Sheridan is first Husker elected to National Academy of Education

Center for Research on Children Youth Families and Schools

Dan Moser, March 28, 2024

Sheridan is first Husker elected to National Academy of Education

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Susan Sheridan has been elected to the National Academy of Education.

Sheridan is the first Husker faculty member selected for the honor. She is the George Holmes University Professor of educational psychology and the founding director of the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“The work that I’ve been able to do has only been possible because of the many relationships and partnerships that I’ve been a part of over the past 30-plus years,” she said. “My collaborations with colleagues and students that share in this vision and help push it forward has leveraged our efforts in ways that I could never have imagined.”

Chancellor Rodney D. Bennett said: “Dr. Sheridan has been an international leader in serving families and children for decades. Her commitment to bettering the lives of some of the most vulnerable is further evidence of the positive impact UNL’s work has on the state of Nebraska and beyond. We are very proud to see her recognized with this prestigious and well-deserved honor.”

Sherri Jones, interim vice chancellor for research and economic development, said it is a much-deserved honor for Sheridan.

“Sue truly exemplifies our university’s research mission of discovery, creativity and innovation advancing the state, the nation and the world,” Jones said. “And as with all our great faculty, so many students who have learned from and with her have been inspired to carry on that work.”

Sheridan has been at Nebraska since 1998 after several years at the University of Utah, but she traces her interest in helping schools and families work together to benefit children to her stint as a “baby school psychologist” early in her career. “I realized then that paradoxically, we have to support adults to make a difference in kids’ lives.”

“It’s been a lifelong dream to bring that to fruition,” Sheridan said.

In the years since, Sheridan has worked to develop a strengths-based approach for supporting families and children who are marginalized due to economic, developmental, educational or geographic factors, as well as those who represent cultural or demographic diversity. She developed two family engagement/partnership interventions — Teachers and Parents as Partners and Getting Ready — and has worked with several teams and students exploring the efficacy of such interventions.

She founded the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools at Nebraska in 2004. The center has served more than 5,700 pre-K to grade 12 educators and more than 105,000 children and adolescents.

“The real value of our work is hearing from people who are participating in the research — the parents, teachers, school psychologists, counselors and principals who have trusted us and agreed to work with us,” Sheridan said. “Hearing their stories about how the experiences changed their lives for the better is incredibly humbling and rewarding.”

She is also proud of how many of her students have gone on to continue to improve and expand the work. She noted that she has collaborated with many of her former students and still collaborates with her doctoral adviser from the University of Wisconsin. Sheridan will be formally inducted into the academy at its annual meeting on Oct. 25.

The mission of the National Academy of Education, founded in 1965, is to advance high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. The academy consists of U.S. members and international associates who are elected based on scholarship related to education. The academy undertakes research studies to address pressing educational issues and administers professional development fellowships to enhance the preparation of the next generation of education scholars.

Center for Research on Children Youth Families and Schools