Paul Michalec

Clinical Professor

  • Faculty

What I do

I'm a Clinical Professor in the department of Teaching and Learning Sciences in the Morgridge College of Education where I teach courses on the social foundations of education and coach emerging teachers on effective forms of instruction.


teacher education, mentoring, spirituality of education, holistic-prophetic education and philosophy/history of education.

Professional Biography

Paul has over 40 years of teaching experience in K-6, higher education, and alternative education settings. He brings to his teaching an eye for interdisciplinary partnerships, holistic models of teaching and learning, and service learning opportunities for his students. He teaches courses in the foundations of education including: history of education, philosophy of education, the social context of schooling, and teacher identity formation. He also teaches courses that have a distinctly practical focus including: models of curriculum, curriculum theory into practice, and teacher as researcher. Paul’s expertise as an effective teacher were acknowledge in 2015 when he named “Distinguished Teacher” for the University of Denver.

Paul was an Outward Bound instructor for several years and he is currently a trained Courage to Teach facilitator, a program developed by the educator and writer Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal. He has lead Courage retreats since 2005 focusing on leadership, the call to serve, wellness, and holistic notions of professional identity. From 2005-2012 Paul facilitated renewal and formation retreats for Denver Public School teachers at the Balarat Outdoor Education Center with a focus on finding life-giving ways to connect a teacher’s call to serve and teach all learners with the day-to-day requirements of teaching. From 2010-2015 Paul was the personal-identity and teacher leadership development expert for the Eagle County Schools, as an active participant, in their Math-Science Partnership grant.

In the areas of leadership and program development Paul was the Director of Teacher Education at Skidmore College from 1997-2003 before moving to the Denver area. Since starting his work in 2004 in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver, Paul has taken leadership roles including: Coordinator of the Combined Licensure and Master’s Program (2004-2011), Director of Teaching Education (2010-2013), Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction (2013-2015). Paul developed and implemented several university/college and community partnerships over his career in higher education and teacher preparation including a partnership between the Schuylerville School District and Skidmore College. He was the lead faculty for the Morgridge College of Education and the Boettcher Teachers Program with the primary responsibility of coordinating the efforts of the Public Education Business Coalition and the University of Denver to effectively prepare and retain urban-educators. Paul was also on the College’s design team for the Denver Teacher Residency, a school-based teacher preparation program serving the unique needs and interests of Denver Public Schools. He is currently working with the DU Faculty Senate President to redesign the professional development and professional formation opportunities and protocols for the DU faculty.


  • BS, Environmental Education and Ecology, Cornell University
  • MA, Experiential Education and Philosophy of Education , Mankato State University
  • Ph.D., Social, Multicultural and Bilingual Foundations of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • MA, Theological Studies, Iliff School of Theology, 2019

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead Facilitator

Professional Affiliations

  • American Education Research Association
  • Center for Courage and Renewal
  • American Association of Teaching and Curriculum


My research is focused on the inner-life of teachers including calling, passion, and core values. I'm also engaged in community-based professional development with physicians, clergy, and educators.

I have an active blog titled IN:SIGHT.

Areas of Research

healing and spirituality of education

Key Projects

  • MSP Partnership

Featured Publications

Michalec, P. (2013). Common Core and Inner Core: Co-Collaboration in Preparing Teachers to Serve all Learners. Curriculum and Teaching Dialogues.
Valteria, T., & Michalec, P. (2017). Deep Curriculum: Guiding the Inner Life of Early Career Teachers. Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 19.
Michalec, P., & Newburg, K. (2018). Deep Practices: Advancing Equity by Creating a Space and Language for the Inner Core of Teaching. . Teacher Education & Practice, 31((1).
Michalec, P., & Brower, G. R. (2012). Soul and Role Dialogues in Higher Education: Healing the Divided Self. New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 130, 15-25.


Michalec, P. (2017). Building the Beloved Community with Mindful Conversation. Nevada Episcopal Diocese Annual Deacon Meeting. Las Vegas: Nevada Episcopal Diocese.
Michalec, P. (2016). Classrooms as Sacred Space. University of Denver. University of Denver: Office of Teaching and Learning.
Michalec, P. (2016). Fragments and Images: Teaching as Art. Denver Public Schools Professional Development. Morgridge College of Education.
Michalec, P., & Valteria, T. (2016). Deep Curriculum: Converting Teacher Burnout into Teaching With Fire. AACTE annual meeting. Las Vegas.
Michalec, P. (2015). Soul and Role Divides. Episcopal Conference. Episcopal Conference of Denver.


  • 2015 Distinguished Teacher for the University of Denver, University of Denver
  • Faculty Career Champion, DU Career Services
  • College of Education Grad Student Apple Award, University of Denver