Sarah Sullivan Named 2017 MCC Full-Time Faculty Member

Sarah Sullivan

Did you know that women were not allowed to apply for credit on their own until 1974, or that they couldn’t wear pants in public, or that they were forced to quit their job if they were pregnant?

These are just some examples that MCC history instructor Sarah Sullivan uses to help students look at how history impacts events over time, rather than just memorizing dates.

 "I hope to inspire students to think of history as evolving and important. Our personal history explains why we are here and where we are, and larger historical events show how the country evolves."

When asked what makes history cool, she said, "History is everywhere. We have our own personal history, music has history and MCC is celebrating its history with its 50th anniversary events."

 Sullivan has worked at MCC for 20 years, including 18 years as a business instructor and the last two years as a history instructor. Along with teaching and serving as department chair of History, Political Science and Economics, she is chair of MCC’s Faculty Council. This past year, she has presented two community lectures on the life of Alexander Hamilton and one titled Civics 101. She has initiated an innovative Women’s History Month presentation model that allows multiple students to work with her to research a historical topic, then present their research at a Women’s History Month event on campus.

Her commitment to her students and colleagues has earned her the distinction of being selected MCC's nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) 2017 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty member award and MCC's Full-Time Faculty of the Year for 2017.

"I truly enjoy being a part of the McHenry County College community," Sullivan said. "It’s a tremendous challenge to make history exciting and relevant, and I have fun with this opportunity every day."

No matter what students end up doing for a living, Sullivan said she guarantees they will need to learn how to look up evidence to figure out what may have happened. "History provides the framework and critical thinking skills to help students learn to do it well."

 "History makes everything else make sense," she said. "History also helps to see cause and effect, and the impact of events over time. It can help us to make sense of national events, and by looking backwards, we can even see what may be on the horizon."

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