Pam Nicholson (’07 MEd, Curriculum and Instruction) and Teresa Taber Doughty, dean of the College of Education, had an instant connection. Both longtime educators, they recognized kindred spirits in each other.
“I was immediately drawn to Dr. Doughty’s enthusiasm and expertise,” says Nicholson, who also received a teaching certificate in elementary education from UTA.
“Pam is an educator to her core,” says Doughty.
When they met, Doughty had just begun plans to create a teaching lab in Trimble Hall. The idea resonated with Nicholson. In fact, the room, Trimble 111, was one in which she had taken classes.
A few years prior, Nicholson and her husband, Brent (’84 BBA, Finance), had established the Brent and Pam Nicholson Endowed Scholarship for the College of Business. She was now looking for a way to support the program that had prepared her for her teaching career.
“My master’s program enabled me to take the next step in my career when I became an instructional coach to first-year teachers, which was truly a dream job for me,” Nicholson says.
Ongoing conversations resulted in her decision to fund the college’s groundbreaking new space, the Pam Nicholson Innovative Teaching and Learning Classroom. The name embodies the aspirations for the space.
The room is now flexible for any teaching situation students and faculty may need to simulate. All furniture is modular and moveable. Added technologies include touchscreen computers, smartpens that can be used for working with children with learning disabilities, interactive robots that help teachers work on coding skills with children, and more. Most importantly, the room now facilitates collaboration and experimentation and encourages adaptability, skills integral to teaching.
“Pam wants to re-create the supportive education experience she had at UTA, while also allowing the college to grow and adjust with the times,” Doughty says.
The Nicholsons also established the Pam and Brent Nicholson Endowed Graduate Fellowship to support education master’s students.
“UTA helped me have the confidence to travel my career path in education,” Nicholson says. “To have even a tiny part in what’s ahead for the College of Education means a lot to me.”