Laura Perry

What inspired you to be an educator?

I enjoy teaching. I got into it when I moved to Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall came down. Jobs teaching ESL were easy to come by and a good way to support oneself, so I taught young adults (university aged). It was an enjoyable experience that opened up the door of teaching for me.  My first teaching experience in a university was at Loyola, when I won a Teaching Fellowship.

What are the greatest educational needs in your country?

I guess it depends what country - the US is my home country and Australia is my adopted country, for now at least! I am interested in educational equity, so that's the lens that I use whenever I think about needs and challenges. In Australia, there is a growing bifurcation between public and private K-12 schools that is worrying. It is leading to increased socio-economic segregation between schools. The government is essentially subsidizing the educational system to become more stratified and inequitable. In terms of universities, Australian universities are facing lots of funding constraints. But then again, that is happening everywhere! Overall I would say that K-12 education and tertiary education in terms of quality and access are pretty solid in Australia. It could be improved and it's not outstanding but pretty good. Say a B+ grade!

How has what you learned at Loyola positively impacted your work?

I would say that Loyola made two major contributions to my career as an academic, both of which are related to its Jesuit mission. First, Loyola (the ethos, faculty, fellow students, everything that makes up the Loyola experience) taught me to be an independent and critical thinker who eschews easy answers and quick judgments. Second, Loyola taught me the value of service to one's community and to people who are less advantaged than me. I can see both of these influences very clearly in my teaching and research.