ROE R. Cross Distinguished Professor
Teresa A. Mehring
1992 - Teresa A. Mehring
A former Emporia State University colleague paid tribute to Dr. Teresa Mehring, known around campus as Tes, saying, ”In higher education, where few women are in administration, Dr. Mehring provides a role model for not only students but for other professional women. She is a dedicated, brilliant person with the highest standards.”
Mehring did break new ground by becoming the first female dean in school history and then became its first-ever provost of any gender. It just fits with her driven personality and her passion, which she says is to “Provide support, encouragement, and opportunities for active learning and engagement for undergraduate and graduate students.”
After joining the ESU faculty in 1981, Mehring later served as associate chair of the department of psychology and special education and assistant dean/director of research program development and evaluation. She became associate dean of the Teachers College in 1993 and then accepted the position of dean in 1995.
As dean of the Teachers College, Mehring vowed to aggressively pursue technology as a classroom instructional tool and course/delivery model, and as she said, “To quote Wayne Gretzky, I hope to ‘skate to where the puck is going to be’ in anticipating programming needs for the 21st century.”
Mehring was Faculty Senate president in 1990, was the first recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the Teachers College in 1985, and in 1994 she received the Council for Learning Disabilities Professional of the Year award.
Many of the traits that have served her and Emporia State so well, she said, were learned growing up in Helena, Montana.
“When you grow up in a rural state like Montana, you learn to be resilient but also to work collaboratively with others since it often takes many hands working together to accomplish a task. In a state where the population is small, if you commit to doing something, follow through is important. For several years before entering higher education, I worked in the eastern part of Montana as a psychologist and had the privilege of working with children from migrant worker families, as well families on three Native American reservations. I learned much about the value of culture, respect, listening to others, and the contributions all of us make to the whole.
Mehring received her bachelors in applied music, music education, and psychology from St. Mary College in Leavenworth, Kan. She earned a masters in education with an emphasis on special education from the University of Kansas in 1979, a masters in counseling psychology from Southwest Missouri State in 1975, and her doctoral degree in special education/educational psychology both from the University of Kansas in 1981.
As a professor, Mehring’s philosophy is, she said, “The most important skill I can teach is to show students how to make good decisions — decisions which promote equity, dignity of the individual, success, and excellence.”
On her Roe Cross nomination a student noted, “Her door is always open, despite her incredibly busy schedule, and I recall students being in and out of her office most of the day.” That same student called Mehring a mentor, who “helps to mold a person’s ideals and techniques and inspires them to succeed.”
A fellow graduate student wrote, “Many people in our programs were fine scholars and able to synthesize and evaluate information easily. Tes certainly was among the most able in that regard. Other qualities, however, were far more important — qualities like integrity, honesty, and commitment.”
Mehring was known for her research, too, and for collaborating with students in those projects.
“Involving students is a great way for them to learn about the research process,” said Mehring. “It’s also a great way for me to learn how to be a better teacher and administrator.”
In the end, Mehring hopes her students develop “The passion to pursue their dreams, the ability to apply what they have learned, and the commitment to live life to the fullest!”