Q&A with UM School of Education Dean Debra Chancey

Kathy Dean Alumni, Education, Faculty Q&A, Graduate, News

There are many institutions of higher education in Alabama, and most institutions have one main purpose – helping their students acquire knowledge. However, the University of Mobile has an even higher purpose, says Dr. Debra Chancey, dean of the UM School of Education.

“While acquiring knowledge is indeed important for the student, it is also just as important to have a higher purpose for acquiring that knowledge. Many of our students at the University of Mobile use their knowledge to become what God has intended them to become and use their knowledge to serve and glorify Him,” she says.

We asked Chancey to tell us more about how the University of Mobile School of Education prepares students to follow their calling to teach.

Q: What do you like most about UM?

A: The University of Mobile is a Christian university, and I am proud of that fact. That is one reason I chose to attend UM as an undergraduate student and later as a graduate student. I wanted to learn in an environment that placed an emphasis on the Christian perspective, and UM does just that.

Q: What is your background?

A: I am proud to say that I earned two degrees at the University of Mobile. My undergraduate degree included a triple major in Elementary Education, English and Business Administration, with certification at the elementary and secondary levels. I later earned my Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership at the University of South Alabama.

After being an educator for 25 years in public schools, I started teaching at the University of Mobile in 2005. I taught college courses for 10 years in the School of Education, and then I was asked to be the Director of Institutional Effectiveness and later the Assistant VP for Accreditation in the Office of Academic Affairs. A little over a year ago, I was asked to be the dean of the School of Education. The 15 years that I have spent working and serving at the University of Mobile have been extremely rewarding.

Q: Your dissertation was about online learning and teaching. What drew your interest to that area of study?

A: I feel that online teaching can be a tool to reach students for Christ when taught with a Christian perspective in mind. In addition, when I started my dissertation, the University of Mobile was adding new online programs; therefore, I wanted to learn more about online teaching and learning so I could assist with the university’s new endeavor.

Q: Why should someone choose to study education at UM?

A: Education is a wonderful field to enter if you want to make an impact on others. The impact you make can have a ripple effect for generations to come. Also, I am passionate about the personal touch that students receive at the University of Mobile. Faculty, staff and administrators take a genuine interest in UM’s students. The School of Education has a program for anyone who is interested in education, from early childhood education to higher education.

Q: What courses do you typically teach?

A: I teach some of the courses in the Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Program, but I also teach TE 301 Human Growth and Development and other elementary education courses as needed.

Q: What is something you enjoy doing?

A: I enjoy organizing things. This has been a hobby of mine for many years. It makes me feel so good to have everything in order!

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is assistant vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.