 2016
Kaler teaches multiple classes in the College of Human Development and Education. From a college introduction class to coordinating field experiences, Kaler is a constant inspiring presence throughout students’ time at NDSU.
What is your favorite class to teach?
I enjoy all my classes, and they are very applicable to students.
In field experience, students are given an opportunity to apply academic theory to a professional setting. I tell students even if they don’t want the job as a full-time career, it’s still a good learning experience. The most exciting moment for me is to hear a student say, “I was offered a full-time, paid professional job from my field experience.” Or “my supervisor said they would hire me if they could” or getting a great letter of recommendation. That is a successful field experience.
I’ve also been teaching long enough that many of my former students are now field experience supervisors. It’s wonderful to stay connected to my students as a professional.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I want to set a positive attitude for my classes, and I do a lot of in-class activities related to the topic of the day. Because my classes are applicable, I have a strong belief that we can learn from each other’s experiences. I share a lot of my own experiences and hopefully my students will, too. I learn from my students every semester. I have an open door policy and welcome students to stop in and visit about class, their career path or just to get to know each other better.
Who is a teacher who inspired you as a student and why?
I had excellent teachers all through my educational path, from elementary through graduate school. My fourth-grade teacher made me want to be a teacher. My undergraduate adviser was also very influential.
At NDSU, I’ve had numerous mentors. I tell my students that coworkers are critical to success on the job. I’ve been very fortunate to have many colleagues that make coming to work great days. I’ve now been at NDSU for 28 years - I love my job.
What is something every student should experience before they graduate from NDSU?
I want every student to have a co-curricular or extra-curricular experience at NDSU. The skills learned during an out-of-the-classroom experience open doors for students.
NDSU has so many opportunities for students to join student organizations, volunteer for community projects, mentor youth and travel abroad, to name a few. I encourage all my students to do something.
Kaler joined NDSU in 1987. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of North Dakota.