Education Professor Darlene Maxwell Continues Last Lecture Series

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HARTSVILLE – March 22, 2016 – As part of the Coker College Last Lecture series, Darlene M. Maxwell, professor of education and early childhood program coordinator in the Wiggins School of Education, will present a lecture titled “Intuition, Play, and Moral Development in Children” on Monday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. in Davidson Hall Auditorium.

Established in 2011 by Coker College President Robert Wyatt, the Last Lecture series is a tradition created to celebrate academic excellence and individual achievements of retiring Coker faculty.

“Dr. Maxwell exemplifies the notion that good teaching is about so much more than simply passing along knowledge,” said Tracy Parkinson, Coker College provost. “Rather, good teaching is about captivating imagination and fostering a desire to learn more.”

Maxwell has been teaching at Coker as a full-time faculty member since 2004, after having previously served in an adjunct faculty position. Prior to Coker, Maxwell taught for a total of 10 years in higher education from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa. to Mercer University in Atlanta, Ga. She also spent 10 years in early childhood and elementary classrooms from Tacoma, Wash. to Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Frankfurt, Germany to the Montessori School of Camden in Camden, S.C.

Maxwell earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Arizona in 1996, her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Boston University in 1989 and her B.S. in Elementary Education from Presbyterian College in 1973. She is also a certified Montessori Primary/Elementary Classroom Director and teacher educator.

“Dr. Maxwell’s influence can be seen in so many areas of the Wiggins School of Education,” said Susan Henderson, associate professor of education and chair of the Wiggins School of Education. “As early childhood coordinator, she has enabled that program to grow and flourish as well as receive national recognition. Her work with undergraduate students and the importance of advocacy within education has led to these students presenting projects in many local and state venues. With her creation and teaching of the graduate courses in classroom inquiry and action research, M.Ed. candidates present how they enrich their own students’ classroom experiences. Dr. Maxwell's wisdom and expertise will be missed, but her legacy will continue through the Coker story she has written with countless students, graduates, teachers and colleagues over the years.”

At the college level, Maxwell has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in early childhood curriculum, child development, educational psychology, elementary science and math methods, research methods and Montessori educational foundations. Traveling across the country, she has also served as a teacher educator for a hands-on science curriculum from the University of Hawaii and a teacher preparation program for Montessori education.

Maxwell is the co-author of “Culture X Goes to School: Public Education and the American Culture,” 2nd ed. (Ebert/Maxwell, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), a revolutionary perspective on creating effective change in the American educational system. Additionally, she has published a chapter, “Go Outside and Play!,” in “Connecting Children to Nature: Ideas and Activities for Parents and Educators.” Maxwell has continuously published research in the area of children's play. As secondary author, her article ”Impact of Recess on Classroom Behavior: Group Effects and Individual Differences,” published in The Journal of Educational Research (Jarrett, Maxwell, Dickerson, Hoge, Davies, Yetley, 1998), continues to be cited by scholars studying the benefits of play. Maxwell is responsible for hosting an annual community-wide “Play Day,” held on Coker’s campus, for approximately 600 preschoolers, their parents and teachers, community agencies and Coker College faculty, staff and students.

Passionate about the need for play in children’s lives, Maxwell has presented on this topic at state, national and international conferences. She is a board member of the International Association for the Child's Right to Play in the United States / American Association for the Child's Right to Play and a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Montessori Educational Programs International. Maxwell and her husband (Art), a retired career military officer and IBM consultant, reside in Camden and continue to enjoy traveling with their daughter (Jennifer), son-in-law (Matthew), grandson (Maxwell), and granddaughter (Adele Caroline).

This event is scheduled in conjunction with the College’s Celebration of Academics, April 4-6. For more information about the Celebration of Academics at Coker College, visit



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Coker College is a student-focused, private liberal arts college located in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker combines round table, discussion-based learning with hands-on experiences to encourage active participation in and out of the classroom. A supportive, close-knit community prepares Coker students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best, in college and beyond.

Founded in 1908, Coker is a bachelor’s and master’s degree-granting institution and competes in 24 NCAA Division II sports. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as one of the Southeast's "Best Bang for the Buck" colleges.