CEHS
Connections Newsletter
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Teacher Appreciation

Vikings: We asked and you answered. Recently, we asked College of Education & Human Services Alumni to tell us about your favorite professors and advisors. We read stories about professors who brought real-life experience into the classroom and those who continue to mentor students long after commencement. We read about skilled expertise, compassion and guidance

Should these stories spark your own fond memories of exceptional professors or helpful advisors, please write in and share them with us. We will feature new narratives in our upcoming issues.

Send your narratives to connections@csuohio.edu

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." -William A. Ward


Ken Sparks


I had the unique privilege of having Dr. Ken Sparks, associate professor in the Health and Human Performance department, as my advisor during my graduate studies. I feel that he is by far the best professor I have worked with in my years of college coursework.

Dr. Sparks was a kind, passionate professor and offered knowledge, guidance and opportunities to excel in our area of expertise. He offered textbook information but always made sure to intertwine real life application to any and all papers, projects or assignments that were part of our coursework. He helped us grow and excel in areas that allowed us to achieve and thrive at Cleveland State University and beyond.

Even after I graduated from the program, I continued to keep in touch with Dr. Sparks, as he is one of the most highly respected researchers in the field of exercise science. He made such a positive impact on me and the lives of others.

Amy Jamieson-Petonic 01


Frank ODell

Of my early memories of attending Cleveland State University in the early 1980s, my fondest recollection is of Dr. Frank ODell. He was a fine instructor who really put forth an extra effort in his teaching of counseling to graduate students.

Also my advisor, Dr. ODell was a mentor who helped me obtain my masters in guidance counseling. He taught classes in career counseling, family counseling and community counseling and interjected a bit of his own Appalachian roots into lectures.

He had an ability to narrate lecture material with a sense of humor. We had to take prolific notes because he was full of information that would help us when we completed our theses or comprehensive exams.

Dr. ODell was an absolute asset to the College of Education and Human Services at Cleveland State University. I applaud him as integral to my success!

Concetta A. Rash 84


Tachelle Banks & Joshua Bagakas



I am currently an intervention specialist at the Positive Education Program and a doctoral student here at Cleveland State University; however, I would not be where I am today without the help of both Dr. Tachelle Banks and Dr. Joshua Bagakas.

Dr. Banks, associate professor in the Teacher Education department, served as both my advisor and professor throughout the undergraduate mild/moderate educational needs program. She was an engaging professor who brought her real-life experiences into the classroom.

During my program, I experienced hardship, which resulted in my rather hasty decision to graduate without pursuing my teaching license. Her classroom management course was one of the last I was required to take. As I began to doubt my choice, she provided support and encouragement. I graduated without my license but decided to do my practicum and student teaching experiences while working towards my masters in educational research

Dr. Banks also mentored me through the interview process while applying for teaching jobs and continues to provide teaching and classroom management advice when I need it. She currently serves as my doctoral advisor and is working with me on a potential publication.

Dr. Bagakas, professor in the Curriculum and Foundations department, served as my advisor for my masters program and when I experienced conflict with student teaching and course offerings, he volunteered to help me fulfill the requirement through an independent study. While working with him, he often suggested that I should complete a thesis and pursue my doctorate, which is what I ultimately decided to do.

Dr. Bagakas and Dr. Banks both served on my thesis committee. I worked on my thesis while student teaching and applied to the doctoral program that same year. Dr. Bagakas door remains open and I know if I need advice, he will always be willing to help

Jennifer Dohy 10, 12

Margaret Gallagher

My aunt and godmother, Margaret (Peg) Gallagher, academic advisor in the Education Student Services Center, was and still is the best advisor with whom I have consulted.

Peg was always there for me and took the time to answer all of my questions and concerns with the following advice: choose the specialty area that is of most interest to you. For me, that area is early childhood special education. Peg has advised me and so many in our large family and circle of friends who were undecided on which career path to pursue.

I have no doubt that her knowledge and advice have helped many other CSU graduates.

Eileen McGrail 04


Ralph Mawdsley


Dr. Ralph Mawdsley, professor in the CASAL department, was my instructor during my enrollment in the Adult Learning and Development (ALD) program.

I learned a lot from Dr. Mawdsley and I still utilize his teaching methodologies when I work with adult learners. I would recommend taking one of Dr. Mawdsleys courses to any student interested in the ALD program. He is an inspiration to me.

Kimberly V. Taylor 98