Sharon Steadman, a professor of anthropology at SUNY Cortland, was named the College’s 10th recipient of the Rozanne M. Brooks Dedicated Teacher Award.
She was recognized formally on May 7 during the College’s annual Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service Reception in the Corey Union Function Room.
The Brooks Award honors a faculty member who devotes a significant amount of time both to teaching and to working with students outside of class. The award includes a $5,000 honorarium to enhance the recipient’s teaching initiatives.
“Dr. Steadman is an exemplary model of a complete faculty member who has an outstanding record of service, research and scholarship,” said Associate Professor of Physical Education Timothy Davis, a past Brooks Award recipient who was speaking on behalf of the Selection Committee. “She has dedicated her career to ensuring the very essence of what Dr. Rozanne M. Brooks outlined as the essential criteria for this award. Dr. Steadman’s record of outstanding teaching and service clearly sets her apart.”
The selection committee includes two other former Brooks Award recipients, Professor of Biological Sciences Steven Broyles and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Kathleen Lawrence.
Steadman said she will use the Brooks Award stipend to cover expenses to visit Central and South Asian countries — primarily India, and central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgizstan — in order to develop a new course unlike any currently offered by the College.
A faculty member in SUNY Cortland’s Sociology/Anthropology Department since 1998 and a professor since 2011, Steadman is a research anthropologist and an authority on architecture and landscape archaeology, archeology of religion, and prehistoric economic systems and interaction analysis. She is a specialist in the Chalcolithic Period, a culture that dates back to 5200 B.C.
Steadman has served as co-director of the Cadir Hoyuk excavations in Central Turkey each summer since 2010, and previously as a field director since 1998. She has played a key role in other excavation sites, including Horom, Armenia; Akrotiri-Aetokremnos, Cyprus; Gordion, Turkey; and Tell el-Hammah, Israel.
In 2004, the State University of New York recognized her contributions as an educator with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“Dr. Steadman is a role model for her students and community because she radiates courage, integrity and dignity in every situation,” one former student wrote in a letter supporting the nomination. “I would not be the teacher I am today without Dr. Steadman.”
Teaching isn’t just about imparting knowledge about topics in class or learning by rote, Steadman asserts. She wants her students to feel passionate about the course material.
“Things that they learn in the classroom help them understand things they see on the street, on TV, on Twitter,” Steadman said. “I feel it will enrich their lives and it will affect everything they see or hear, and in a broader perspective and in wider ways.
“I may be biased in my perspective because my field, anthropology, is the study of world cultures. It’s my job to show my students what they learn in my classes can help them understand what they see in the world.”
Brooks honorees spend substantial time with students and they are very student oriented. Steadman advises the International Awareness Club and serves as the vice president for the international honor society Phi Beta Delta.
“Dr. Steadman’s commitment to the classroom and her students are demonstrated in her enthusiasm and engagement of the subject material,” Davis said.
In 2002, Steadman was a founder of SUNY Cortland’s World First Learning Community, which remains in existence today.
“The learning community is a jewel in Cortland’s crown, a model for the College and an unparalleled opportunity for students,” wrote another nominator, Distinguished Service Professor Henry Steck, professor of political science.
Steadman has taught 11 different courses, including The Anthropology of Gender, The Making of the Modern World, Introduction to Museum Studies, and Peoples of the Middle East. She established in 2001 the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, an ethnographic teaching museum in Moffett Center. She initiated and coordinates an annual Rozanne M. Brooks lecture series, which has significantly added to the intellectual life of the campus.
Steadman coordinated the College’s International Studies Program from 1999 to 2013. She was interim director of the Clark Center for International Education from 2011 to 2012 and has served on its council since 1990. Currently she is a member of the Undergraduate Research Council.
“Her success as an innovative teacher and scholar reach far beyond the scope of the college campus,” Davis noted. “Dr. Steadman contributed greatly to the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization project.” Her work along with that of other faculty members to create meaningful links with classrooms on five continents led SUNY Cortland to capture earlier this year one of ACE’s inaugural Internationalization Through Technology awards.
In 2003, the State of New York United University Professions Joint Labor-Management Committee presented her with its Nuala McGann Drescher Affirmative Action/Diversity Leave Award. In 2007, the Research Foundation of SUNY honored her among its most important and innovative scholars and scientists with a Research and Scholarship Award. She has been recognized with such awards as the College’s 2013 Clark Center for International Education Internationalization Award and the 2012 Cortland Faculty Connections Award, chosen by the student body. She is a member of the honor society for all academic disciplines, Phi Kappa Phi.
Steadman’s work on excavations in Turkey has been supported by 17 grants, including three Dumbarton Oaks Grants from the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, an international research center affiliated with Harvard University; and currently she is funded by a second National Science Foundation grant.
An editorial assistant on the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, she also serves as an editorial and advisory board member for the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies and on the Committee on Archaeological Policy, American Schools of Oriental Research.
The author of numerous articles and book reviews and the co-editor of two books, Steadman has made many academic presentations. In 2009, she released her own book titled The Archaeology of Religion: Cultures and their Beliefs in Worldwide Context (Left Coast Press). She’s at work on two others, Transcending Foundations: The Archaeology of Architecture and the Human Use of Space, under contract with Left Coast Press, and Ancient Complex Societies: An Archaeology of Civilization, co-authored with Jennifer Ross as lead author and also under contract with Left Coast Press.
Steadman, who lives in Ithaca, N.Y., earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Santa Barbara and her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of California at Berkeley. She is married to SUNY Cortland Professor of History Girish Bhat.
The Brooks Award was endowed through the generosity of the late Rozanne Marie Brooks, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and SUNY Cortland professor emerita of sociology and anthropology, and her former students, friends and colleagues. A SUNY Cortland faculty member for 36 years, Brooks died in 1997. The first award was presented in spring 1998.