Faculty Focus: Dr. Michael Nelson

Dr. Michael Nelson
Assistant Professor of Teacher Education


What led you to be a professor?


As anyone in the education field already knows, teachers must have empathy and compassion for their students. I have always been inspired by my teachers because of their devotion to the profession and their commitment to their students. It is because of these two ideas I decided to become a teacher and later a professor myself. As one who is passionate about education and helping others, I know the power of knowledge and what it can do to transform lives. Whether as a student, teacher, or now a professor, possessing knowledge has been a key to my success. Having the opportunity to share my knowledge, past experiences from the classroom, or tell a poorly timed joke all contribute to helping others become better teachers and hopefully better people who can intentionally contribute to society.


What are your favorite research topics and why do they interest you?


One of my favorite research topics involves studying how to improve the achievement levels of underserved populations by closing the learning gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged. 

My dissertation was titled, “A Causal-Comparative Analysis or Principals’ Leadership Styles and Student Achievement in Arizona’s Tribal Schools” (2017). In it, I examined whether a principal’s leadership style influences how their students did academically. In addition to this topic, I also have researched the importance of literacy in lower socioeconomic environments. The main reason why these topics interest me is that school leaders and/or teachers can motivate and engage their students through empathy and compassion by promoting a positive learning environment. John C. Maxwell once stated, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  


What’s the top thing you’ve learned through your research, thus far that you want to share with students?


The top idea I’ve learned through my research that I would want to share with students is that regardless of one’s background or ability all students can be successful. As someone who is training and preparing the future generation of teachers, it is important to note that parents send their very best students to school each day. It is up to them as teachers to mold and make them into productive individuals.  



What was your favorite project you’ve done and what do you think was the coolest/most interesting aspect of it.


One of my favorite aspects of my job at KWC is working with our teacher education organization- KEA Aspiring Educators. My favorite project we have done so far is building and delivering a book bin for a local middle school. Giving back and assisting in our community is a valuable part of being a part of the Wesleyan family which I appreciate!