Koerner named Alice Wiley Snell Professor of Education


Jennifer Priest Mitchell

Mari Koerner, dean of Mary Lou Fulton Techers College, has been named the college's Alice Wiley Snell Professor of Education. The endowed professorship is made possible by a generous gift from Richard and Alice Snell, longtime supporters of ASU and of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

The professorship reflects a change of emphasis for the Snell family. In 2002, the family endowed a professorship in educational policy research. As Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College gained a national reputation for excellence in teacher preparation and research, the Snells modified the endowed position to reflect their desire to support and promote excellence in the area of teaching and the study of teaching.

In addition to serving as dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Koerner is the inaugural director of the college's Center for the Art and Science of Teaching. Koerner said that, while colleges of education have traditionally focused on learning as the object of rigorous study, "There is an under-exposed and under-utilized body of research and knowledge about teaching that typically is not brought into teacher-prep programs. CAST will focus on teaching as an object of research. The impact of that work could generate curricular innovations for our college and others and, crucially, help us in our work to improve the quality of teaching in schools."

This professorship was established by the Snell family in recognition of Alice "Dinky" Snell's many hours of volunteer work in support of ASU, the ASU Foundation, the Arizona Science Center, YMCA and other civic organizations. A native of California and graduate of Stanford, Snell moved to Arizona in 1954 with her Arizona-native husband, Dick Snell. Their involvement and service in the community began almost immediately, including their pivotal role as co-chairs of the National Campaign Cabinet for ASU's Campaign for Leadership (1998–2001).

Alice Snell's deep love of Arizona and of education led the family to endow a professorship. She has described education as views public education as the backbone of our country. "Throughout her career and especially during her tenure as dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Mari Koerner has shown tremendous devotion to the importance of teaching and teachers," said Snell. "It gives me great pleasure to honor that commitment with the Alice Wiley Snell Professorship of Education."

Koerner said, "As dean, I'm grateful for the Snell family's generosity and for Dinky's steadfast support of our college. And personally, I am honored to hold the Alice Wiley Snell Professorship in Education."