In the early hours of January 27, 2019, at the age of 79, Marcia died peacefully in her sleep. Preceded in death by her beloved husband, Charles W. Mentkowski, grandson Beau Allison, stepson Timothy and daughter-in law Susan Mentkowski, she is survived by her daughter SaraLee (Jay) Allison and granddaughter Sylvia. She is also survived by stepsons James (Anne) and Thomas (Sheila) Mentkowski and Mentkowski grandchildren: Annie (Matthew Becker), Sascha, Samuel, Sidney (Kasandra), Lucile, and Alexander. She is also survived by her sister, Muriel Bebeau, brother Timothy (Margaret) Duin, and beloved nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews on whom she showered a lifetime of loving mentoring.
In the last years of her life, she was cared for by her devoted daughter SaraLee Allison and her loving and faithful son-in-law Jay Allison. Our extended family owes a debt of gratitude to Jay for his unfailing support of Marcy and SaraLee.
Marcia was born January 13, 1940 to George T. and Ella Bohlsen Duin in Graceville, Minnesota. A precocious child, she skipped first grade at Johnson Elementary, and when she transferred to Trinity Lutheran School in third grade, her cousins Spencer Duin and Armand Aswege, the only third graders in the one-room-school, complained that she “raised the curve.” Following graduation, she attended Northwestern Lutheran Academy in Mobridge South Dakota. She then attended Dr. Martin Luther College for a year before transferring to Milwaukee-Downer College (now Lawrence University), graduating cum laude (1961), with majors in Psychology and Education. She became Marcia Lou Duin Mutterer in 1960 whereupon she began her lengthy academic career as an elementary teacher, teaching kindergarten and First Grade, while attending graduate school. She received her MA (1965) and PhD (1971) in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
She served as Assistant and Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at The University of Toledo from 1968-1975, before moving with daughter SaraLee to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to marry Charles W. Mentkowski. During her transition years, she served as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Moral Education (1975-76) at Harvard University and as a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
In 1976, she began a journey with the leadership of Alverno College that would lead to her most significant contributions as scholar and educator. Initially appointed as Professor of Psychology, with expertise in Human Development and Moral Education, she became the Founding Director of the Averno’s Department of Educational Research and Evaluation (1976-2009). In the early 70s, Alverno’s leadership had defined ability-based learning outcomes across the curriculum. Marcia organized and spearheaded two decades of longitudinal studies of student learning and development across the life-span and published their finding in Learning that lasts: Integrating learning, development, and performance in college and beyond, Mentkowski & Associates. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.
While perhaps her greatest achievement, for which she received an Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association, was the publication of Learning that Lasts, she was a nationally and internationally recognized scholar. During her career, she consulted on curriculum in law, dentistry, medicine, management, engineering, and judicial education, bringing conceptual direction and administrative expertise to the development and study of student learning outcome.
From 1978-1980, she and her husband Charles W. Mentkowski served as Guest Faculty for the National Judicial College, and subsequently she served on various commissions and committees for the State Bar of Wisconsin. A sought after consultant, during her career she participated in 12 consortia made up of nearly 170 institutions, and in a wide range of grants and projects funded by private and public entities. In 2003, she was an invited visiting Fellow at the Institute for the Advancement of University Learning at Oxford University.
Dr. Mentkowski received the prestigious Kuhmerker Award in 1985, and (in recognition of her many contributions to her alma mater) the highest award granted by Lawrence University—the Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award—in 2012. A Fellow in both the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association, she has held numerous leadership positions, most notably as Vice President of Educators in the Professions (Division I) of the American Educational Research Association. Her curriculum vita lists over 100 publications, many of which are collaborative publications with colleagues. A highly sought after public speaker, her vita listed over 200 invited presentations at national and international meetings.
Her last collaborative work, an edited volume (with Paul F. Wimmers) published in 2016, entitled Assessing Competence in Professional Performance across Disciplines and Professions, published by Springer International Publishing, received the 2017 Outstanding Publication Award by Division I of the American Educational Research Association.
While even more could be said of the impact of Marcia’s professional accomplishments, her most significant and enduring legacy will be the love, support, encouragement and opportunity she gave all comers, especially her many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Marcia changed the course of our lives. Marcia’s life continues in each of us as we live out the lives she helped us create.
Visitation on Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 12:00pm until time of Service at 1:00pm at First Congregational Church, 1511 Church St, Wauwatosa. Reception to follow at 3:30pm at Alioto's Restaurant. Private Entombment Wisconsin Memorial Park, Brookfield.
Please send all floral arrangements to First Congregational Church.