Meet Marissa Franzen ’16EDD: ‘Help Mold and Ensure Great Educators for the Future’

Teaching Assistant Professor of STEM Education Marissa Franzen

This is part of a series of profiles about faculty who joined the NC State College of Education in 2019-20.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

I received my education from the NC State College of Education, so it is close to my heart. Additionally, I have first-hand experience with the high-level teachers NC State puts out into the world and work force. I wanted to become a part of that team to help mold and ensure great educators for the future.

Meet Marissa Franzen, Ed.D

Title: Teaching Assistant Professor of STEM Education

Education: Ed.D. in Technology Education, NC State University; M.S. in Technology Education, NC State University; B.S. in Technology, Engineering, and Design Education, NC State University

Experience: Middle School Teacher, Henrico County Public Schools; T.A. for Technology, Engineering, and Design Education, NC State; Teacher, Granville Central High School; Teacher, Project Lead The Way

Why did you choose a career in education?

I have always wanted to work in education. Without great teachers, there could be no other profession. Teachers are the fundamentals to all careers, and I find it extremely important for people to not only educate themselves but want to educate themselves for both personal and societal gain.

Why did you choose your specific field?

Technology, Engineering, and Design Education has a large focus on hands-on learning that directly relates to many career paths. Hands-on learning is a vital part of many people’s interests and personal learning styles and I wanted to continue to expand and develop this field.

Why did you pursue a Ed.D.?

I wanted to work in higher education in order to help train educators-to-be.

What are your research interests and how did you become interested in that topic? 

My research interests focus on physical vs. virtual learning. Physical learning is such a great experience but does not make sense all the time. Depending on consumables, time, location, etc., we need to explore virtual learning as well to see if it satisfies the same learning interests and needs or how it differs. So many things are turning towards virtual learning now, we need to make sure this is in the best interests of our students.

What is your teaching philosophy? 

My objective as a teacher is to motivate students to think critically, allow them to develop their own learning interests, and to have open communication. It is vital to establish a learner-centered environment in the classroom and ensure all students are able to be successful. Throughout teaching, for each learning objective, I choose content that is both significant and challenging for the students in order to stimulate their ability to be creative and think beyond their comfort zone. Students should feel as if they are the main part of their own learning process and I encourage this while facilitating the core content of the course to them. Collaborative learning is also central to my teaching philosophy. Collaboration is essential in a student’s learning process to develop important communicative skills for the present and future and it promotes reflective thinking, and improves students’ innovation.

What do you hope your students learn from you? 

I believe students in a technology education environment should feel comfortable investigating and researching topics on their own due to their own natural curiosity. A role of a technology educator is to inspire the glint of curiosity in a student’s eye. Technology is such a wide and vast topic; in order to fully understand a small piece of it a student must be self-driven into looking deeper. I believe that researching is a huge part of being a technology educator, not only for the student, but also for the teachers. Technologies are constantly changing and there are many different teaching tactics; it is important to stay on top of the latest trends and the most influential tactic. It is essential to research in order to always expand knowledge about the field and the best way for students to learn.