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September 2010  |  Return to issue home

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Meet Nancy Hertzog

Nancy B. Hertzog joins the College of Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where she worked in the special education department. She will be working in educational psychology, focusing on her work in gifted education. Additionally, Hertzog will be the director of the Robinson Center at the University. She is eager for the challenges that these new roles will bring, though her background has undoubtedly prepared her for this important work.

Says Hertzog: “At the College, I’m looking forward to the different learning environments and there are so many possibilities that I see here at the center and working with colleagues at the College of Ed who overlap in some way. I’m excited to forge new scholarly work. And while I don't know what there is, I’m excited about the possibility.”

Read more in University Week about Hertzog’s arrival to the University.

As a youth, Hertzog wanted to become a first-grade teacher. Yet after obtaining her master’s degree, she continued work in the area of gifted education, “coordinating gifted programs and teaching in a variety of settings, from preschool to secondary education for the next 15 years.”

Her career trajectory took her to the University of Illinois, where she honed her focus on gifted learning, in part through mentoring from Merle B. Karnes.

“Merle Karnes was an innovator,” Hertzog explains. “She brought gifted education to students with disabilities. And that was very intriguing to me, to work with a population that wasn’t always identified as gifted. Merle was the director of that program and when she left I became the director of that program. We looked at students who were not traditionally identified as gifted. A lot of my work is with students who we call typically underserved, looking at equity and access for those children.”

Since 1995, Hertzog has directed the University Primary School. When asked what similarities she sees between this experience and her upcoming work as director of the Robinson Center, she says that parents are the shared feature.

"Parents are always concerned about their children,” Hertzog elaborates, “and the amount of input that parents have now in children’s education is much greater than when I was a youth. There weren’t choices like there are now. Parents have a lot of choices and its important to make a good match, whether you are 3 or 4 or 15 and 16, its important to find a place where your child thrives. I also see innovative curriculum as a key feature of both. At one end of the spectrum we are trying to find out how to make young kids understand inquiry. The older ones are also looking at innovative approaches to understanding.”

The community is eager to begin work with Hertzog. As former Dean Pat Wasley said, “I’ve truly enjoyed my discussions with Dr. Hertzog and I know that our faculty resonated with her during her campus visit. She is a fantastic researcher and we are lucky to have her joining us!”

September 2010  |  Return to issue home

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