Dr. Sue Steinweg retires (again!) after supporting College STAR

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” That’s a quote from W.B. Yeats that Dr. Sue Steinweg often uses as her email signature. It’s a fitting reminder of the work she has been doing for the past two-and-a-half years as an instructional consultant for the College STAR program.

Sue has been writing online faculty development modules designed around the principles of Universal Design for Learning in order to share effective teaching practices. The modules are freely available to all on the College STAR website.

It’s the latest way Sue has chosen to share her passion for learning and effective teaching. Sue’s career path is a little unconventional. After receiving her Ph.D. in special education, she spent many years home with her children. But when her husband retired from the military, she began teaching at East Carolina University. What started out as a few classes ended up as a tenured position in the Program of Special Education. In the latter part of that career she taught a number of on-line classes. She found she really enjoyed on-line teaching because it was a way to make knowledge available more broadly.

That on-line instructional experience turned out to be extremely valuable, and her retirement from the faculty after 12 years lasted about three months. That’s when fellow special education colleague Dr. Sarah Williams asked her if she would be interesting in working with the College STAR program. 

“Sue has such an encouraging effect on those around her, and she strives for excellence with all she touches. She looks for the best in her colleagues and knows so much about effective teaching. That combination made her the ideal person to kick off the online module element of College STAR,” said Williams. 

Sue says she has loved working with a group of people who are dedicated to making sure students are successful. She enjoys showing others how technology can help them present information in multiple ways. Especially enjoyable has been her collaboration with Tanner Jones, the technology specialist with the College STAR program. Together they have found ways to present information in the modules in a variety of different ways, using videos and charts and modeling UDL practices in the modules themselves.

Sue says it’s labor-intensive work but she has enjoyed showing others, particularly faculty members employing UDL in their classroom, how they can present what they are doing effectively so others can benefit. “It has been amazing to me because I have been able to learn about great teachers all across the campuses,” she said.

Equally impressive, she says, is the College STAR culture of sharing information. “Whatever we create, we’re going to give it away.”

Now that she is retiring for the second time, Sue says she won’t miss the feeling that she is always behind and could always be doing more. She is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren in Greenville and Wisconsin as well as reading strictly for pleasure. Her bucket list includes learning to play the banjo.

First up, however, is a Rhine River boat cruise with her husband to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Bon Voyage, Sue! We will miss you.