Suanne Roueche: Innovator and Leader in College Teaching and Learning
Suanne Roueche, a teacher, scholar, author and philanthropist who led the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) for two decades, died Dec. 24 in Austin, Texas, after a long illness. She was 75.
She and her husband of 41 years, John Roueche, became the revered husband-and-wife scholarly team who for the past 40 years have been among the leading scholars and thinkers shaping the community college movement.
Roueche was the author of dozens of articles and 14 books, most notably the 1993 book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The At-Risk Student in the Open-Door College.” It was a landmark examination of the challenges facing students enrolled in developmental education classes and provided community college teachers with best practices to help them succeed. In 1994, the book received the Outstanding Research Publication Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.
She also helped train hundreds of community college leaders as a professor and men tor
at the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Under her leadership, NISOD went from fewer than 50 member institutions to more than 750. As publications editor, she led the dissemination of abstracts to about 100,000 readers each week. In May, NISOD will celebrate its 40th annual conference.
Since 2012, in honor of the Roueches, The League for Innovation in the Community College has presented the John and Suanne Roueche Excel lence
Awards to community college professors from around the country.
“She was a wonderful wife, loving mother and committed and passionate educator who cared deeply about the students who enter our open doors,” John Roueche said in an email. “She was also a terrific teacher, researcher and public speaker. She will be missed by all of us.”
Roueche was a graduate of North Texas State University, where she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English. She received her Ph.D. in edu cational
administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 1976. Prior to beginning her graduate work, she taught for nine years at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, developing and implementing a nationally recognized developmental studies writing program.
She spoke at more than 400 colleges, universities, and conferences on topics of teaching and learning. In addition to her 14 books, she authored more than 50 articles and chapters focused on teaching and learning in American colleges and universities.
The list of honors and awards is long and impressive, among them the American Association of Community Colleges National Leadership Award (1997); the Distinguished Senior Scholar Award (1994) from AACC’s Council of Colleges and Universities; and The Chancellor’s Honor Award, presented by the State of Alabama Postsecondary Education for outstanding contributions to the Alabama College System.
In 2000, her friends, colleagues and community college leaders across the country established The Suanne Davis Roueche/NISOD Endowment at The University of Texas at Austin. Total contributions to this endowment exceed $1.2 million.
Donations may be made in her honor to any of the nonprofit organizations with which she worked. These include the Roueche Endowed Scholarship Fund with Mitchell Community College, the Roueche Scholarship Fund with the Austin Community College Foundation, the Assistance League of Austin, or Ironwood Pig Sanctuary and Sara Sanctuary in Seguin, Texas.