Posted on December 11, 2020 by Stephanie Hamilton

Dr. Esper walking down aisleDr. Maricarmen Esper graduated from UTSA with a doctorate in Educational Leadership in August 2020. Since then, she has been busy fulfilling some post-graduation aspirations and giving back to the community.

Esper, author of Cómo Educar en Valores Éticos (How to Educate in Ethical Values), is co-authoring a second book on whole child education, which includes: character development, social-emotional skills and competencies, and culturally-relevant education. She also continues research on the same topics. “Once you start researching, you want to know more and more,” Esper said.

In addition to writing about whole child education, Esper delivers training on the topic to a variety of audiences, including teachers and pre-service teachers at UTSA’s Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE), where she worked as a research assistant while pursuing her Ph.D. In fact, Esper has been collaborating with ATE to offer a series of workshops in the spring of 2021 on how whole child education can be implemented in schools. On December 11, at 4:30 p.m. ATE will host a free session for teacher candidates, teachers, and administrators to learn about the topics Esper will elaborate on in the series.

Esper also offers workshops and consulting in both English and Spanish through the International Center for Whole Person Development & Flourishing, which she started in order to help integrate social-emotional skills and competencies as well as character development into schools, organizations, and businesses.

“This content is important, not just for educators,” she said. “It's important for everybody because the research shows that if you only manage the academic part, but you don't manage your emotions, your virtues, your character, your values, etc., it's hard to reach your potential to the fullest or to live in harmony. So, to be able to be a good student or a good teacher, a good professor, a good father, a good mother, a good citizen, it's important to develop the character traits in yourself but also the social-emotional competencies. So I love this topic, as you can see, and I try to promote it the most I can.”

Dr. Esper holding book Esper takes advantage of available technology, training parents in Mexico and in San Antonio through Zoom and posting Spanish and English videos on social-emotional competencies to her public Facebook page. “We have to return to the community the opportunity we had to study,” she said. “For example, in my case, thankfully, I speak English and Spanish, and I can share through the media many things now to the world in both languages.”

Much of Esper’s work is voluntary. “One thing I believe is helping the community and working to serve the others,” she said. “I have a phrase, ‘We all can be service flourishing oriented agents.’ Service flourishing oriented agents, which I brought from my dissertation, means if you work and live with a spirit of serving the others, and to flourish yourself, but also helping the others, your students, your neighbor, your community to flourish, then we can have a better world.”


— Stephanie Hamilton