Dr. M. Karen Jogan ’70
Dr. M. Karen Jogan of Reading, Pennsylvania, graduated from Ursinus as a Spanish major in 1970. Soon after, she took a position as a Spanish teacher with Albright College in 1973. From there she has had a profoundly impactful career as an educator that has spanned nearly five decades.
In 1983, Dr. Jogan earned her doctorate in Spanish from Temple University. The following year, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics to spend a year working in Peru. In Peru, Dr. Jogan was a founder of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (Peru TESOL), an organization dedicated to providing instruction and access to the latest tools and methodologies to educators from across Peru. She has attended Peru TESOL’s annual conventions for 30 years. She remains a member of their Board of Directors, and actively recruits keynote speakers from abroad to participate in the organization’s events. She also serves as an editor for their online journal.
Dr. Jogan earned a second Fulbright Scholarship in 1991, which took her to Chile. In Chile, her time was focused on supporting institutions of higher education. She is frequently invited by the Chilean Ministry of Education to consult on cutting-edge curriculum development projects and has organized multiple exchange programs between U.S. and Chilean institutions.
In addition to decades of work with educators in South America, Dr. Jogan has had a major role in academic assessment in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. She has been an accreditation reviewer and team chair for 20 institutions for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 2005.
Some of Dr. Jogan’s many accolades include multiple Diplomas of Honor from the Peruvian Ministry of Education, a Silver Medal of Commendation from Peruvian-U.S. Binational Centers, a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Embassy in Peru, and the Christian and Mary Lindback Award for Innovative Teaching Projects, from her own Albright College.
Dr. Jogan continues to teach Spanish at Albright. She also still works with Middle States on accreditation and actively supports the efforts of Peru TESOL. She has published dozens of academic articles on education and delivered scores over keynote addresses and presentations to domestic and international organizations.
Q&A with Karen Jogan ’70
How is winning an Ursinus Alumni Award significant for you personally and professionally?
It’s a long trek from my Ursinus days to where I am today! It is an honor to be included as one of a distinguished group of alumni, past, present and future. The roadmap that was drawn for me at Ursinus has served me well. Professionally, the award reflects the importance that a liberal arts education
has for me as I have moved in many academic environments in different disciplines and in a variety of countries.
How did Ursinus College prepare you for a career as an educator?
Educators are in general passionate about what they do. Ursinus provided model educators who demonstrated passion – Dr. Vorrath, who galvanized us with an actor’s virtuosity as he enacted scenes from Don Quixote de la Mancha; our Messiah conductor, Dr. Phillip, who magically transformed a ragtag
group of singers into a coherent choral group; Art Professor Sorenson, who spoke so passionately about Philadelphia’s Willet Studio stained glass in the new Coventry Cathedral that my only trip to the U.K. focused on Coventry. That Ursinus faculty passion continues to resonate in all that I do.
How have your Ursinus mentors shaped your role as a leader in your industry?
I can point to several mentors, including Dr. Annette Lucas, Professor of French. Dr. Lucas was a role model who inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. Later, her work at Ursinus with Middle States accreditation led me to chair the accreditation steering committee at Albright College, where I serve as a member
of the faculty; today I am a Commissioner for Middle States, which accredits some 530 universities in our region, Puerto Rico, and abroad. Dr. Shirley Eaton, a beloved professor of Spanish at Ursinus in the 1980s and 1990s, was a highly valued colleague with whom I collaborated on dozens of
conference presentations and papers. Together we pursued two masters degrees beyond the Ph.D, and we worked with teachers in five Latin American countries. I continue this work in teacher education, often citing Dr. Eaton in my sessions.
What has been your proudest contribution to your professional community?
I am proud of my work in international education, of sharing “best practices” for 35 years with teachers and educational institutions in Latin America. The past two years brought us a pandemic, which threatened to shut down teacher education initiatives abroad. Together with a small group of U.S. and
Peruvian educators, we spearheaded virtual international conferences in Peru which connected hundreds of teachers from the jungle, highlands, and coast. “For still try, for who knows what is possible?” resonates in this moment for many, but those Ursinus words shine the brightest light in world regions facing considerable challenges.
What was your proudest UC moment?
In retrospect, Ursinus was a place where undergraduates could interact with the college’s movers and shakers. I count these encounters as my proudest moments. Before he was President, Professor Richard Richter was my freshman comp instructor. He was totally devoted to Ursinus and to UC students and alumni. After his inauguration, he asked me to comment on a letter he was sending out to the community – this was quite a proud moment for me, as the much critiqued freshman English student became a critic! He later wrote me a letter of recommendation for my Albright College teaching position. Dean Pettit, later President, organized an innovative course – Ursinus students were transported to other area colleges to hear “star” lecturers. I recall riding in the back of his station wagon (the past century’s version of an SUV) where the Dean was our chauffeur. He invited Sister Consuelo, an Immaculata nun to the Ursinus campus as a guest speaker – Sister shared images of the highlands of Peru, which galvanized us – inspiring me years later to apply for a Fulbright award to Peru. Those proud moments – President Richter’s careful critiques of my writing, President Pettit’s engagement in presenting UC undergraduates with varied opportunities for learning – set me on the path to support educators in the U.S. and throughout Latin America.