Alumna Nel Noddings ’49 is an educator, and philosopher best known for her work in philosophy of education, educational theory, and ethics of care. She has been Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University since she retired in 1998.
Noddings received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical science from Montclair State in 1949. After Montclair State, she went on to earn her master’s degree in mathematics from Rutgers University in 1964, and a Ph.D. in education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 1973.
She has worked in various areas of the education system. Throughout her career, she spent seventeen years as an elementary and high school mathematics teacher and school administrator, before earning her PhD and beginning work as an academic in the fields of philosophy of education, theory of education and ethics, specifically moral education and ethics of care.
Noddings credits her early educational experiences in inspiring her passion for teaching. It was her own positive experiences of being taught, including her time at Montclair State, which motivated her to pursue a career in education.
“My own school days influenced my decision to teach,” she says. “I loved school. I had a lot of great teachers.”
In 1977, she joined Stanford University and was the Jacks Professor of Child Education from 1992 until 1998. While at Stanford University she received awards for teaching excellence in 1981, 1982 and 1997. For four years, she was the associate dean or acting dean of the School of Education.
After leaving Stanford University, Noddings held positions at Columbia University and Colgate University. In addition, she is past president of the Philosophy of Education Society and the John Dewey Society. In 2002-2003, she held the John W. Porter Chair in Urban Education at Eastern Michigan University.
Over the years, she has authored twenty-two books and written more than 200 articles and book chapters on various topics ranging from the ethics of care to mathematical problem solving.
Among all her many accomplishments, Nodding says that she’s proud of the books and articles she has written over the years, as well as being appointed to an endowed chair at Stanford University.
She reminisces fondly on her time at Montclair State, and encourages current students to “support one another and to make new connections”.