Mair Culbreth, Assistant Professor of Dance, has been competitively selected to represent UWM for the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars (WTFS) program. Starting in May, Professor Culbreth will join professors from a variety of disciplines representing the Universities of Wisconsin.
The program provides occasions for teachers to systematically reflect on equitable teaching practices. “Life gets busy as a teacher, so I rarely get to sit down with others to discuss education and pedagogy on a deeper level,” Culbreth said. “This program offers the opportunity to do so, which is the biggest source of excitement for me.”
A major aspect of WTFS is discussing diverse perspectives with educators who represent a focus on equitable teaching practices. For Professor Culbreth, this was a driving factor that led her to apply for the program.
Much of her work is in queer and feminist art, both analyzing the art that originates from said groups and appreciating how marginalized communities work to expand their given fields. Culbreth has found that “artists who feel they do not fit in tend to push boundaries in their art, resulting in a widespread benefit.” Through this, Culbreth works to reach these communities while also ensuring that everyone benefits from the increase in diversification.
Over the course of a year, the members of the 2024-25 WTFS program will develop a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning project. The project will be shared at a symposium in April 2025.
Culbreth described how the project process helps to reinforce the importance of collaboration across the UW system: “When applying for WTFS, they encourage you not to enter the program with an idea for a project in mind. They stress the importance of getting together in our first few meetings to collectively share ideas and ask questions. That is what will drive the group forward.”
Daniel D. Burkholder, Chair of the Department of Dance, shares in the excitement of having Culbreth represent UWM.
“[Culbreth’s] participation speaks to the work of bridging scholarship with active participation in the field she is already actively pursuing,” Burkholder commented. “This opportunity allows her to deepen and expand her practices as a teacher and scholar.”
The WTFS program is not the only way that Culbreth has been a prominent figure in the field of dance. After dancing professionally internationally, with a performing career in San Francisco, she served on the board of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) as a committee chair for graduate students. Additionally, Professor Culbreth works with communities of people with neurological difficulties combining neuroscience, art, and movement to address quality of life while forming lasting connections.
Culbreth is joined by UWM’s Joan Shaprio Beigh, Teaching Professor of Organizations and Strategic Management in the Lubar College of Business. The Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program is sponsored by Universities of Wisconsin Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID).
Story by Jason McCullum ’25