Faculty Profile: Michael Ford
Reading education professor Michael Ford MSE ’83 has been teaching at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for 24 years. He attained his master’s degree in science education at UW Oshkosh then went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1987 before accepting the assistant professor in reading education position at UWO.
Ford takes pride in teaching in and out of the classroom by providing leadership and service to professional organizations and youth groups in addition to teaching at UW Oshkosh. He has received numerous awards, including the UW Oshkosh Endowment for Excellence award in 1993 the UW Oshkosh Distinguished Teaching award in 1991 and the Rosebush Award in 2011. The Rosebush award is presented annually to a faculty teacher at UW Oshkosh who reinforces the connection between teaching, research and the University’s total commitment to academic excellence.
He has published over 40 works of instructional literature and is a world traveling teacher, as he has worked with hundreds of teaching agencies throughout the world to educate others on reading issues. Ford has also served as a columnist for Reading Today and is the co-author of Books and Beyond: New Ways to Reach Readers and Where Have all the Bluebirds Gone.
What influenced you to want to be a teacher?
“I had lots of good teachers starting with my third grade teacher who made me want to do what they did. I have also been very active in Boy Scouts since I was a youth and I started teaching skills to other scouts at a fairly young age and enjoyed it. I started working summer camps when I was 15 years old teaching everything from knots to lifesaving. I always enjoyed looking back on the summer and knowing that I had such an influence on so many kids. I knew teaching as a career would give me a similar feeling.”
What do you base your teaching around?
“I believe teachers need to study their own teaching, so I think the best research I can do is often looking at myself and how I teach and what my students learn. The best thing about teaching is knowing that you have the power to influence others in positive ways.”
What are a few of your professional achievements?
“I have written five books for teachers and have presented in 41 states and throughout the world. Usually I present on how to improve classroom practices in elementary classroom reading programs. Topics include motivation, flexible grouping, differentiation and assessment.”
How do you keep in touch with other teaching professionals?
“I use professional organizations like the Wisconsin State Reading Association to stay active and in contact with other educators, especially those on the frontlines in classrooms and schools.”
What is the best advice that you have received from a teacher?
“My high school debate coach once said, ‘It doesn't matter where you go, it's what you do once you get there.’ I have also always believed that if you take a typical lesson plan and craft it to be your own agenda you will exceed the expectations of others.”
What are your hobbies?
“I like to read, write, travel and spend time with family and friends.”