Class of 2020 Success Stories: Connecting career crossroads at BGSU

Sue Ann Sandusky melds military, higher education background into degree, career

Sue Ann Sandusky - 2020 Success Stories

By Kandace York

Sue Ann Sandusky was at a crossroads when she enrolled at Bowling Green State University.

She had recently retired from the U.S. Army, after a flourishing 37-year career, and she had moved to Findlay, Ohio. But instead of fully “retiring,” she wanted to put her skills to work in a civilian setting.

The University’s Ph.D. in higher education administration, through the College of Education and Human Development, was her bridge to get there.

“I hand-carried my application to BGSU,” she said. “I met with Maureen Wilson and enrolled that day.”

Sandusky didn’t have a formal background in higher education, but she did have a lifetime of experience all around the world, and she was ready to share it. Her bachelor’s degree, in journalism, was from Texas. Her master’s degrees, in Russian and East European Languages, political science and strategic policy, were from Philadelphia and London. She earned additional graduate certificates from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

In the U.S. Army, she served in much of sub-Sahara Africa: Zimbabwe, Liberia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and more. She also served in Yugoslavia, where she made a point of studying the Croatian language.

Understanding those around her, regardless of where they live or which language they speak, is something that has been a part of Sandusky’s life, both in uniform and in her post-service role. Throughout her U.S. Army career, she connected with higher education at West Point, the Army War college and DLI, and she accepted assignments throughout the world.

While at BGSU, in addition to her doctoral studies, Sandusky earned graduate certificates in the French language and in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, both through the College of Arts and Sciences.

Sandusky's military and civilian ambitions came together at BGSU. Her Ph.D. dissertation was “Predicting Student Veteran Persistence at BGSU,” a topic that her advisor, Wilson, suggested.

Sandusky defended her dissertation in March and shared it with Ohio Link. 

It explored the importance and challenges of using student-level institutional data to examine persistence of contemporary student veterans.

Service to her country is something that Sandusky spoke of in grateful and humble tones. She acknowledged American taxpayers’ generosity in paying for her education through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill program.

For the fall, Sandusky has already accepted a position teaching political science at Tiffin University.

“I learned a great deal about teaching from one of my BGSU courses, College Teaching, with Professor Wilson,” she said.

The course, HIED 7340, covers the development of skills and strategies for active learning with a diverse group of learners in a college setting.