Dr. Ellis loves what she does

She loves to read, but also loves to teach what she reads

Alex Retzlaff, Staff Writer

Dr. Susan Ellis loves to read, but, more importantly, she loves to teach what she reads. As a professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Wayne State College, Ellis constantly jumps at the chance to demonstrate her skills.

Ellis is the firstborn of six children, born in Pocatello, Idaho on July 8, 1951. Ellis’ desire to teach sparked in her as a child. When she was 12-years-old, she began to nurture that desire by teaching children in Sunday School.

“I love learning, and I love imparting that learning,” Ellis said. “I guess it’s inborn. Some people like teaching and some people don’t.”

After graduating from Highland High School in 1969, Ellis dreamed of expanding her horizons in education. However, Ellis’ pursuits came with challenges, some due to social stigma. In addition, Ellis also faced the uphill battle of raising three children while attending college.

“I didn’t go to college right out of high school,” Ellis said. “The idea was ‘Why would you go to college, because you’re just going to get married and have children?’”

Despite the odds, Ellis graduated from Brigham Young University in Orem, Utah in 1981. She eventually earned a Doctorate of Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Utah in 1997. As she moved into her teaching career at WSC, Ellis finally felt she had achieved her goals.

“[I like] that I get to teach, that I get to teach a subject which I love, that I get to learn new things as I teach, and that occasionally I’ll see students just light up with a new idea, and that is thrilling,” Ellis said.

Peyton Skiles, one of Ellis’ students, couldn’t agree more with her professor.

“I think she has a very interesting class, and she has a lot of knowledge that she shares with us,” Skiles said. “I really appreciate that it’s not always going to be tested. It’s just what comes naturally that she teaches us. You just never know what you’re going to learn.”

Ellis also learned, however, that teaching comes with its own unique challenges.

“A lot of people are shy or introverted,” Ellis said. “As a rabid introvert, I recognize that. Not everybody’s willing to shout out an answer or raise their hand.”

Ellis’ unique Socratic method of teaching daily inspires both her, and the students she teaches. Ellis triumphed over her hardships, and now she spends her days at WSC doing what she does best: teaching what she loves, and loving what she teaches.