On February 15, the University Regents named the newly appointed 2024 Arthur F. Thurnau Professors. OS Associate Professor Sara Soderstrom was just one of five faculty members to receive this prestigious award for remarkable contributions to undergraduate education.

Thurnau Professors must be deeply committed to teaching students from all backgrounds, and they must have a noteworthy impact on their students' lives beyond the traditional classroom setting. Named in honor of former student Arthur F. Thurnau, these professorships were created in 1988 to recognize exemplary teaching achievements. Professor Soderstrom’s Thurnau title will remain for the duration of her career at U-M, and is accompanied by funding support that further enhances her teaching. 

While this award is highly selective, it is well deserved for Professor Soderstrom, who has created numerous courses and guided over 160 students through various research projects, independent studies, honors theses, and internships. She has even earned six different teaching awards along the way—most recently, the Academy of Management Distinguished Educator Award

Professor Soderstrom currently teaches for Organizational Studies, the School for Environment and Sustainability, and the Ross School of Business. In her classes, she inspires her students to devise creative solutions to both business and environmental crises. Soderstrom’s research similarly offers a unique perspective on innovative solutions to solving some of the most critical global sustainability issues. 

Before becoming an accomplished professor, Sara Soderstrom was also an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. Soderstrom reflects on her undergrad experience and first exposure to teaching at U-M, having “two faculty in Chem who had this [Arthur F. Thurnau] recognition - Professor Wilkes and Professor Fogler.” Soderstrom credits these instructors as “transformational” to her undergraduate experience. She also reveals that her first teaching experience was as a Graduate Student Instructor for Professor Fogler. “His approach to student engagement and class design has always stuck with me. It's made this all so much more meaningful,” Soderstrom explains. 

Congratulations to Sara on receiving this incredible recognition for her contributions to undergraduate teaching, and we can’t wait to see what she will do next! 

Read more about the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship.