Passing of a Colleague and Friend, Susan E. Noffke, June 2013

by The College of Education  /   Jun 3, 2013

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Our dear colleague and friend Professor Susan E. Noffke passed away on Saturday morning, June 1, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana from a respiratory infection and complications linked to her cancer.

For the past two years, Dr. Noffke has been dealing with cancer, but she was adamant about not being defined by it or its consequences. She was incredibly graceful and courageous in dealing with her illness, and made extraordinary accommodations to continue to teach her courses, work with her students, lead the College of Education efforts to re-design our teacher education programs, and grow lupins in her garden. Dr. Noffke's passion and dedication to her scholarship, her students, and the world of teacher education were unparalleled. She has shaped and touched the lives of countless students and colleagues across the globe.

Dr. Noffke with students in May 2012Dr. Noffke received her B.A. in Music Education from Lawrence University (1972), and M.S. and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin—Madison (1980, 1990). She joined the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at Illinois in 1993 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1998. For more than 25 years, Dr. Noffke's scholarship focused on Action Research from historical and conceptual lenses. She aimed to understand the emergence of Action Research internationally as a "family" of practices that challenged existing forms of knowledge. Dr. Noffke was deeply committed to issues of anti-racist education and economic and social justice. These commitments were a strong and consistent theme in her work, especially in terms of understanding how issues related to ethics and the political economy of grassroots knowledge production play out when the agenda of the research is explicitly one of challenging oppression and building stronger communities for change.

Dr. Noffke will be very much missed as a scholar, teacher of teachers, mentor, colleague, friend, mother, and wife. Her dedicated and loving spirit in the face of adversity was an inspiration to all of us. We will continue to hold her in our hearts and value her immense and varied contributions to education. She is survived by her husband Bob, son Andrew, and daughter Laura. Our deep condolences and thoughts go to them in these difficult times.

The College of Education has set up a page where colleagues, students, and friends can share their thoughts and remembrances of Dr. Noffke, which we will forward to the family. Leave a note.