Faculty Focus: Dr. Meredith Critchfield
DR. MEREDITH CRITCHFIELD
College of Education
Years at GCU: 6
Academic degrees: Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, emphasis in English Education; M.Ed. in English Education
Faculty scholarship (publications, scholarly presentations, fellowships, etc.):
Here are a few of my publications, presentations, and fellowships that were impactful on a national and international level.
Critchfield, M. (2018). “Impact of a faith-based social justice course on pre-service teachers,” Journal of Research on Christian Education, 27(1), 39-55, DOI: 10.1080/10656219.2018.1446853
DeCosta (maiden name), M., & Roen, D. (2015). “Assessing the teaching of writing: A scholarly approach/Assessing the teaching of writing: New trends, new technologies.” Utah State University Press, Boulder, Colo.
Early, J., & DeCosta, M. (2012). “Real world writing for secondary students: Teaching the college admission essay and other gate-openers for higher education.” New York: Columbia University’s Teachers College Press.
Critchfield, M., Hansen, K., Palomino, N., & Akard, J. (2017, July). “Adventures in Candyland: The role and impact of female-focused young adult literature in the language arts classroom.” Presented at the International Literacy Association Conference, Orlando, Fla.
Arizona State University Graduate College Dissertation Fellowship (2011-2012)
Floyd Central High School Teacher of the Year (2005-2006)
Grand Canyon University Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award (2018)
Grand Canyon University Leadership in Research and Scholarly Activity Award (2014)
Notable research in your field:
2016-2018, “Exploring the Phenomenon of a Social Justice Curriculum in a Required Social Justice Course for Future Educators”
Notable employment in your field: I have been an English language arts teacher in the United States and abroad in Kenya, a university English and education professor, and I’ve also served in professional development roles in local public and private schools. I also managed Bob Marley’s family charity several years ago.
What are you most passionate about in your field? I’ve been an educator for 16 years. What draws me back year after year is a desire to serve and do good work. I’ve tried to meander into other professions, albeit briefly, but I always come back to education. I thrive off knowing that I’ve made even an incremental difference in someone’s life. On a bigger scale, teaching is one of the most special professions in the world, and I want to have my hand in making sure that the most loving, compassionate, and well-trained group of teachers are entering our schools and committing to making a difference in children’s lives.
What aspect of your teaching style is the most distinctive and/or memorable? I blend several traits into my teaching. I naturally have a silly sense of humor (my family and friends can attest to this!), and that humor quickly bubbles to the surface in my classes. But I also like to enmesh the love and compassion I have for my students, with all of their challenges and gifts, with high expectations, urging each and every student to pursue their greatness. A great teacher also knows that there is no one “style” of teaching that should always arrive to the classroom; we have to read the room, pay close attention to what our students are saying verbally and non-verbally, and then pivot from there to help students in the way they need to be helped on a given day.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time? I’ve practiced yoga in some form every day for the last 10 years or so. It’s one of the bedrocks of my life, along with my family and my faith. I love it so much that I also teach hot flow yoga on the weekends. I’ve taught for the last six years. Yoga has taught me a lot about life and how I navigate all its peaks and pits. When I attempt a physically challenging yoga pose like a handstand, I have no choice but to breathe and to ease the fluctuations in my mind. It’s like I use what I do on my yoga mat as a training ground for all the ups and downs that life throws at me off the mat. I also met my husband at a local yoga studio and we went through yoga teacher training together, so yoga is fun for both of us. It’s now even become a family affair — we’ve taught our 2-year-old daughter several yoga poses. Can I just say toddlers are flexible?
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know? I love a good adrenaline rush. I’ve whitewater rafted on the Nile River, bungee jumped in the jungle, and I’ve gone skydiving a few times, including once over the Great Barrier Reef. I also went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeling in Fiji. Life is short, but it’s the longest thing as humans that we’ll ever know while we’re here on Earth. I want to make sure that I see as much of the world as I can and most of all contribute as much as I can to make the world a better place. I have a 2-year-old daughter, so it’s critical to me that I model for her what’s it’s like to be a strong woman who draws the marrow out of life, seeking adventure at every turn, and contributes in a big way to this world.