Dr. Susan Johnson receives Teaching Excellence Award


Bella Lee, Staff writer

The Teaching Excellence Award is given to one extraordinary faculty member who has contributed significantly to the intellectual life at Mercyhurst. This year, the award was given to Susan Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of Education.
Johnson has been a member of the Mercyhurst faculty for the past 13 years, currently serving as the director of Undergraduate Education and chosen to be the Chair of the Department of Education for Fall 2023, a role she previously held from 2016-2022.
Her education includes receiving her B.S. Ed. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from State University of New York at Fredonia and her M.S. Ed. in Special Education from St. Bonaventure University.
Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Learning & Leadership from Gannon University. Her dissertation explored pre-service teacher perceptions of children from poverty and families who are poor.
This year will mark her 25th year in education.
Johnson’s fellow faculty members have praised her for all the work she’s put in.
“Dr. Susan Johnson is truly the embodiment of the Department of Education’s motto to ‘teach anyone, anywhere,’” said Dr. Amy Burniston, current Chair of the Education Department in the press release. “Her magnetic personality, passion for special education, and conviction that all individuals are capable of learning is contagious.”
“Dr. Susan Johnson’s passion for teaching and commitment to her students’ success sets her apart as a truly outstanding educator,” said Amy Bauschard, program director of MELIA in the press release. “She has a unique ability to connect with her students on a personal level, creating a safe and inclusive learning environment that encourages intellectual curiosity and academic growth.”
Johnson’s students, both current and former, have also had her change their lives in many ways.
“Dr. Johnson has been an amazing advisor to have in the education program, as she always knows what to do to guide me in the right direction and is always able to answer any questions I’ve had,” said Matt Schwartz, junior Early Childhood/Special Education major.
“I learned a lot from taking the classes she’s offered at Mercyhurst, including Psych of Diverse Learners, and High Incidence Disabilities. She is easy to approach and very friendly, and always willing to help out. She truly deserves her teaching excellence award,” he said.
“Susan Johnson is a pivotal part of who I have become as a teacher, a person, and an advocate. I would not be who I am without her,” said Cole Lowe ‘19, alumnus of the Education program. “In college, she noticed a first-generation student from a poor rural area and showed him how to be a teacher. She made sure I could be successful in college because my family wasn’t privileged to a college education to be able to answer questions. She saw a person eager to learn and gave me opportunities to succeed. Simply put, Susan is the best.
“This award confirms who she is at her very core. There really is not any better award for Susan than an award for teaching excellence because her name is synonymous with it. Susan Johnson is teaching excellence.”
It is evident that Johnson cares deeply about her students and the career path that she chose.
Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!