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Award-Winning Prof. Christine Schull Talks Advocacy and Her Teaching Journey 

Award-Winning Prof. Christine Schull Talks Advocacy and Her Teaching Journey 

Christine Schull, NOVA professor and SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awardee has been educating students for more than 25 years. She began working in early learning as an undergrad, working in various settings with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school age children and adults with developmental disabilities. Prior to transitioning into higher ed., she was an elementary school teacher and a research fellow. Schull has been an advocate for her students and her students’ students. Her work ethic demonstrates her commitment to bringing about equity in the field of early childhood development.  

Her publications illuminate the importance that early education and the part interventions play in childhood development. Schull is a fierce advocate for early childhood education and has served in numerous capacities to advance its role through public discourse. Schull is not only knowledgeable in her field but charismatic in the way she educates the whole student.  

Schull understands that she is modeling teaching to childhood educators and that her pedagogical approaches will not only impact her college students but the students they teach. Schull’s students are often women, mature learners and from minoritized backgrounds. She acknowledges the varied experiences they bring to the classroom and ensures her educational approach validates them as an individual and affirms that their future career choice is an integral part of our society and should be treated as such. When students leave Schull’s classroom, they know they will be successful, both professionally and personally. 

Christine-Schull-2023Recently, Schull hosted a roundtable discussion on the importance of skilled childcare workers. To her, advocating for better, more equitable pathways from community college to four-year institutions has become second nature. According to Schull, these early childhood educators are critical to keeping the economy together. Without them, parents do not feel confident leaving their children in daycare and often choose to remain home instead of entering the workforce. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background: 
I was born in Florida and grew up in Michigan. My father is Uruguayan, and my mom is Cuban.  

I went to Michigan State and ended up in Northern Virginia because my husband is active-duty military.  

I have always taught in early childhood development in some form. I was a teacher in the Fairfax County Public Schools, and an important part of my journey was a debate on whether I would go back to the classroom after earning my doctorate. I was told by my faculty mentor that I would have a broader influence to work directly with teachers.  

I was a McNair Scholar, a university program that provides mentoring to minority students. I had a mentor that sought me out and said he wanted to work with me, and that I could make a difference in the Latino community by continuing on to graduate school. I also want to thank my dissertation advisor who encouraged me to think about the impact I could make in higher education. I took from that lots of lessons on the importance of building relationships with students, and how this can make all the difference.  


I love working with young children and talking about working with young children. I am proud of NOVA’s associate degree in early childhood education, and certificates leading into this workforce preparation program, as well as the transfer partnerships we have forged for these students. .  

What brought you to NOVA? 
I always saw myself at a teaching institution. Even when I was moving toward a career in higher education, I saw myself more in teaching than research. I was a research fellow while working on my dissertation and realized I wanted more one-on-one time with students. That is why I wanted to work at NOVA, because it is a teaching institution. Community colleges create pathways for vulnerable students.  

Tell us how working with other faculty and staff members has been impactful to you? 
I feel so lucky to have excellent colleagues, particularly my early childhood colleagues at NOVA. The full- and part-time CHD faculty are people I really respect, learn from and lean on. I really value those relationships. That is what makes a place fun to work at.  

In addition, I feel valued and supported by my administrators, associate deans and deans. I worked at two campuses, and in both places I felt lucky to work with everyone there. Everybody is so nice here, everyone.  


Tell us how working with students has been impactful for you? 
It’s continual growth for me. They are bringing their real-world growth to me. I love it when students come to me for guidance, strategy, advice or just because they need someone to listen. I love the opportunity to do that. It is a privilege.  

How do you feel about being the recipient of SCHEV’s Outstanding Faculty Award?  
I am stunned and so appreciative to my colleagues, peers, students and SCHEV for recognizing me for this incredible award. I want to thank all the teachers who commit their career to this journey to make the lives of so many students better. 

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.