New chair in Department of Teacher Education aims to tackle teacher shortage

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Dr. Susan Dougherty begins a three-year term as department chair

Dr. Susan Dougherty, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Rider University, has been appointed for a three-year term to head the department. She succeeds Dr. Sharon McKool, the former president who retired in August.

“I’m very excited to work with Susan,” says Dr. Jason Barr, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services. “She brings years of experience as a teacher, teacher trainer and instructional leader to her new role as president. I look forward to working with her on many new initiatives as we enter challenging times for teachers and teacher education programs across the country.

Dougherty begins his new role during a pivotal time for the education system in the United States, and this is reflected in his goals for the Department of Teacher Education.

“Faculty in our department are so dedicated to our students and ensure that we grow into highly skilled, passionate and compassionate educators,” she says. “Given the current teacher shortage, one of my goals is to increase the number of outstanding rider educators we send to P-12 schools each year.”

As Chair, Dougherty will play a key role in shaping the overall direction of the department and participate in nearly every aspect of departmental operations, while serving as a liaison with the rest of the University.

“I really appreciate that my colleagues believed that I would be a good choice to lead our department,” she says. “I see it as a great responsibility and a huge honor.”

Dougherty, who has been a faculty member at Rider since 2015, specializes in literacy. She began her career as an elementary school teacher and had her sights set on earning a master’s degree in math before her experiences in the classroom caused her to shift gears.

“I always had a few students who really struggled with reading and I felt like I didn’t have enough knowledge to help them,” she recalls. “So I jumped into a master’s program in reading education and went from there.”

She went on to earn her PhD in Literacy and Language Education from Boston University, and held teaching positions there and at Rutgers University before coming to Rider. She also worked for four years as a consultant for Between the lionsan early literacy program airing on PBS.

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