Early Introduction to Computers Sets Career Path for Versatile Educator
Sue Marshall, Ph.D
Director, UG Programs

Irvine, Calif., August 1, 2009

Sue Marshall is the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Department of Education. Under this umbrella title, she wears several hats: manger of undergraduate education programs including a minor in Educational Studies and early preparation options for teaching careers; manager of a new undergraduate program to prepare math and science teachers (Cal Teach); and Co-PI on a couple of grant funded projects offering support and scholarships for aspiring math and science teachers.

Dr. Marshall says of her career path in education,
My career path has taken many turns; each new experience broadens the skills and perspectives that I can bring to my job. I like to think about my work and career from an entrepreneurial vantage point – I look for opportunities to test new approaches and tackle new challenges. I also enjoy working in collaborative environments, learning from and co-developing new ideas with other talented people.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from U.C. San Diego in Sociology and a Multiple Subject Teacher Credential from UCLA, Dr. Marshall started her career as an elementary teacher in Los Angeles. “This was back when Apple IIe computers were being introduced in schools. I enrolled in a workshop on using computers in education, and I was hooked on computer technology. It changed my career trajectory.”

Within a couple of years, Dr. Marshall enrolled in what was a new master’s degree program at the time at Stanford University focused on the design and uses of interactive educational technologies. That led to subsequent positions in the private sector as a technical trainer, including the Manager of Teacher Training at an educational software company. “That was a valuable experience to see how a business was run, compared to the school environments in which I had worked. It also taught me to think about programs from a marketing perspective.”

Ultimately, Dr. Marshall returned to higher education, earning a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at UCLA, and completing post-doctoral work at Northwestern University. Her research focused on the design of technology-supported learning environments to enhance student learning in science, and interventions to support teacher learning in the use of inquiry-based instruction and assessment.

Arriving at the UC Irvine Department of Education in 2000, Dr. Marshall’s career has come somewhat full circle, with much of her work now focused on teacher preparation initiatives. In 2007, Dr. Marshall was part of a team that wrote a successful grant proposal for $2.4 million from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) Foundation to support the development of a new UCI undergraduate math and science teacher preparation program, modeled after a program in Texas called “UTeach.”
I am particularly excited to be working collaboratively with a great team of colleagues from UC Irvine departments of Education, Mathematics, the sciences, and the computer sciences to launch the UCI Cal Teach program. We are doing something new; this will be one of only a few undergraduate teacher preparation programs for science or math teachers in California, and represents a tremendous effort on the part of the UCI math and science departments to recognize, through new changes to their degree program curricula, the importance of attracting talented students from their departments to enter the 6-12 teaching profession. Although we are modeling Cal Teach on a University of Texas program, we have a wonderful opportunity to study and adapt it to best meet the needs of California’s urban students and schools, and to bring to bear some exciting research in math education and learning being done by Department of Education faculty. Drawing on my own past interests in learning technologies, I will be looking for some opportunities within the program curricula to best prepare these new teachers to understand and leverage the affordances of 21st century technology tools and media to support learning and assessment.