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University honors Schoppe-Sullivan as top teacher

EHE News
March 16, 2012

Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan

From the beginning of her academic career, students and colleagues have recognized Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan's talent for research and mentoring.

She has a flair for communicating her studies of the fascinating interactions between couples and their influence on children.

She received three teaching awards while earning her graduate degrees at the University of Illinois. As a faculty member at Ohio State, she was selected by the College of Education and Human Ecology for its teaching award. Ohio State undergraduate and graduate students honored her twice for mentoring.

The associate professor of human development and family science now has reached the pinnacle for university faculty: the 2012 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

As part of the annual Distinguished Teaching honor, Provost Joseph Alutto presented Schoppe-Sullivan with a symbolic apple at a surprise classroom visit in March 2012.

"I love being a member of this department and being able to work with my colleagues and all the wonderful students, both undergraduate and graduate students," Schoppe-Sullivan said during the informal ceremony. "Mentoring students is one of the things most special to me. I love my job, I really do."

She has been inducted in the university's Academy of Teaching, which improves instruction campuswide, and received both a $3,000 honorarium and a $1,200 annual salary increase. She and the other 2012 honorees for distinguished teaching and scholarship will be acknowledged Oct. 20 in Ohio Stadium during half-time when Ohio State plays Purdue University.

See: Parental conflict over childcare chores

Research becomes vehicle for education

"Dr. Schoppe-Sullivan embodies the great promise of the research university as a vehicle for education," a nominator said. "Not content to stop her teaching at the classroom door, she models exemplary advising skills by incorporating both undergraduate and graduate students into her program of research."

Her research accomplishments are impressive. She leads a project funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has been co-investigator for other federal projects funded for $4.5 million. Her studies have resulted in more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 100 presentations.

Schoppe-Sullivan takes each and every student along for the ride. Professor Julianne Serovich, chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Science, pointed out that almost 100 percent of Schoppe-Sullivan's publications are co-authored by students.

"Her deep passion for conducting research has ignited a love of research in me," said a student nominator. Several of the undergraduates she mentored have gone on to graduate studies at universities such as Michigan and Vanderbilt, or chose to stay with her at Ohio State.

But, it was noted, she recognizes that most of her students will likely pursue careers in teaching and other helping professions. She teaches them both to critically examine research and translate it for parents and the general public. As one student noted, "She broadened my perspective and gave me the chance to fully and deeply understand a specific topic."

A fellow faculty member said, "In her view, teaching and research are not separate spheres of faculty engagement but rather inextricably intertwined."

Schoppe-Sullivan came to Ohio State in 2003 as an assistant professor of child development and was promoted to associate professor in 2009. In 2005, she was a visiting professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She earned a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and an M.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois, and her B. A. in psychology from Northwestern University.

Ohio Magazine in 2008 recognized her for Excellence in Education.

Schoppe-Sullivan is the 58th education and human ecology faculty member to be honored for distinguished teaching since Ohio State established the award in 1959.


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