Thursday, April 22, 2021

By: Claire Quigle

After 24 years of working for the University of Iowa College of Education, teaching and mentoring thousands of students, Nancy Langguth, associate dean for teacher education and student services, will retire in the summer of 2021.

But her aspiration to be a lifelong learner who treats everyone with kindness won’t end once she retires. 

“When you choose to be a lifelong learner, the opportunities find you, “Langguth says. “When opportunities present themselves, you will be prepared to open the door.”

Throughout her life, Langguth has always sought out new opportunities, choosing to believe in herself and have courage along the way. Along the way, she’s had a profound impact on those around her.

Langguth’s former student Kaleb Farnham, now a teacher of AP Human Geography and freshman World History teacher at Paradise Honors High School in Surprise, Arizona, says Langguth left a lasting impact on him. Farnham came to the UI to study accounting, but after meeting Langguth he switched his major to secondary social studies education.

“Honestly, she's my hero,” Farnham says. “Nancy is someone that inspires the best in every human she comes into contact with, but especially her students. She is brilliant yet decidedly down-to-earth, compassionate, and kind. Without Nancy, I certainly would not have become a teacher, and she's someone that I look to when I think about, "How can I be a better teacher today?"

Originally from Bedford, Iowa, Langguth completed a Bachelor of Science in elementary education as a first-generation college student at Iowa State University. Langguth went on to teach science and reading to middle-level students in the Lenox Community School District in Lenox, Iowa before completing a Master of Science in Education at Northwest Missouri State University.

Langguth then received a doctorate in education from the UI College of Education in 1996. She taught human relations and provided on-site supervision for student teachers at Cornell College for one academic year before coming back to work at the UI College of Education.

In her role at Iowa, Langguth provides leadership for the Teacher Education Program as well as College of Education recruitment, admissions, advising, field experiences, program completion exams, and state licensure. In her work at the college, she also has been involved in facilitating student teaching placements across the U.S. and internationally, as well as teaching several classes.

Jason Dandoy, an alumnus of the UI College of Education, is one of many students whose student teaching experience was coordinated by Langguth. Dandoy taught in northern England and now works as the superintendent for Turner School District in Kansas City, Kansas.

“Dr. Langguth has been one of the most influential leaders who impacted my career,” Dandoy says. “She is clearly an expert in the field of education and teacher preparation. Her content knowledge is exceptional and was delivered with an approach that showed her passion for teaching and learning. I will always cherish my time at the University of Iowa and am fortunate to have learned from such an outstanding educator.”

During her work coordinating international student teaching opportunities, Langguth worked closely with Laura Stachowski, the director of Global Gateway for Teachers at Indiana University.

“I cannot say enough about how rewarding it has been to work with Nancy Langguth over many years,” Stachowski says. “In everything she says and does, Nancy fosters a sense of community and encourages and models respect, trust, and high expectations for achievement for everyone involved in the teaching and learning dynamic”

Langguth has been a part of the UI ACE Task Force, a group that revised the University-wide online evaluation system. She was also instrumental in the implementation of the Teacher Education Program’s use of edTPA, the UI College of Education’s requisite program completion assessment, as well as the use of the Tk20 assessment platform to document teacher candidates’ progress in the program from submission to completion.

Langguth says she treasures the opportunities she has had to support student success.

“If any of Nancy's students are half the teacher she is, they're doing their students a great service and making the world a better place,” Farnham says. “Nancy has always been there for me, finding ways to get me involved in education, in the college of ed, and the community. She saw potential in me that I did not at the time see in myself.”

Langguth serves on the Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) Executive Board and has represented the UI College of Education on the UI Faculty Senate. Langguth has also spent time as the co-lead for the College’s Strategic Plan Student Success Pillar as well as contributed to student scholarship initiatives. She also has served on the inaugural College of Education Continuous Improvement Committee and has been an examiner for the Iowa Quality Center (IQC).

“I’m hoping that my legacy in the College of Education will be that of a colleague, professor, and leader who was a life-long learner, who collaborated with others to bring about positive change, and who was kind in every interaction, Langguth says.”

In retirement, Langguth is looking forward to having more free time to do activities she enjoys. She says her passion for teaching and learning certainly hasn’t come to an end, and she is looking forward to spending more time on activities like biking and time with family.

“Nancy's impact on education and her students is beyond most educator's wildest dreams, but her impact on lives as a human being somehow manages to surpass that,” Farnham says. “The saying, "Great blank, a better person," fits Nancy more than anyone I know. Great educator, and an even better person.”

Read a related story on Langguth's successor, Mark McDermott, who was named the new associate dean of teacher education and student services beginning July 1, 2021.