Education faculty member receives national COPLAC award 

Rob Sumowski

Education faculty member receives national COPLAC award 

Dr. Rob Sumowski, associate professor in the Lounsbury College of Education, recently was named the winner of the Charles Dunn Award for Faculty from the Council of Public Liberal Arts College's (COPLAC). 

The award recognizes a faculty member whose commitment to student success goes "above and beyond the classroom and office,” according to the organization. The winner must demonstrate extraordinary attention to students and understand they sometimes face unique challenges, both on and off campus, that may compromise their academic performance. 

“Dr. Sumowski is most deserving of this recognition,” said Dr. Costas Spirou, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “He is dedicated to his students and consistently encourages them in their academic pursuits. He is a great representation of our institution.”

A member of the faculty at Georgia College since 2011, Sumowski is an associate professor of Special Education and Program Coordinator for the Master of Education and Education Specialist programs. Prior to entering higher education, Sumowski spent 21 years as a P-12 teacher, assistant principal, behavior specialist and district-level director of student safety.

“In my life I have encountered a handful of special people who offered me mentorship, guidance and grace,” he said. “They helped me understand that nobody has all of the answers, and that all of us are just trying to figure out this crazy, tragic, beautiful circus we call life.

“In the final analysis, our relationships with others are all that matter. We are all in this together. That’s the ground upon which I approach my teaching. I am deeply humbled to be able to repay the giants in my own life by sharing some of these lessons with the next generation,” said Sumowski

A proponent of the Field-Based Cohort Model, Sumowski serves as a mentor leader in the undergraduate and M.Ed. programs. A state leader in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), he has served on various visioning and planning committees with the Georgia Department of Education and has been called upon by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office to testify as an expert witness in hearings involving classroom management issues. From 2015-2018, he served as a Professor-in-Residence assisting the Baldwin County School District with redesigning its behavior management system, resulting in a 32.8 percent decrease in the district’s office disciplinary referrals. Sumowski then developed coursework in PBIS and served on the 2019 Georgia Professional Standards Commission Task Force that led to the creation of Georgia’s Teaching Certificate Endorsement in PBIS, the first of its kind in the nation.

He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Music from Mercer University, Master of Education and Education Specialist degrees from Georgia College, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia. 

Updated: 2021-04-15
Brittiny Johnson
University Communications