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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2004 / 09 

Sue Saffle receives Philip and Sadie Sporn Award

September 16, 2004

Sue Saffle, of Blacksburg, instructor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, received the university’s 2004 Philip and Sadie Sporn Award for the Teaching of Introductory Subjects.

The Philip and Sadie Sporn Awards were established in 1966 to cite an outstanding teacher of introductory subjects and an outstanding teacher of engineering subjects. Philip Sporn was president and chief executive officer of the American Electric Power Company. Recipients are nominated and selected by students at Virginia Tech.

A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Saffle graduated from Olympus High School in 1970 and received a bachelor’s cum laude in English at the University of Utah in 1975 and a master’s in English from Virginia Tech in 1982. Since, she has taught courses for Virginia Tech’s Department of Communication Studies, Humanities Program, and Department of English, where she has been a full-time instructor of English since 1997.

Winner of the Joyce Gentry Smoot Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Full-time Instructor and inducted into the Academy of Teaching Excellence, Saffle also has taught literature in Budapest, Hungary, and at the American University of Bulgaria, where students from Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldova, and Kosovo identified with George Orwell’s 1984 because they had lived it. She spent the 2000-2001 academic year in Helsinki where her husband, Michael, was Bicentennial Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Helsinki.

In her teaching at Virginia Tech, Saffle’s extensive reading background, her writing experience, and her interest in both her subject matter and her students make her an inspiring teacher. Saffle has piloted innovative courses, hosted Croatian and Finnish students at Virginia Tech, worked with at-risk students, and, most recently, contributed to the English department’s newly published Handbook.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of apparel, housing and resource management, communication, educational leadership and policy studies, English, foreign languages and literatures, history, human development, interdisciplinary studies, music, philosophy, political science, ROTC, science and technology in society, sociology, teaching and learning, and theatre arts.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.