NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Dr. Sarah Straub, assistant professor of education studies at Stephen F. Austin State University, was awarded the 2020-22 Montgomery Professorship for Humane Education in the James I. Perkins College of Education.
“Dr. Straub embodies the spirit of this professorship, and we are excited to see her plans unfold,” said Dr. Brandon Fox, chair of SFA’s Department of Education Studies.
The professorship was established by the late Charlotte Baker Montgomery in memory of her husband, Roger. Its purpose is to encourage and perpetuate the teaching of humane education concepts and methods in public and private elementary and secondary schools through the support of teacher preparation in humane education.
“It is an incredible honor to continue the work of professors like Dr. Brandon Fox and Dr. Leah Kahn,” Straub said. “Humane education pushes for compassion, justice and respect, so I am overwhelmed to be recognized as a faculty member who demonstrates these values.”
Humane education is a process that assists children in developing compassion, a sense of justice and respect for all living things, according to the Humane Education Coalition. It helps children gain the knowledge and understanding to behave according to these principles and foster a sense of responsibility needed to affirm and act upon humane education principles.
It also encourages cognitive, affective and behavioral growth through personal development of critical thinking, problem-solving, perspective taking and empathy as it relates to people, animals, the planet and the intersections among them.
Straub’s plan for the professorship has three main goals: 1) facilitating the summer ELED 4345 Humane and Environmental Education course through an expansion on partnerships built by Kahn, assistant professor of education studies, with ReadingRovers; 2) reviewing and updating the newly identified Roger Montgomery and Charlotte Baker Montgomery Humane Education Collection in the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center; and 3) growing relationships with teachers in the Nacogdoches Independent School District, which Straub plans to do through a coordinated effort with the Texas Environmental Education Advisory Committee.
Fox; Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of the Perkins College of Education; and Dr. Eric Torres, associate chair of the Department of Education Studies, selected Straub for the award.
As the recipient of the professorship, Straub will manage the humane education program, which includes teaching and recruiting students for courses and professional development in the field; maintaining a collection of books and humane education materials for students, teachers and the public; encouraging humane education projects and activities; serving as a TEEAC liaison; and annually attending animal welfare organization conferences.