During the first four years of life, a child’s brain develops faster than at any other time in their life. That’s why teaching young children, beginning with birth, is the most important thing we can do as parents and teachers, says Dr. Ashley Milner, associate professor of education in the School of Education at the University of Mobile.
“We must educate society on the value of caregivers and teachers who work with young children and elevate these careers,” Milner says. She does this by preparing college students at the University of Mobile to become the teachers that young children need in order to thrive.
She teaches courses that focus on child and social development, along with courses on methods of teaching math, science and social studies in the elementary school. We asked Milner what it means to teach at a Christian university where students can “Know and Be Known.”
Q: We say UM offers “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose” where students can “Know and Be Known.” What does that mean to you?
A: This means the University of Mobile offers students a comprehensive education that prepares them to serve others as Christ serves us. We encourage all students to be confident in themselves and spread their light to all they encounter. This also means that students are known for their unique personalities and gifts at UM due to our small, family-like campus.
Q: What is your background?
A: I served 27 years with the Baldwin County Public School System in different capacities – first grade teacher, third grade teacher, gifted education specialist and school psychometrist. My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from Charleston Southern University. My master’s degree is in Elementary Education from UM. My specialist degree is in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida and my doctorate is in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of West Florida. I also hold certification in Gifted Education and School Psychometry from the University of South Alabama.
Q: What was your dissertation topic?
A: My dissertation focused on the role and responsibilities of school psychologists and psychometrists in the special education identification process. This topic drew my interest because school psychologists and psychometrists play a critical role in the identifying students who are in need of special education services.
Q: What are some benefits of UM’s School of Education programs?
A: Our degree programs in Early Childhood and Elementary Education provide students with hands-on opportunities to work with children in a variety of school settings, beginning in their sophomore year of coursework. Small classes allow professors and instructors to provide students with individual support and mentorship.
Q: What do you like most about UM?
A: I love that I know my students and have time to mentor them individually as they complete their coursework.