Professor Spotlight: Maureen Dorment

Meet an MU Lecturer of History and Anthropology

Professor Maureen Dorment, a lecturer of history and anthropology, has been a lifetime lover of learning. Although it was not always her plan to become a teacher, she finds herself very thankful for the way that things turned out. Dorment loves being in the classroom and the students she teaches. She has much wisdom and knowledge to share and her passion for her profession is expressed to anyone who has met her.

Dorment began teaching at the University in the fall of 1993, after completing her master’s degree here, which she started in 1989. Prior to that, she attended Georgetown University and received her undergraduate degree. To continue bettering herself, in the late 90s Dorment began taking classes at Drew University to earn her Ph.D., while continuing to teach here.

Because she is so passionate about her career, some find it surprising that Dorment did not always plan to be a teacher. “No it wasn’t the plan to become a teacher, and I have to say I’m really fortunate it just worked that I got in the classroom and I really loved it. I love the students, I love the interaction. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to really pursue it and work at it, and improve my scholarship,” said Dorment.

Dorment has worked very hard and achieved many things all without a role model or inspiration to guide her in the right direction. “I think I was a chronic overachiever, and I just worked really hard. And when I came here I worked really, really hard. I know my children used to look at me all the time and say, ‘what are doing?’ and I would say, ‘I’m studying,’ and they would just shake their heads,” she said.

Dorment said she did not have any major career goals prior to coming to the University. “Basically, when [I was] in college, the whole idea was that you dated someone and you got married and you had children, so that is what I did,” said Dorment. “I have five kids and I took care of them, did the whole suburban mother routine, coached every sport, was on the school board, and did that until my oldest went to college and that is when I came here.”

Dorment has no regrets about how things turned out for her. “If I could change [anything] I would still teach college, I just wish I could have started earlier. I think it would have enabled me to do a little more, to have been at this for a longer time. That is my one big regret, that I didn’t start earlier and younger,” she said.

Although Dorment has found a home for herself teaching it seems there has always been a place in her heart for the classroom. Growing up her favorite subject was one that most students would shy away from, “Oh, that is hard to say. Let’s put it this way: my least favorite subject was math. I always loved history. I always loved languages and I studied languages in college. I think actually my favorite subject was Latin. I really loved it, it was just like a puzzle.”

From all her time in the classroom, Dorment has seen and acquired some memorable students. When asked if any in particular stick out to her, she looked down chucked to herself and pulled a blue examination book off her shelf. “The first year I was teaching, I had a student who was a very smart guy, but he had the trials and tribulations of Jobe. So for the final exam he showed up after an hour and 45 minutes, and the exam was two hours,” said Dorment.

She continued, “I said, ‘where were you?’ and he said, ‘my car had a flat tire on the parkway and it took forever to get here.’ He asked if he could please still take the test and I said okay. And this is the test,” she said holding up the blue book,” he spent the whole [time] writing what happened to him. He did write the exam also and he did a very good job. We had all gone out to our Christmas lunch and one of my friends was watching him take the test, and she said he was there for about four hours. And it really made me laugh; it was very funny.”

Although Dorment has been in the classroom most of her life, she has plans to continue her education after she is done with her time here. “I am going back to school. I am going to learn math, and I am going to learn chemistry and physics, and I am going to learn and understand how the world works. I just feel I need to know these things. I’ll probably be in school forever because I really like it.”

Outside of the classroom, Dorment used to be an avid tennis player. “[Tennis] was really great therapy for me when I had all these little children, and I met a lot of wonderful people doing that,” she said.

Now Dorment uses the little spare time she has to spend time with her grandchildren and see her children and friends. “One of my great objectives, sooner or later, is to take up bridge, but I’m not quite there yet.”

Along with sports Dorment also loves movies, although it is hard for her to say which is her favorite. “Oh, that all depends on my mood. I love the movies, and it’s only because I have been thinking about it as of late, “Reds” with Warren Beatey and Diane Keaton.”

Along with movies Dorment loves music and books, “Oh I love The Beatles, always, you can never go wrong with The Beatles. And for my favorite book, I have many favorite books, but I’m going to have to go with “North and South” and then “Jude the Obscure.” I love them both,” she said.