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‘Caring, innovative and passionate’: Miami professor retires after more than 30 years in the field

Professor profile

For over 30 years, Jane Lance has been teaching future educators.
For over 30 years, Jane Lance has been teaching future educators.

For Jane Lance, teaching at Miami University is all about relationships. From students to families and colleagues, Lance never grew tired in her role as an educator for more than 30 years because each new interaction re-energized her.

“That’s what I really enjoy,” Lance said. “Getting to know all the students.”

After the spring 2023 semester ends, Lance, an assistant clinical lecturer in the educational psychology department, will retire from Miami.

Lance started at Miami eight years ago. She spent her first two years working at both the Middletown and Hamilton campuses as an instructional designer and then moved to the Oxford campus six years ago.

Before she came to the university to teach, Lance graduated from Miami in 1984 with a degree in special education. She worked in the public school system as both a second-grade teacher and intervention specialist in Wyoming, Ohio.

Lance has taught classes in both the inclusive special education and primary education programs at Miami. She also helped develop the dual pathway program which allows primary education majors to earn a special education license.

“That’s sort of my niche,” Lance said. “Teaching future educators about how to teach all students in their classrooms.”

Though Lance retired from the public school system, she decided to teach at Miami after working as an adjunct professor.

“I didn’t feel like I was done working,” Lance said. “I just felt like if I’m not gonna teach the little people, I’d like to teach the people who are going to teach the little people.”

Throughout her career, Lance’s proudest moment is helping develop the dual pathway program for education majors. The program currently hosts three cohorts since its planning began in 2019.

“The teacher education program and the special education program have been very siloed over the years,” Lance said. “And so just developing those relationships to do away with those silos and bring the people together and understand that we’re here for all students, not just kids with typical needs.”

In addition to piloting new programs, Lance has enjoyed working with her students.

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“[My favorite part was] getting to know them and seeing how they grow and develop as [future] teachers, as people and educators,” Lance said. “I love getting to know the students, and my colleagues are really awesome.”

Sarah Watt, an associate professor of special education, is a colleague of Lance’s in the educational psychology department.

“Jane is just incredibly innovative,” Watt said. “She cares deeply about her students and she cares deeply about their learning, and even in her last few weeks here, she is changing assignments and getting feedback from students and working to make our program better.”

The class sizes in the education department are typically smaller since many are grouped off into specific cohorts, which helps Lance focus on her relationships within the classroom.

“The thing is, no matter how big her class is, she can tell you every student’s name,” Watt said. “She just really has that personal connection with students and wants them to succeed in both their personal and professional life.”

Emily Kizior, a senior primary education major with a special education minor, is one of Lance’s current students in EDP 494: Assessment, Evaluation and Educational Planning for Learners with Exceptionalities.

“[Lance] shows [us how] to have that care for your students,” Kizior said. “Especially with special ed, she shows [how] to think outside the box and … see them for all their strengths.”

For now, Lance doesn’t have any specific plans for her retirement.

“I’m just hoping to enjoy life a little bit more,” Lance said. “More time with my family, being outside, enjoying walking and exercising, and just visiting people when I want to visit them.”

After more than 30 years in the field, Lance attributes her success to the people around her.

“For me, it’s all about the relationships,” Lance said. “I hope that in some small way, I impacted some educator who will, in turn, impact the students they’re teaching.”