We Are UNCW Telling our story, one Seahawk at a time.

Dana  Stachowiak

February 13, 2018

Dana Stachowiak has nearly 20 years of teaching experience under her belt, but she continues to learn important lessons every time she steps into a classroom.

“Teaching has reminded me how important collaboration, compassion and commitment are, not just to the profession, but also to life,” she said. “I’ve become a better person, professionally and personally, because of teaching.”

Stachowiak joined UNCW in 2016 as an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the Watson College of Education. Prior to UNCW, she was an assistant professor of diversity and multicultural education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She was a classroom teacher and district curriculum specialist for a decade before settling into a career in higher education.

“It has always been a dream of mine to partner the academy and public schools in ways that benefit the students, teachers and the university,” she said. “I felt being in academia would give me access to resources that public teachers don’t have access to, and that I could share with them. Quite intentionally, most of the work I do puts resources in teachers’ hands.”

Stachowiak studies social and cultural issues and trends in education, and works to create curricula that is equitable and socially just. She said the field has always fascinated her, “especially the ways that we can make education more accessible to and inclusive of all students. I love my job.”

She also loves the relationships and community that form when she’s teaching.

“My teaching style is very student-centered and focuses on ‘lived curriculum,’ using the present moment as the guide for teaching and learning,” she said. “This is initially uncomfortable for students, but in the end, many of my students comment that they learn more than ever, build stronger relationships with classmates, and find a new love for learning through a lived curriculum approach to pedagogy. The transformation that takes place in my students excites me.”

Stachowiak strives to equip her students with knowledge that will have a positive impact on the students they will someday teach. “I hope my students walk away from our time together as equity-minded, inclusion-seeking and transformational leaders in education.”

When she’s not in the classroom, Stachowiak’s second favorite place is the swamps of Louisiana, surrounded by towering Cypress trees, Spanish moss and alligators.

“I find kayaking down a narrow bayou or a wide-open swamp filled with gators, turtles, and egrets to be one of the most relaxing, soul-drenching things for me,” she said. “If you can’t find me, I’m probably out in a swamp.”

-- Venita Jenkins