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Choose KU, Choose the World

Dr. Theresa Stahler, center, accepts the Wiesenberger award with President Hawkinson, left, and Alex Ogeka, senior director of development and alumni relations

Dr. Theresa Stahler

by Alyssa Clark '16

In and out of the classroom Dr. Theresa Stahler, Kutztown University's Secondary Education Department Chairperson, displays a keen enthusiasm for relaying her knowledge and experiences. Her passion for teaching and guiding students is well known throughout Kutztown University.

"Good college teaching isn't all that different from middle school teaching," she said. "You're teaching different content, but it's about giving opportunities to students. Learning has to start in the classroom."

In 2015, Dr. Stahler was awarded the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in teaching. The award goes to shining faculty who help create differences in the lives of KU's students and peers.

Dr. Stahler committed to teaching while she was acquiring her Bachelor of Science degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. There, she came to the realization that her fondness of reading and writing were so strong - why not put those passions into a degree of English education? She started her career as an eighth grade English teacher in North Hills School District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon getting to know and understand her middle school students, she fell in love with teaching them. Middle school, she described, is the time where students explore their identities, decipher what avenues to take and start developing themselves.

After earning her Ph.D. from Ohio State University in teacher education, with a specialization in middle level teaching, she and her husband moved around a lot. Eventually, when her husband was transferred due to work, they settled in the area. Dr. Stahler started teaching at West Chester University.

At the National Middle School Conference, she bumped into Una Mae Reck, a former dean at Kutztown University. After conversing with Reck about the tremendous opportunities that KU provided, she was offered a position. In 1994, Dr. Stahler started teaching at Kutztown University.

Each semester Dr. Stahler tells her students to get to know their kids, that the classroom is about interactions.

"Good teaching is about relationships," Stahler said. 

Not only does Dr. Stahler maintain genuine connections with her students, but she appreciates the relationships she has with her fellow coworkers.

"We work together seamlessly. We teach each other."

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