Marcia A. Makris

Tribute to retiring faculty member Marcia A. Makris, visiting assistant professor of education, by her colleague Patricia S. Buck, assistant professor of education

It’s my pleasure to say a few words on behalf of Marcia Makris on her service to Bates, to the education department, and to the public schools in Lewiston and Auburn and many surrounding communities. Her reach has been broad and the part she has played in advancing K-12 education in Maine, preparing future teachers and helping Bates faculty become better teachers has been significant.

Marcia earned her B.A. in English education, her master’s in English literature and her Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of New Hampshire. Before coming to Bates in 1996, she taught English at the high school, community college and university levels, and she served as academic dean at New Hampshire Technical College. This background prepared her well for a career of teaching and administration at Bates that has focused on the rigorous cultivation of new teachers and the leadership — as chair for the past two years — of a department in a period of dramatic transformation.

During Marcia’s tenure the education department’s course offerings were redesigned, making the study of education inseparable from the practice of teaching: all education courses include at least a 30-hour in-school service placement, and students devote an entire semester of preparation to their student teaching before embarking on it for a second semester. Marcia has also been involved in efforts to encourage more students to consider math and science pre-college teaching careers through the College’s fourth grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As chair of the Committee on Teaching Development for the last three years, Marcia has brought a number of speakers to campus who focus on undergraduate pedagogy. Her efforts on the TDC have reminded us all that we need always to be honing our teaching craft.

As chair of the education department, she has provided leadership on campus and out in the schools, building relationships with teachers that help our students navigate the intimidating waters of their own first teaching with confidence. Her professional work extends to organizations such as the New England Education Research Organization, through which she has given many of our students the opportunity to present their education research.

Marcia’s students offer the most compelling testimonials. One senior dedicated her thesis to her teacher, mentor and friend this way: Marcia “helped point me in the right direction, listened as I vented my frustrations and struggled with my vision and had the confidence in my abilities to send me off to discover and create my own knowledge and understanding.”

Another senior who wrote a thesis this year with Marcia had these eloquent and enviable words of praise for her: Marcia “has helped many of us to think critically about the societies from which we come, and allow us to understand them in the context of the communities in which we may someday work. It doesn’t matter where we go, because she has encouraged us to examine who we are and what we are there for.”

Though Marcia is technically retiring from teaching at Bates, we know that she will continue her tireless efforts to mentor and encourage new teachers, to motivate and re-energize seasoned educators, and to enhance teaching and learning.