Dr. Waring came to UW-Whitewater in 2012 after earning her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. She has taught courses on social problems, white racism, and ethnicity and race. Her areas of specialization include racial and ethnic relations; minority and multiracial families; qualitative research methods; and media and gender. In 2012 she earned 1st place in the the Association of Black Sociologists Graduate Student Paper recognition. Below are some observations on her first year at UWW and other interesting information!
Now that you have completed your first year as a faculty member at UW-Whitewater, can you share one reflection on the year?
Absolutely, I feel like I was a sponge this past year because I learned so much! I spent the first semester getting acclimated to Wisconsin and to my new position as an Assistant Professor, with 160 students! I spent the second semester figuring out ways to have more balance (i.e. exercise, mentor a student, write/revise, plan fun activities and volunteer). It’s really important to me to have a full life, that way I enjoy each component that much more—because I have healthy breaks from each. Also, my cohort is great! We had plenty of social gatherings where we could vent, laugh and learn from each other so having that community to tap into as fellow newbies was very beneficial.
What is her favorite thing about UW-Whitewater so far?
She feels really welcomed at UW-Whitewater. It also is a good fit for her because everyone that she has met is very genuine and down to earth as well as supportive and fun to be around.
What made her want to teach?
When she was four, she was able to witness her mother homeschooling her brother, and distinctly remembers watching them and wanting to be a part of that process. Because of the brief homeschooling experiences in her youth, she was very excited to go to school, and she had very positive experiences with her teachers. At each grade level, she felt a connection and desire to teach at that level. When she reached college she found that professors were truly able to be engaging with their students and decided that was where she belonged.
What is her approach to teaching and what can students expect in the classroom?
Dr. Waring’s approach is to be unorthodox. On the first day, she tries to do something different, including fun, eclectic ice breaker questions. Her approach is very student- centered. She enjoys doing hands-on activities (e.g. using course material to construct a twitter message or a postcard) students wouldn’t expect so that they are excited about class. She brings personal experience into the classroom, so that students are able to relate to the examples more clearly and remember more easily.
What is one experience that occurred during her undergraduate or graduate school experience that made a definite impact on her approach to her academic career?
During her freshman year, she had a professor who was passionate, smart and not easily impressed. In grad school, she had a lot of sharp professors who did activist work and who were very connected to the community. It was very inspiring to work with these professors because they excited her intellectually and made her want to be a part of that process for other people.
What book would she recommend to her students?
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini because when she began reading it she couldn’t put it down. The writing is absolutely beautiful and the story is such a classic example of the human condition. It creates a strong sense of empathy toward the characters.
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss because it’s a very quick read that really puts life into perspective and gives you tools to deal with pain, failure, and other aspects of life. It’s particularly helpful for young adults learning to deal with life in a new perspective.
What is something that students would be surprised to learn about her?
She has taught students who are now professional athletes in the NBA and NFL. She also once rode an elephant.
What does she like to do outside of work?
She likes to exercise, loves to travel, crochet, meditate, read, write, and attend concerts.