Dr. Mary Trepanier-Street is lauded for her leadership by her colleagues at the University of Michigan-Dearborn
(UM-Dearborn) and by child development experts at colleges and universities all over the state.
After receiving her degree in child development and elementary education from Marygrove College, she earned a master’s in educational psychology at Miami University (Ohio) and a doctorate in education from the University of Rochester (New York). She also studied at Northern Illinois University.
Dr. Mary Trepanier-Street has been a faculty member at UM-Dearborn for over thirty years. This year, the UM-Dearborn Alumni Association presented her with the Faculty of the Year Award for her exceptional teaching and administrative work.
Mary has two important and distinct roles at UM-Dearborn. As Associate Dean of the UM-Dearborn School of Education, she supervises student teachers and the undergraduate program. She is also director of the Child Development Center, a laboratory school where more than 200 students participate in early childhood learning each year. Recently, the Child Development Center relocated to a larger site, allowing for increased enrollment in children ages one to six. The expanded program is in collaboration with the Oakwood Hospital Center for Exceptional Families. It will be an inclusive education center where children, with and without disabilities, and their families can learn together. It will serve children of students, faculty, staff and the community.
According to former Dean, Dr. Jane Romatowski, the Child Development Center is recognized as a model center, the highest recognition possible from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The Child Development Center maintains its accreditation and is seen as a model for those wishing to establish care giving centers. The Child Development Center is guided by the Reggio Emilia
philosophy of teaching which emphasizes respect for children as learners and their competency. Children are involved in long-term projects often documented with photography. It is an immersion program that follows the child’s interests and has proven to be effective over many years. According to Dr. Karen Paciorek, the school has a national reputation as an outstanding facility to observe the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education in action. “Dr. Trepanier-Street directs what, by many is considered the best early childhood education program in the state,” says Paciorek.
In addition to her work on campus, Mary has been an advocate for early childhood education as a critical requirement for teacher certification. She has collaborated with representatives from other colleges and universities to lobby the issue.
She has authored and co-authored over forty published articles, book chapters and abstracts on many aspects of teacher education, child development and the education of children with special needs, as well as other facets of her profession. She loves research which is reflected in titles documenting her research experiences.
Sister Marie Hopkins, IHM, Professor Emeritus, Marygrove College, writes, “Not only does Dr. Trepanier-Street publish, she is a popular lecturer who is in demand for topics ranging from ‘Personal and Professional Growth of College Mentors of Young Children,’ and ‘Encouraging a Generation of Peacekeepers’ to ‘How Do Children Represent Their Thinking?’ Titles of her publications and her lectures show her desire to foster compassion in others. She must first possess it in order to promote it.”
Mary has held leadership positions in many professional organizations. She has also been appointed to advisory boards such as the Dearborn Public Schools. The Michigan Early Childhood Education Consortium thrived during Mary’s presidency, according to many of Mary’s colleagues.
Marygrove was a legacy for Mary because her mother, Mary Morgan, graduated from the College in 1947. Mary remembers Marygrove College, “I received such an excellent education there, a wonderful base for my further studies in teacher education. I was educated by bright, progressive thinking women.”