Tollefson, Nona

Tollefson, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Nona Tollefson (with grandchildren)
  • Prolific author, presenter, researcher, and scholar in the field of Psychology
  • Recognized as being one of the School of Education’s master teachers
  • Chairwoman of the search committee for the Dean of the School of Education
  • Instrumental in development of a National Institute of Education Planning grant
  • 1981: Received the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching

Dr. Nona Tollefson received her B.A. in Arts & Sciences from the University of Colorado and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Education degrees from Purdue University.  She is truly an outstanding educator "who demonstrates nothing but total professionalism."  As Margaret Anderson stated, she "exemplifies the best that women can be in both professional and personal endeavors.  The model she provides students and colleagues is unparalleled and critical in an environment that often needs more females to emulate.  She is truly a "genuine University asset," according to John Poggio, former department chairman of Educational Psychology and Research.

 In the field of Psychology, she has published 33 journal articles, 3 books and monographs, and several chapters in 4 books.  She has given 22 national presentations, 17 regional presentations, 6 state presentations, and has written 22 evaluative reports.  Our honoree has also given 11 grant reports and received 11 grants, and continues to plan more.  As John Poggio states, "Her credentials are outstanding."

Audrey Kleinsasser, former graduate student in the department, wrote she "provides a strong and very positive role model for both men and women.  She stands out in the School of Education as being one of its master teachers.  Students seek her out for classwork, master's thesis advising, and dissertation committee work.  Her classes, while always challenging and demanding, are imbued with humor, concern for student input, and relevancy."

Ellen Paulson, also a former graduate student of Dr. Tollefson's, writes, "Because of her personal integrity, her professional expertise, and classroom brilliance, she is a good role model for any educator, but I feel it is especially important for women entering the profession to have someone like her to emulate."  Paulson also wrote that "Although she functions at a conceptual level rarely approached by her students, she is able to perceive when the class or an individual is not understanding important concepts.  At that point she will stop and approach the material in new ways until both she and the student are satisfied that it is understood."  This is especially impressive considering the concepts that are explored in the courses she teaches, such as "Educational Measurement" and "Statistical Methods I".  Her impressive teaching record won her the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1981.

Dr. Tollefson does not confine her energies to teaching or research.  She also has served on numerous University committees.  Audrey Kleinssasser said, "If there is committee work, [she] seems to be involved."  As two of many examples, she served as the chairwoman of the search committee for the Dean of the School of Education and she was instrumental in the development of a National Institute of Education Planning grant.  Her judgment is considered sound and invaluable.

Dr. Nona Tollefson is a hardworking, unique, personable, warm and caring woman.  Her career has truly been an asset to the University and others.

Signup for our e-Newsletter
Calendar of Events