Two College of Education faculty members were selected to receive the 2020-21 Margaret
Burlington Tritle Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award, an annual award presented
to College of Education faculty members who demonstrate exemplary teaching.
This year’s award recipients are Sophia Han, PhD, an associate professor at USF’s Tampa campus, and Stephen Rushton, PhD, an associate professor at USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus.
The Margaret Burlington Tritle Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award was created in 2017 through a gift made to the College of Education by USF alumnus Lawrence Tritle to honor his late wife’s teaching legacy. Faculty recipients receive an award to support their research, professional travel and other activities related to teaching and scholarship at USF.
Learn more about each of the recipients below.
Sophia Han, PhD
Dr. Han is an associate professor of Early Childhood Education and the program coordinator for USF’s Early Childhood Education undergraduate program. She joined the College of Education faculty in 2010 and has dedicated herself to student success and the preparation of early childhood educators.
Dr. Han’s research centers around the theme of socio-culturally responsive teaching and learning in early childhood. She teaches courses including “Teaching Literature and Writing in Early Childhood” and “Guidance of Young Children.” She says her goal as an educator is “to enable all learners and thinkers to reach their fullest potentials, whether they are young children or college students.”
“I believe relationships and community building are a cornerstone of a positive learning environment for me and my students—and thus, I challenge my students’ intellectual development, pushing them to question, reflect and synthesize in ways they have not done before, all within a supportive context,” Dr. Han said.
Stephen Rushton, PhD
Dr. Rushton is an associate professor who specializes in communication skills, interpersonal relationships and more recently the neurosciences of learning process. He has taught for more than 22 years at USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus, where he supervises student teachers and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in creativity, classroom management, the writing process, science and qualitative research.
Before joining the faculty at USF, Dr. Rushton taught in both Canada and the U.S. for 14 years at various grade levels, including junior and senior kindergarten, third and fourth grade, special education and health & physical education.
“I have always considered teaching to be my vocation and the way I can most contribute to the wider society,” Dr. Rushton said. “When I first began teaching (pre-kindergarten), I felt responsible to give our public-school students, and subsequent pre-service teachers here at USF, the tools to help them instruct those down a long chain of learners—both the intellectual knowledge needed to be imparted, but also, the sharing of the heart.”
About the USF College of Education:
Home to more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members, the University of South Florida College of Education values high-quality education and excellence in research, teaching and learning. The College of Education is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and its educator preparation programs are fully approved by the Florida Department of Education.