Cultural passion infused SPN professor

During her undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University, Spanish professor Lorrie Murray studied abroad in Mexico and fell in love with the country. According to Murray, the time helped her with her Spanish speaking skills and to further her degree.

“Everything about the culture past and present excites me,” Murray said. ”It’s interesting, colorful, beautiful and the people are so genuine and welcoming.”

Murray received her bachelors and masters degrees in secondary education with an emphasis in Spanish from CMU and has been a professor at CMU for four years.

Her curriculum relies on the cultural communicative aspect of learning the Spanish language. How students communicate in class is based on how relevant the material is to the students. Murray uses skits and word association to help students understand and communicate the language in their own way.

“It’s not about me, it’s about me giving students the tools to learn the language and to become proficient,” Murray said.

Midland sophomore Kayla Striker had Señora Murray in the spring of 2010 for SPN 201 and said she truly enjoyed the class.

“She’s so enthusiastic about Spanish. She’s probably my favorite teacher so far here at Central,” Striker said. “She had activities that helped you remember the material, like acting out vocabulary words, or she would sometimes act out skits.”

Murray is also the foreign language subject matter supervisor at CMU. This aspect of her position requires that each semester she observes all student teachers in the foreign language department. Her class times are limited to Mondays and Wednesdays to allow her the time to travel to the high schools where students are student teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Despite everything that is required of her as a professor, such as lesson plans, grading, and traveling to schools around the state, Murray always puts family first. Her family has a small legacy growing at CMU.

Her father and mother are both retired faculty members and her aunt and uncle are current faculty.

“I have no shame in saying that they come first,” Murray said. “I am so lucky to have a supportive family that loves what I do and takes interest in what I do.”

Balancing family and work is a struggle for any full-time mother or father but Murray said for her it seems to happen naturally. With everything she has to do she still finds the energy to do it all.

“As soon as I’m in front of the class there is a switch that just turns on,” Murray said.” I love to ham it up.”

And it shows, as Murray’s passion for teaching never ends. She attributes her passion to her mentors, her mother, retired CMU faculty member Mary Gilingham, and Sue Knight, foreign language department chair. Murray said they both inspired her to be who she is today.