Reading Time: 2 minutes

It started when I was around six years old.

I used to “teach” in my room at home. The stuffed animals and dolls were my students. My bedroom door had a sign on it that read #208. My “name” was “Miss Monroe,” a tribute to the 1970s Charlie’s Angels…

I have always wanted to teach.

Fast forward to today. I teach as a university professor at Vanguard University: a small, private, liberal arts university in Orange County, California. I’m also dean of teaching and learning, which allows me to collaborate with other faculty toward improving all of our teaching. I’m also fortunate to get to coach faculty in my dean role and connect with faculty from all over the world through the Teaching in Higher Ed community.

Much has changed since my childhood dream first emerged. Curiously, my office door was #208 for the first 15 years of my teaching (some strange coincidence that gave me some confidence, years ago, that perhaps I was taking the right path when I accepted the offer to teach at my institution).

Lest you think I’m overly superstitious, though, my dentist’s office was also #208, but it didn’t eventually stop me from switching to another one a few years back. The conference room for our departments is #208, so I haven’t left all that completely behind.

I’m married to my best friend and partner, Dave Stachowiak. Our paths first crossed while we were earning our MA degrees and we have been committed to learning, together, ever since. We have two children who teach us both things on a daily basis.”

^ Excerpt from my about page on

Top polaroid picture of a blonde woman holding a sign that reads: "Show up for the work" - Below is another polaroid of that same woman as a child, reading to other kids from her ballet class. Flowers decorate the bottom of the graphic and the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast logo is in the top right with a bright pink microphone.

^ That bottom polaroid is me reading to the other girls in ballet class.