Math professor ‘always willing to go the extra mile’
After 42 years of teaching — 25 of which have been at MVNU — Dr. Karen Doenges retires at the end of this school year.
Doenges received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Olivet Nazarene University, a master’s degree from the College of Mount Saint Joseph and a doctorate degree in mathematics education from the Ohio State University. She currently serves as chair of MVNU’s mathematics department.
Doenges first came to Mount Vernon in 1978 when her husband accepted a job at MVNU in administrative computing, at which point she taught high school mathematics.
Since she started teaching at MVNU, Doenges has played an important role in various positions around campus.
“I have actually served on almost every committee there is at MVNU over the 25 years here,” she said.
One of her biggest accomplishments was helping initiate the full nursing program while she was the dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences.
“[Starting the full program] was an enormous undertaking,” she said.
Doenges also spent months on a committee that helped plan the Faith, Learning and Living Conference that took place during the summer of 2001. It involved faculty members from Nazarene colleges all over the world.
Conferences like this helped create some of Doenges’ favorite memories from her time at MVNU. She traveled with mathematics education students to events and “wonderful conferences in fascinating places, making connections at those events.”
She has enjoyed working with other faculty members — both at MVNU and
other CCCU schools — “in different contexts: attending leadership institutes, being mentored by other CCCU women leaders and being a mentor myself,” she said.
But the majority of Doenges’ favorite moments have revolved around her students, both in and out of the classroom. Junior math major Rylee Shell is just one student who has felt the impact of Doenges’ caring spirit.
“Dr. Karen Doenges has truly been a blessing to me and everyone in the math department,” Shell said. “When I was going through my crisis of picking a major and figuring out if this was the right school for me, she took me under her wing and dedicated her time to help me figure out my life.”
Shell also expressed her appreciation for Doenges’ positive attitude.
“She is the perfect person to talk to if you need a smile put on your face, and she will do everything in her power to make a person’s day better,” Shell said. “She makes a point to remind me how much I mean to her every time I leave her office.”
Doenges also takes the time to give students extra help in the classroom.
“Dr. Doenges will not let a dedicated student fall behind,” Shell said. “She is always willing to go the extra mile to help her students grasp the material.”
Doenges plans to spend her retirement relaxing and enjoying her time with family, especially her grandchildren. She also looks forward to leisurely mornings drinking tea and travel that’s not restricted to university breaks.