Monalisa McGee, Ph.D. — Adjunct Professor
"Having such a varied background, I have been able to share many stories and experiences that help the students to better understand concepts they are learning in classes."
- Ph.D. in Adult Education, Human and Community Resource Development – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- M.S. in Counseling – Creighton University
I developed and implemented a variety of human service grants and federal earmarks leading to the growth of a variety of community-based services for marginalized citizens. A highlight includes one of the final earmarks approved by the United States’ Senate and approved by President Obama—"The Iowa Community Integration Project." I supported the international work of Gentle Teaching International and I will be a keynote speaker at their conference in Iceland in 2016. I have over 15 years of experience in working to support de-institutionalization efforts as an administrator and consultant.
Why did you start teaching?
I experience great joy in being a part of a person's professional and academic growth. I learned (before I became a teacher) that when I teach, my experiences and skills might somehow have an impact on how others serve. My choice of teaching as a career was not made lightly; it was the culmination of a process of reflection about what I wanted to do with my life and my education.
What's the best advice that you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was from my father, Dr. John McGee. He said to always do what you love and love what you do. In the end, that is what matters most.
What's the best advice that you could give your students?
In each of my courses I try to impart the concept of taking time for themselves so that they can continue to thrive in our work. The human services industry can be emotionally taxing, and taking time for self-care is important for them to remain in the industry and to grow in their own lives.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
A Gentle Teaching Primer by John J. McGee and Marge Brown
What qualities make someone particularly successful in counseling?
To be successful in human services, the ability to self-regulate is critical. Self-regulation means changing oneself based on standards, that is, ideas of how one should or should not be. It is a centrally important capacity that contributes to socially desirable behavior, including moral behavior. Effective self-regulation requires knowledge of standards for proper behavior, careful monitoring of one’s actions and feelings, and the ability to make desired changes. When serving others, it is important to have the ability to self-regulate.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that people in the profession face today?
I look at challenges as opportunities and try to impart that hope for the future in my students. I think what’s most exciting about any field of science – and I’ll certainly speak for my counseling profession – is that the answers that are going to be amazing in the next 10 or 15 years are to questions we haven’t even asked yet.
Tell us something your students may not know about you.
My undergraduate years were very blessed. I was actually in college for music – a performance scholarship, but in conducting work with my father, who previously ran the Peace Corps in Brazil, I found joy in teaching and helping others to help themselves.
Links to multimedia:
Gentle Teaching International