The best measure of impactful research is in its ripple effect—both in the field and in the next generation of researchers.
For sustained research excellence throughout her career, CYFS director Susan Sheridan has received the Senior Scientist in School Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association’s Division of School Psychology. She will be formally recognized at the APA Convention Aug. 8 in Toronto, Canada.
Sheridan, a George Holmes University Professor & Willa Cather Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology, has focused her research career on enhancing children’s social, behavioral and academic outcomes. Her work specifically explores ways to support the healthy development of young children, from birth to age eight, in homes, preschools and classrooms.
By developing an evidence-based model of service delivery, conjoint behavioral consultation (also known as Teachers and Parents as Partners or TAPP), Sheridan seeks to support children’s development through building partnerships among parents, teachers and care providers.
No researcher, in my opinion, has accomplished at a local, state and national level for the scientific base of family-school partnerships what Dr. Sheridan has done.
Sandra Christensen, Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership and Professor of School Psychology
Extensive literature is now filled with calls to create productive family-school relationships and partnerships to enhance student learning and development, and Sheridan created the empirical base for doing so, said Sandra Christensen, Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership and Professor of School Psychology at the University of Minnesota.
“No researcher, in my opinion, has accomplished at a local, state and national level for the scientific base of family-school partnerships what Dr. Sheridan has done,” Christensen said. “The quality of her research is unsurpassed.”
As Sheridan’s research and practice prioritize the importance of relationships for children’s healthy development, this relational focus is also the sustaining force of her career.
“I’ve had many great advisors, mentors and peers, as well as excellent students who have pushed me to think critically about our research,” Sheridan said. “At the University of Nebraska, I’m fortunate to have great administrators and colleagues outside the field of school psychology who make me a stronger professional and a more rigorous researcher.”
Sheridan began her career in 1989 and received the Division of School Psychology’s Lightner Witmer Award for early career accomplishments in 1993. She now serves as a mentor for emerging scholars at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and across the country. When asked for advice, her message is clear—just go for it.
“You can’t hold back if you’re really committed and passionate about making a difference,” Sheridan said. “That’s what I hope my students learn from me and what young people will do—make opportunities happen and don’t let anything stop you.”
While the senior scientist award brings Sheridan’s recognition within school psychology full circle, her research career—and its ripple effect—continues to make an impact.
As a recipient of the Senior Scientist in School Psychology Award, Sheridan will speak at the 2015 APA Convention and will submit a manuscript for the annual Awards Issue of The School Psychologist, an APA Division 16 publication.