Dr. Nancy Hadfield Retiring From Central Methodist University

Has served as division chair in both English and education

"I have a short attention span," says Dr. Nancy Hadfield. Then she laughs, the irony not lost on her. Hadfield has spent 23 years teaching at Central Methodist University and is stepping gracefully into retirement.

Hadfield is professor of English, has chaired the Division of Professional Education since 2007, and the Division of Humanities before that.

Perhaps her attention waned easily in the early years. She taught five years in the public schools then stayed at home with her daughter until she was in kindergarten. Since Hadfield had a bachelor's degree in French from the University of Missouri (MU), she went back to work for them.

"While I was working on campus [at MU]," she says, "I thought, well, why not take a few classes." Those classes turned into a master's degree in English language and then into a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies English.

She began working at Central Methodist College in 1990 as a faculty member in the English Department. She credits the tutelage of Dr. Joe Geist (1972-1998) and Dr. Dick Winegard (1970-2000) with teaching her how to be a member of a college faculty.

"Joe must have seen something that I didn't know was there," Hadfield observes, "because [he] thought I should be chair." She became chair of the Humanities Division.

In 2007 she took over as chair of the Professional Education Division. "It was daunting at first because it was all new," she admits. "But it was challenging and interesting." She stepped down from that chair position this summer.

Hadfield's colleagues respect her guidance. Dr. Mozaffar Rahmatpanah, professor of physical education and former soccer coach says, "[Dr. Hadfield] was an excellent motivator and visionary for our department. She possesses an innate leadership trait that all of us admired."

According to Coach Moz, as he is known on campus, the rate of graduation and job placement in the Division of Professional Education has gone up, as has the rate of passage of the required Praxis exam, which future teachers must pass.

Having gone to a large university, Hadfield understands the special bonds at Central. "Nobody really seemed to notice who I was," she says of MU, "and at the time I was okay with that. But I realize now that I would have gotten a different education here [at CMU].

"People would have made me a better student than I was, and I think that's kind of what we do best. We really look for what there is in students that needs to be developed."

She encourages students, especially those in the education program, to be certain of what they want to do with their lives. "Some students think that teaching is an easy job. It's a much harder job than people realize. I would tell them to go to class and think about what their teacher had to do to be in class for [them]."

Nonetheless, Hadfield is very proud of the 75 or so student teachers who stay the course and graduate with degrees in education from CMU every year, and she notes that school superintendents call Central often to recruit new teachers.

She also remains firmly linked with Central and plans to continue teaching a class or two each semester.

For someone who claims to have a short attention span, Hadfield has left a long and lasting legacy on students and faculty alike at Central Methodist University.


Dr. Nancy Hadfield, Professor of English and (then) Chair of the Division of Professional Education (right), shares a moment with Dr. Larry Peery, Professor of Physics and Curator of the Morrison Observatory, at the retirement celebration last spring for Dr. Peery.hadfieldandpeery


Posted September 17, 2013