Faculty Excellence Winner Celebrated For Service
Oct. 24, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney
In recognition of her service to the community and incredible efforts to advance Sam Houston State University as “A Great Name In Education,” Nancy Stockall, professor of Special Education, has been designated the recipient of the 2019 David Payne Award for Academic Community Engagement.
Stockall’s career as an educator began after her mother advocated for her to become a teacher when she was 18 years old. During this time, the 94-142 law was going into effect which guaranteed a free appropriate public education to each child with a disability, and as a result, special education teachers were in high demand.
She accepted the challenge and in 1975, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary & Special Education Learning Disability/Behavior Disorders. She went on to earn dual master’s degrees in Special Education and Psychology, and a doctorate in Special Education, all from Kent State University in Ohio.
In pursuit of warmer weather, Stockall moved to Texas and joined the SHSU faculty and served as an associate professor in the Department of Language, Literature and Special Populations from 2010–14. In 2015, she was promoted to a full professor of Special Education in the School of Teaching and Learning.
“When I got to Sam, I was really impressed with the support of the faculty in the College of Education,” Stockall said. “I have never worked in any other university or public-school setting that has as many people who are caring, supportive and nurturing to students, as well as each other.”
High-impact research, inspired teaching, dedicated service and constant learning are at the forefront of her daily efforts. Among her many contributions to her field, she has epitomized the SHSU motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service” and is consistently celebrated for her service to students, her mentorship with the Special Education faculty, her ACE courses, and her work with Project Sunshine.
“Project Sunshine made me more enthusiastic about our young people today. I saw so many positive things they were doing and how much they cared and it really made an impression on me,” Stockall said. “It brought me back to how important it is that we support and care for each other.”
Not only has Stockall’s service benefited the community, but she has also been personally impacted.
“I think being involved in service has really helped me put myself in more vulnerable situations and to be a little more open about myself with young people as well as my colleagues,” Stockall said. “It has been beneficial to me and I have learned a lot.”
Many of these lessons were learned and applied during her time as a teacher and mentor to a variety of students with special needs. Stockall knows that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to learning and it requires a lot more than patience.
“I remember saying, no, patience has nothing to do with it. It's all about knowing and understanding how to teach people in different ways. If you know how to work with someone, it doesn't matter what challenges they have. If you understand how learning takes place and if you provide the support that they need, then they are going to be much more successful.”
However, her greatest lesson has been that, ultimately, learning isn’t easy.
“If you are learning something new, then you must accept the fact that it's going to be difficult and you're only going to really feel excited and enjoy it after you've learned it and look back and feel accomplished. But during the learning, it's a struggle,” Stockall said. “If it's not a struggle, then you're probably not learning something new. You're practicing what you already know.”
According to Stockall, the excitement of learning new things is what keeps her going.
“I love to learn. Everything is just a real joy for me. I'm getting towards the age where my family's asking me when I'm going to retire. I honestly can't say because I just love my job so much and I love my colleagues,” Stockall said. “This is my home away from home.”
Comments supporting her nomination include:
“Dr. Stockall has impacted the special education program in the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education in more ways than I have ever seen anyone single-handedly achieve."
“Her work with Project Sunshine has been truly exemplary. As one of the most popular student organizations on campus, Dr. Stockall provides leadership opportunities for students that result in positive impacts on the lives of children with disabilities throughout our region.”
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