ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Sandra J. Mulryan, a lecturer in the Department of English at St. Bonaventure University, was recognized at Sunday’s Commencement as the recipient of this year’s Professional Excellence in Teaching award.
Mulryan is in her 12th year as a lecturer in the Department of English, and served as an adjunct instructor for 12 years before that. Over that time she has distinguished herself as a knowledgeable and versatile teacher who connects with her students.
“Hundreds of student evaluations have attested to her popularity and effectiveness as a teacher and adviser,” said Dr. Lauren Matz, associate professor of English at St. Bonaventure. “Her informed and compassionate teaching has had a powerful impact on St. Bonaventure students in every academic area.”
Matz is just one of 10 present and former colleagues and students who recommended Mulryan for the teaching award.
Dr. Paul Schafer, professor emeritus at St. Bonaventure, praised Mulryan for her ability to relate to students and her willingness to help them succeed. “Sandy projects an air of trust, kindness and helpfulness to all students, and she motivates them to do their best work,” said Schafer. “She demands and receives excellent work from her students, and the students respect her immensely.”
Britany Saxton, a member of this year’s graduating class, said students look forward to Mulryan’s classes because of her passion for literature, poetry and the arts, and for the art of teaching. “I had questions and concerns during the courses I took with her, and she was always able to answer them with helpful and insightful wit. She responded quickly to an e-mail or phone message, which showed me that she cared about my education,” said Saxton.
Mulryan’s effectiveness as a teacher is widely recognized, said Tracy Schrems, a fellow English lecturer, noting Mulryan mentors a graduate student each semester on teaching college-level courses, and serves “as a sounding board for colleagues who wish to improve their classroom teaching methods.”
Mulryan is just as active out of the classroom, volunteering or being called upon to serve committees to improve teaching methods and other aspects of university life. “She believes it is her duty as a teacher and as a faculty member to positively impact the university as much as she can,” said Schrems.
But it is in the classroom that Mulryan shines.
“Sandy simply loves teaching and she is an amazing teacher,” said Schrems. “Her students know it, the alumni know it, and we, as a faculty, know it. As she approaches retirement next year, it is about time we all recognize her for the tireless work she has done all these years on behalf of educating our students.”
Mulryan graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in history from D’Youville College in Buffalo in 1960. She earned a master’s in English from Marquette University in 1962, a master’s in advanced teacher education from St. Bonaventure in 1974, and a master’s in education (reading) from SBU in 1976.
She has been an English lecturer at St. Bonaventure since 1998, after having served as an adjunct instructor from 1986 to 1998. Prior to joining the SBU faculty, she was an adjunct English instructor for seven years at the Cattaraugus County Campus of Jamestown Community College.
Mulryan teaches a variety of English courses at St. Bonaventure, as well as core curriculum courses through the University’s Clare College. She is a mentor for learning fellows in the Department of English, an adviser for English majors, and serves departmental and Clare College committees. She has also served as an Orientation adviser since 1998.
She served as a member of the University Faculty Senate’s Grievance, Academic Honesty and Curriculum committees, chaired the Curriculum Subcommittee for Diversity Action, and is a member of the Clare College Curriculum Committee as well as an Advocacy Officer against harassment and discrimination.
Mulryan is a member of the New York College English Association, National Council of Teachers of English, American Poetry Society, Stratford Festival of Canada, and the Renaissance Society of America.
She is a board member with Friends of Good Music of Olean and is active in Olean Theatre Workshop.
Mulryan is married to Dr. John J. Mulryan, Board of Trustees Professor of English at St. Bonaventure, who is retiring this year after 45 years of service. They have six adult children, three of whom are teachers.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. No wonder U.S. News and World Report has for years considered us a “Great School at a Great Price.”