Professor Ed Sullivan is the Associate Dean of Teacher Education for Marist’s Education Department. Outside of his work as an administrator, Professor Sullivan teaches one class, Foundations of Education, every year. He has had diverse experiences in different levels of education including serving as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and professor at SUNY New Paltz before coming to Marist.
What is your role in the Marist education department?
My title is Associate Dean of Teacher Education. As a result, I teach only one class a year because I am basically an administrator. So, I do teach Foundations of Education which is a freshman-level course and that way I can get to know the education students for all four years.
How did you end up in this position?
I was a full-time professor and chair of the Department of Education Administration at SUNY New Paltz and I got a call from one of the professors here in July of 2011. They asked if I would be interested in this position as Associate Dean. I said yes and here I am.
What level of school did you most enjoy teaching and why?
Well, my background is as a teacher of elementary schools and my favorite grade was grade five which I taught for 5 years. The students had their basic skills already established and I could do more complex activities and projects with them.
What would you say your “expertise” is?
Of all of my time, and I just finished my 50th year in education, for 37 years I was a principal and a superintendent of schools in those two roles. So I consider my expertise to be organization and administration.
Why would you encourage future educators to study at Marist?
When I was a principal and a superintendent, I was an adjunct instructor at four different colleges for teacher preparation. Then I was full time for 6 years at SUNY New Paltz. My observation is that Marist is, of all of the institutions, superior because of the quality of the student body and the faculty.
What do you hope for students to take away from your class?
I use the expression at the beginning of the semester that I am preparing students for Thanksgiving dinner. I say that because I want them to be knowledgeable about what is occurring in education and to have an understanding of the history, philosophy and cultural purposes for public education.
How do you incorporate your experiences as an educator into advising?
Because I was a principal and a superintendent and I am still closely involved with schools, I feel I have a good understanding of what it takes to be an effective teacher and what school administrators are seeking in candidates for teaching positions. So, I can advise with those perspectives in mind. In other words, I am a practitioner. Through my teaching and my advising, I believe that it is my experience as a practitioner in the field that helps me to succeed in the position.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
That change takes time. You have to work with people to help them understand the reasons for change and to guide them through the change. Plus, you cannot have too many changes going on at the same time. Change is a slow process.
What has been your most memorable moment with a student at Marist?
One of our graduates, who is in the Peace Corps in the country of Colombia, arranged for a few faculty to receive a mochila. A mochila is a hand-woven bag that the natives of Columbia will use to carry food items. He had those woven for us and he gave them to us as a sign of his gratitude for what we did for him. I have so many positive experiences that I could recount but I just think that story means so much.
Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Faculty
Academic School: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Campus: New York