Hackman Leads CMU Professional Education

Switch from business division to teacher training

At face value, Sally Hackman's new position at Central Methodist University would not appear to be a major move. Yet as the new chair of CMU's Division of Professional Education would affirm, appearances can be deceiving.

She's still at Central Methodist, where she has worked since 1999. Physically, Hackman's new office isn't far from her old one in T. Berry Smith Hall. On the organizational chart, she moved from chairing one division (Accounting, Business and Economics) to another.

Hackman's job remains a mix of administration and management with some teaching. She's still the CMU Faculty Athletic Representative and active on other CMU committees. She even has the good fortune to have her predecessor, Dr. Nancy Hadfield, around to consult with: Hadfield, the former head of Professional Education, continues to teach some classes for CMU.

Yet the new job leading CMU's teacher-training division is strikingly different from her former role heading its business division. Ironically, a big change is that her new role requires even more organizational work – the type of business skills she used to teach.

"In the Business Division, administration was about 10 percent of my job and teaching was about 90 percent," Hackman said. "Now, it seems like 99 percent of my work is administrative. This really is more a management position, and I'm using more business skills."

Hackman is native of Glasgow, and she and her husband Doug and children Blake, Hayden and Brooke still live there. So do her parents, Harley and Miriam (a Central alumna) Gebhardt. She serves on the local school board, and worked part-time in a local bank.

So Howard County is home and she's grown up around CMU, though she graduated from the University of Central Missouri and received her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Missouri.

Her first teaching job was at Clopton High School near Clarksville, Mo. Hackman later taught business for one year at Keytesville High School, but then a faculty position at CMU opened up in 1999, and she was hired. Some look at smaller institutions as a stepping stone, but Hackman "hoped I'd stay.

"Coming from Glasgow, and living there now, I like the location," she said. "Even more importantly, I like the CMU community – it's a great place to work."

Now in her 15th year at Central Methodist, Hackman still carries the academic rank of Associate Professor of Business, but her focus is squarely on teacher preparation. It is a demanding field that is changing rapidly, and that rate of change shows no sign of slowing down.

"We face more stringent requirements for testing our students," Hackman said. "Hurdles are good; we want to produce good teachers, and schools expect our graduates to be prepared and qualified.

"At the same time, it's getting more difficult and more costly for our students to get into a profession that doesn't compensate as well as others," she noted.

Keeping on top of the demands and regulations placed on the University and its students is a high priority, but Hackman also wants to see CMU increase its teacher preparation portfolio. Work is ongoing, for example, trying to launch teacher certification in biology and in chemistry, in addition to its general science certification.

As one would expect, Sally Hackman sees such enhancements as the business side of education.


Posted September 26, 2013