Meet your professor: Selika Ducksworth-Lawton


David Heiling: When did you know you wanted to get into teaching?


Selika Ducksworth-Lawton: It was kind of go with the flow. I was working for a defense contractor while I was in grad school. I was teaching a few classes at Ohio State, and I think that’s when I knew I wanted to go into teaching.


DH: If you weren’t a professor, what is another occupation you would be  interested in?


SDL: I would probably be a musician. My husband jokes that I would either be a musician or a lawyer. Law school is something I thought about, but music is probably more interesting to me, I’ll probably try and get a music  degree after I retire.


DH: Play a little music on the weekends or what?


SDL: I actually just came back from Minneapolis; I played at the coffee house. I do some work with the She Rock women’s rock camps. I’m a veteran of those camps. I’m a jazz musician, play the keyboard and the guitar.


DH: Besides music, what’s your favorite activity to do outside the classroom?


SDL: I spend time with my children, I really like spending and enjoying time with my family. And volleyball. I’m infamous for volleyball around here. I’ve been playing volleyball in Eau Claire for 20 years, I know a lot of people through playing volleyball. We’ve lost some, we’ve won some, but I’ve been on the same team for 15 of those years. It’s a good time.

DH: What’s your favorite class to teach?


SDL: Well I teach (history) 210, African American History. I think my history 444 class is my favorite, my civil rights class. The history 477 class is right there behind it, the military course. Both are the periods that I’m expert in, I work on black veterans. In the battle field and in the civil rights movement, so I have a lot of fun teaching those classes.


DH: What would you say is your proudest moment on campus?


SDL: We had a reunion of alumni about two years ago and the alumni gave me an advising award because I had helped all them graduate. There were about 45 of them there. To know that I had helped them get out of here and that what I told them is continuing to help them in their lives. Negotiating those spaces are very important to me. I don’t just want my classes to be a GE, I want it to be something that helps them the rest of their lives.


DH: Tell me one of the craziest stories you’ve had occur in one of your classrooms.


SDL: One time when I was in one of my classes, I had an officer come up to me and ask to talk to one of my students after class. The class concluded and I asked the student to come up to the front of class. The student decided to run out of the classroom and the police officer followed. A few seconds later more officers came running through the lab in Hibbard 323 and pursued the student. That’s why I say in my first day classes: if you have warrants out for your arrest, please feel free to not come to class.