Sarah Anderson

I am a follower of Christ, a wife to my husband Scott since 2001, a mother to three beautiful kids (Kayla-17, Axel-12 and Jesper-8), and a teacher educator. My story is most often about putting those roles in the right priority and trying to make my time reflect it, which doesn’t seem to happen often; it’s not about “balance” but about Christ first and not falling prey to guilt and shame as I daily struggle to do so. I was raised in a Christian home and put my faith in Christ at a young age. Like many, I rebelled and needed to make my faith my own. I never doubted there was a God, but I was “doctrine-lite”, I didn’t know exactly what I believed and why. Like many in academy, needed to mesh both knowledge and a heart for Him. It was the conviction of motherhood-knowing the only, best thing I could do for my children’s walk with the Lord was to passionately follow him myself that saw a turning point in living out my faith. I first worked as a high school special education teacher with students who had learning disabilities, medical and mental health needs, and behavioral disorders. As we addressed dimensions of wellness in a whole-child approach, it was clear to me that unless the spiritual component was also considered, we would not see change and best outcomes for students. The Lord presented times for me to pray for and with students, and now as a teacher educator I incorporate this dimension into discussion along with the value and worth of all humans-God has created even disability for his purpose. As we investigate genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis and Fragile X syndrome, how can we not marvel at the intelligent design of each element, protein and cell as they came together to form life. Now as I teach teachers how to teach, I can share how Jesus was the most effective teacher. Really as a teacher of teachers, it is a discipleship model in action; watch me as I model how to teach well so you learn, then go teach many children so they may learn and teach others. Chris demonstrated best-practice in pedagogy before we called it “evidence-based”. He formed relationships (through discipleship), demonstrated how to follow God by his actions (he was perfect!), had a purpose (redemption), taught using relevant stories (a good parable anyone?), used repetition (how many ways did he proclaim the same truths?), hooked his students (a good miracle perhaps), identified similarities and differences (sheep and the goats is one of my favorites), sent his disciples out to proclaim the good news and gave them feedback on what went well and didn’t (sounds like clinical practice), engaged in discussion (oh the Socratic seminar) and knew his content well-he is God after all, right? I have also found in working with college students in the role of academic advisor, that often when we discuss careers and a choice or change in academic major, what students are really contemplating is if they are choosing a path that leads to a meaningful life, the ultimate!

My Life

Favorite Quote

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Friends describe me

as goal-oriented, social, that I draw people in, gifted with hospitality and the ability to cook

My hobbies

Vegetable gardening (we have 16 acre farmstead), running, board games, cooking, being outside, organizing things

Fantasy dinner guests

Dietrich Bonhoffer and C.S. Lewis

Best advice I ever received

The more quickly you figure out this is not about you the better it will go (in reference to my dissertation but fits life)

My undergrad alma mater

University of North Dakota

My worst subject in school

Math. Ugg, geometry proofs…

In college I drove

5 speed 1981 Honda Prelude

If I weren't a professor, I would

be an arborist or an archaeologist in the colonial America area

Favorite books

I’m a reader so this is tough. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Radical by David Platt, A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court by Mark Twain, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, anything Jane Austen, biographies or autobiographies of people who have done amazing things. Currently reading the Born to Run ethnography by Christopher McDougall.

Favorite movies

History and nature documentaries, Star Wars (the originals please), The Princess Bride

Favorite city

I prefer the country, but otherwise a quaint European city will do nicely

Favorite coffee

Dark with cream to start my day, but not after 3pm. Best coffee ever was from a tiny shop in Cuenca, Ecuador. I highly recommend a good vacuum travel mug made from stainless steel for maximum heat retention-no cold coffee!

Nobody knows I

mushed a dogsled on the high artic island of Svalbard-our guide carried two guns in case of a polar bear.

My latest accomplishment

Just learned how to drive a vintage Farmall IH tractor…because I had to tow a dump truck with it and no one else was around to help.

Current Research

Impact of graduates on P-12 student learning and disability accommodations in online graduate programs.