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Campus News
     
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: August 19, 2002
Volume 38, Number 3

Spotlight

Maya Magee Sutton. Adjunct Faculty, Women Studies.Mother of wellness at UNM, staunch educator and Celtic mythologist, Maya Magee Sutton leaves a trail of harmonic awareness in her path.

Driven by an informed inner voice, Sutton has been guiding UNM students for nearly a quarter century. She was recognized recently with an Adjunct Teacher of the Year nomination for her far and wide contributions.

Part-time, non-tenured status allows Sutton to embrace her own interests. She created three distinct careers during her tenure at UNM – teaching teachers, health and wellness and Celtic studies.

First on the venue was the College of Education where she began as a teaching assistant in 1978. She taught Human Growth and Development and Theories of Learning for almost 20 years. Since receiving her Ph.D. in educational psychology and research at UNM in 1980, she served as adjunct faculty.

A former aerospace medical researcher, she took a crook in the road in 1985 to launch one of the first university wellness centers in the country with grant funding. “I became aware that medicine didn’t help people to be well, it helped people who had something acutely wrong with them. I realized we were missing the boat,” says Sutton, who trained many of the state's wellness directors.

She developed expertise in stress management and taught the first graduate level course in the field in 1986 at UNM. This fall, Sutton will teach a freshly developed stress management course through Women Studies. She authored the course text, “In Harmony, Resolving Stress.”

To unravel stress, we must first identify it. Sutton tells us why we are frazzled. “The pace of American life, the focus on money instead of internal values, pressure to succeed as individuals and disregard for a healthy lifestyle,” says Sutton. She lives by example and notes, “I jogged before they had jogging shoes.”

Values-conflicted work can also be a serious stressor, she adds. “There is so much pressure to be somebody other than who we want to be,” Sutton says. “Take stock and redirect your life from your own center. If you are very busy doing what you love you are not going to be stressed. You can’t do too much worse by doing that and you might do a whole lot better.”

A passion for knowledge rooted in an ancient civilization fueled her jaunt down a third avenue. A dual citizen of Irish descent, Sutton coined the phrase, “I’m not Anglo, I’m Celtic.”

In Women Studies, she created two courses – Women in Celtic Society & Myth and Goddess Mythology of the Celts – that “bring Celtic wisdom of two millennia ago into the present,” she says. Under the aegis of European Studies in UNM’s History Department, she initiated the Celtic Studies concentration.

Sutton reputedly also shares generously time and expertise outside the classroom.

Does she get stressed?

Oh, heavens yes,” she laughs. “But I have a stronger framework than a lot of people that I can draw on. And I’ve also been very fortunate in being able to do exactly what I wanted to do.”