Mari E. Koerner is dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Before participating in a panel on what makes a great teacher, she talked in the Zócalo green room about Arizona sunsets, Christmas carols, and why people keep her up at night.
What word or phrase do you use most often?
What are you keeping in your garage that you should have thrown out already?
All my husband’s sports paraphernalia. Everything at ASU has a Sun Devil on it, and everything with a Sun Devil on it is in our garage.
What do you consider beautiful?
You know, as trite as this may sound, the sunsets in Arizona. They’re absolutely, stunningly beautiful. It makes me feel a little optimistic.
What profession would you practice in your next life?
I would become an engineer.
What’s the best class you ever took?
Gee, I don’t even know if I took a good class ever, and I’m the dean of a college. The best class I ever took was in my doctoral program, a curriculum class that made me look at things differently.
What keeps you up at night?
In my job it’s people—people are sad, people are mad, people aren’t happy, people aren’t doing their job.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Oh, I love Christmas carols! I love “Feliz Navidad.” I listen to Christmas songs all year long. And I use Christmas plates all year long, and I’m not religious. That’s my go-to song. I sang it on my walk this morning.
What three items would you bring with you to a desert island?
I would bring my iPod, except I would have no place to plug it in, but let’s say we had something generated by solar energy, so I could listen to music. I would bring photographs of my family. And I would bring a comfortable chair.
What’s your greatest extravagance?
If you had one more hour in the day, what would you do with it?
I would put my feet up on the coffee table, and I would read the newspaper, maybe The New York Times, maybe just the local paper. And I would watch a TV series, like Happy Valley or something from the BBC, or House of Cards, and just watch episode after episode.