Associate Professor of Elementary Education
Ed.D., National-Louis University
M.Ed., Lesley College
B.A., Emmanuel College
An upbeat, energetic professor, Cathy Wimett does a lot of things to connect with her Education students and to help her students connect with each other and topics addressed in her courses. Students quickly learn that in Cathy’s classes they don’t just show up, sit, and get lectured to — they actively participate.
Because much of what they do in class is interactive and involves working in small groups, Cathy and the entire class start the semester by taking the time to learn each other’s names and interests — they really get to know one another. Cathy has found that having students make interpersonal connections early on helps stimulate class discussions and group interactions — something her students will later find valuable as they work in schools with children, their families and colleagues.
Working in Pairs and In Small Groups
Depending on the activity, Cathy has her students collaborate in pairs or in small groups. This allows for quick sharing of information, reviewing each other’s writing, participating in small-group discussions and working on projects. The pairs and groups are especially valuable when the students work together in “literature circles” reading, responding to and discussing children’s literature. Students develop a variety of ways to respond to and evaluate the literature, and they participate in a strategy that can be implemented in elementary classrooms.
Making the Transition From High School to College
Cathy believes one of the hardest transitions from high school to college is that in high school, students have homework, it’s due, and then they’re done with it. In college, however, long-term assignments are often the rule. Cathy assigns students a number of long term projects early that are not due until later in the semester. Students work on sections of projects throughout the semester and receive feedback before the final projects are due. Cathy does this because long-term assignments model what her Education students will be doing when they are professional educators.
Outside the Classroom: Innovation and Excitement — Putting Theory into Practice
A few years ago, Cathy and her students coordinated a major educational event on campus, the UMF Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Working with faculty and students in other Farmington academic disciplines (Psychology, Rehabilitation Services, Special Education, etc.,) Cathy and her students performed a number of event functions: serving as ambassadors for the day, introducing speaker panels, working registration, etc. It gave her students a hands-on experience running a major educational conference that drew professional educators and administrators from across the state as well as several hundred UMF students.
She also helps her Education students connect with children’s book authors and illustrators. For instance, her students met Talking Walls author Margy Burns Knight from Winthrop, Maine and Talking Walls illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien from Peaks Island, Maine. At that time, Cathy’s students (who were doing their teaching practicum at local schools) brought school children on campus to the on-campus UMF Art Gallery to see O’Brien’s paintings for the Talking Walls books. For the special showing, the Art Gallery Director worked with Cathy’s students to set up hands-on art activities for the children, using the same media the illustrator used.
A True Academic — Areas of Special Interest
Cathy Wimett’s strongest areas of expertise are in children’s literature and literacy instruction. Teaching reading and language arts as well as helping future teachers understand how to use children’s literature effectively in the classroom are her academic passions.
Respected in the Field — Noteworthy Accomplishments
Named or nominated the University of Maine at Farmington’s “Outstanding Faculty of the Year” many times, Cathy is well known among Farmington students as a trusted, caring mentor. Considered one of UMF’s finest faculty advisors, she has worked with First-Year students, often helping them to adjust to college life and being away from home for the first time, as well as helping with classroom assignments, and educational theories and concepts. And her mentoring role continues through students’ senior year and beyond – helping advisees apply to graduate school, reviewing grad school application essays, and helping students to tighten and polish their resume. Cathy is always there for her students.
She has published numerous book chapters and journal articles on literacy education issues and has given presentations and conduced workshops on literacy instruction from California to Maine. Cathy is also a member of many professional educators’ organizations, including the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Reading Conference, and the New England Reading Association.
Outside of Academia — Personal Interests and Activities
As an avid kayaker, the Farmington area is the perfect location for Cathy: Clearwater Lake, The Sandy River, Mercer Bog, Hopkins’s Stream, Parker Pond, Flying Pond, Varnum Pond, Wilson Lake, Cathy paddles them all. She also kayaked off Vancouver Island in the Pacific. Cathy also enjoys hiking and traveling.