5 Minutes with Kit and Steve Hadwiger

A chance meeting in the front row of a church in Alva, Okla., turned into a marriage approaching 30 years strong. Stephen and Mariquit “Kit” Hadwiger have been teaching in the University’s Nursing Department for 21 and 20 years respectively. In addition to their regular duties throughout the academic year, they have served as the faculty sponsors for the Transcultural Nursing Experience in the Philippines each summer since 1996. Kit, a native of the country, was responsible for creating the three-week cultural immersion for senior nursing students, thanks in large part to a grant from the University. She has made the trip every year since the program’s inception, with Steve accompanying her for all but three summers.

What is it like working in the same department with your spouse?
Steve: We usually consult each other first when seeking information about advising or departmental business. Sometimes, we might take each other for granted or be more impatient than we would be with another colleague, but we respect the other’s academic freedom and professional integrity. It’s kind of nice when we can work independently in our offices, but take time out for lunch together.
Kit: We have learned to work together as colleagues, as a team and as professionals. We sometimes have different opinions on work issues, but those issues stay at work.

What are the benefits of working with somebody you know so well?
Steve: Trust. I know I will receive an honest response from Kit if I ask her a question. Also, I have confidence in her abilities and wisdom as a member of the faculty. She brings a different perspective from mine in any work-related discussion.
Does working together ever make it difficult to distinguish between work and home?
Kit: If discussion of work goes beyond campus, one of us reminds the other that work is done. As faculty, both of us bring work home at times, like grading papers, preparing for class or projects, but that is typical of all professors. We simply respect that and allow each other to get one’s work done.

What professional qualities does your spouse exhibit that you admire?
Steve: Kit has a natural talent for working in teams. She is also an excellent leader. Under her term as president of our nursing honor society she led us toward international charter hood under Sigma Theta Tau International. Kit is the chair of the subcommittee for curriculum in the Nursing Department, and she is well organized in all her work.
Kit: Steve is caring, creative and loves what he does. He is an excellent nurse educator. He is objective, but he cares a lot about his students. He rejoices with their successes. Steve continually explores new teaching strategies to challenge his students. He believes in them, and knows that they are all bright if challenged to perform at their potentials.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
Steve: Kit and I share a lot of hobbies. We like to camp with our recreational trailer—usually at Thousand Hills State Park, but we have made trips to Oklahoma and Wisconsin. It’s fun to park our trailer in a campground for a whole week and explore the area. We also got turned on to country-western dancing. We learned two-step, three-step, waltz and cha cha (country style), and East Coast Swing. There are several couples’ dances that we have learned through the NEMO Country Dance Club that are fun to do to the right music.
Kit: I like to read, garden, travel and spend time with my family. When Steve and I were getting close to “empty nest,” we began dancing with the NEMO Country Dance Club. This is a wonderful activity that allows us to expand our social milieu and get more exercise too.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Steve: Working with students. Whether I am advising a student about a research project or independent study, or whether I am engaging a group in the lab or the classroom, I enjoy it when the student feels like she or he has become an expert.
Kit: The most rewarding part of my job is hearing the success of all our students and alumni. It is a joy to receive updates from them about their nursing careers.

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