Graduate students enrolled in Assessment of Learning and Instruction for second semester will study under the course’s new professor, Dr. Cindy Whaley.

Those who have taken Dr. Whaley’s courses, at either the undergrad or graduate level, are familiar with her enthusiasm for teaching and her dedication to literacy.

“I love everything about teaching,” she says. “Everything. I love preparing future teachers. And I love meeting veteran teachers and then learning and growing with them. I also love licensure, because license renewal requires continued learning. And if teachers want their students to keep learning and growing, then they have to do so themselves too. They have to model it.”

Modeling is an important component of Dr. Whaley’s college classroom practice. She models a variety of strategies as she teaches her students about teaching.

“Gone are the days of lecturing in front of the classroom while the students take notes,” she says. “Gone are the days of straight rows and students sitting in alphabetical order. We’re trying to create a collaborative Christian learning environment. If I tell my students that discussion enhances learning, then I have to facilitate discussions in my own classroom. If I tell my students to use a variety of teaching methods and strategies, then I have to use a variety of methods and strategies myself.”

Variety is the name of the game in assessment too, as she and her students will explore in EDU5106 Assessment of Learning and Instruction.

“Assessment is so much more than tests and quizzes,” she says. “Students can demonstrate their learning in so many ways. Take our own MLC students, for instance. They create these portfolios that show off all that they’ve learned, and then they speak about them to their committee. They have this opportunity to share everything they’ve learned at this institution. That’s exciting.”

Graduate students have the additional advantage of immediate application. “The assessments grad students create aren’t just something they complete to get a grade. They’re immediately applicable in their own classrooms.”

Dr. Whaley’s enthusiasm, expertise, and work ethic have won her recognition on several fronts.

The Minnesota Academy of Reading (MAR) just named her Professor of the Year for her contributions to the literacy community of Minnesota. At the MAR Policies and Issues Symposium at Hamline University in January, she will receive her award and present her views on literacy in a keynote address.

In 2015, Dr. Whaley was awarded the Community Support Award for New Ulm Public Schools in recognition of her work with iTutoring. She also won the Celebrate Literacy Award from the Minnesota Reading Association in 2012.

Her love of teaching started back in first grade, Cindy says. “I loved all my teachers, and I loved school. When Mrs. Johnson gave me the handwriting award in third grade, that really hit me. And then in sixth grade Mrs. Peper told me, ‘You have to be a teacher.’ She saw how I loved staying after school and correcting papers and washing the boards. She even gave me a teaching assignment. I was assigned to watch and help one of my classmates who suffered from grand mal seizures. I just loved talking to him and helping him.”

We’re grateful that the Lord of the Church has blessed Martin Luther College—and the WELS—with Dr. Whaley’s gifts and her willingness to humbly share them.

PROFILE: Dr. Cindy Whaley DMLC ’76

BS-Ed      Dr. Martin Luther College

MA          Teacher Leadership, Silver Lake College

PhD         Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota

Teacher at St. John-Newtonburg WI (grades 1-8)

Teacher at Trinity-Liberty WI (grades 1-8)

Professor at Martin Luther College (undergrad: Teaching Reading, Curriculum & Instruction / graduate: A Balanced Approach to Reading, Assessment of Learning and Instruction)

Professional Associations:
President of Southwest Minnesota Reading Council

Advisory Board Member of Minnesota Department of Education

Advisory Board Member of Minnesota Reading Association

Content Review Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education

Consultant at public schools for the Department of Education

Speaker on literacy, brain-based learning, fixed and growth mindsets, and grading and assessment

Philosophy of Education:
I have an eclectic philosophy. You’ve got constructivism, essentialism, pragmatism, realism—all the isms. You have to evaluate them all through the lens of God’s Word. Then you take the best of them and put them to work.

Cindy likes all sports, especially the Minnesota Twins. She enjoys fishing, reading, being outside in nature, and riding her 2014 bright yellow Can-Am Spyder.