Stark history professor loves seeing his students mature

Kelly Petryszyn

Sosnowski in his 32nd year at Stark

When members of the Alumni Board came into Thomas Sosnowski’s class with balloons, doughnuts and apple cider to present him with a 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award, the entire class applauded.

“How often as a teacher does your whole class applaud you?” he said.

Sosnowski said it’s nice to see he really touched some students.

“It’s wonderful when a former student says ‘I loved your class,'” he said.

Sosnowski has been teaching history for 32 years at the Stark Campus. But he’s also taught French in Streetsboro city schools, fifth grade at a Catholic school and served as an adjunct faculty member at Cuyahoga Community College in Parma.

Sosnowski said he enjoys teaching at the university level because he likes “to dig a bit and get people to think,” giving him an opportunity to cover topics in-depth.

Teaching history allows him “to open the doors of understanding,” Sosnowski said.

“I want them to understand the world outside of northeast Ohio,” he said.

He said he helps students “get over the hurdle of beginning college.” Once they make it over the initial hurdle they do well and repeat success in another class, he said.

“There is no way to measure how much people learn, but they do,” Sosnowski said.

When Sosnowski has students who don’t pay attention in class or are apathetic, he said he pulls them aside and talks to them quietly. He asks rhetorical questions and gets them to think.

“I love to see my students mature,” he said.

Sosnowski said he likes teaching history because he gets to share his passion of the world with his students.

“I have a desire to see the world, and I want others to discover it with me,” he said.

Contact news correspondent Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].