Dr. Buckley was deeply influenced by the social justice mission of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling, particularly the preparation for a career of scholarship and practice that would enhance the life chances of children and families.
Since her early training, Dr. Buckley focused her counseling experience on work in school counseling and community mental health, with an emphasis on working with youth. Her scholarship focuses on socio-emotional development and its intersection with learning and achievement, as well as interventions such as mentoring that promote positive developmental outcomes for youth.
In 1998, she joined the faculty in the Counseling Department at Sonoma State University. Her initial appointment was to the Marriage and Family Therapy program. In 2005 she shifted her primary emphasis to the School Counseling program, and has served as program coordinator since 2006. Dr. Buckley's teaching responsibilities have been varied, including a mix of didactic and supervisory-based courses.
"Maureen is constantly updating her lectures and other teaching materials to reflect current research and changes in the field of counseling. Her commitment to providing students with the best education possible is very clear. While she emphasizes a safe environment in class, she very often challenges her students to step outside their comfort zone to learn and master new information or processes," says Dr. Jayamala Madathil, a colleague in the SSU Counseling Department.
Dr. Buckley strives to promote the personal and professional development of her students. Believing that counseling is an art and a science, she does her best to nurture both elements in her students. She believes that mentoring is an important part of the student-teacher relationship.
She feels that mentoring goes beyond advising or supervising, to include engagement that helps students shape their future as professionals who are engaged meaningfully in the broader context of their unique life experiences.
SSU's Excellence in Teaching Award was first presented in 1997, with generous contributions of the Sarlo Foundation and Wayne Rollins. The monetary gift to the awardee is currently funded by the Sarlo Foundation that was established by George Sarlo and his wife Sejong in 1992 as a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties.
Each year nominations are sought from students, faculty, staff and administrators to acknowledge faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching in the following areas:
• quality of instruction
• creation of an academic environment that successfully encourages high intellectual aspiration and achievement
• effectiveness in mentoring students
• promotion of learning outside the classroom
The recipient becomes part of the Platform Party during Commencement and carries the SSU banner in the exercises and is honored with a reception, usually in the Fall, after the award is given.