Sara Crosby Receives Ratner Award

February 26, 2019
Sara Crosby

Associate professor Sara Crosby is a recipient of the 2018 Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award. The Ratner Awards recognize faculty for making a difference in students' educations, lives and careers. Candidates are chosen for creative teaching and exemplary records of engaging, motivating and inspiring students. Each Ratner Award includes a $10,000 cash prize, as well as a $10,000 teaching account to fund future projects.

Crosby teaches at The Ohio State University at Marion, where she shows students that they are not powerless. Whether she’s teaching about the Louisiana wetlands—her birthplace—or about crime writing, Crosby makes all of her courses as classes in citizenship. When taking her classes, student “can read the discourses that shape them, they can understand perspectives other than their own, and they can act on these insights to promote public good,” says Crosby.

Robyn Warhol, chair of the Department of English, says, "Sara Crosby richly deserves the Ratner award, as she is an exceptional teacher. Over and over in students’ comments, Sara’s courses are described as 'awesome,' “interesting and fun,' 'lively' and the 'best class I’ve ever had,' and Sara is described as 'an absolute delight as a professor,' a 'favorite' teacher, 'engaging and fun,' 'fantastic,' 'enthusiastic' and 'clearly motivated by her topics and students.'"

Currently, Crosby is writing her third book, tentatively titled Losing Louisiana: Ecohorror and the Death of America's Wetland. In it, she tries to uncover the reasons why the United States is allowing her home of South Louisiana to wash away. She tackles the broader implications for how we deal (or, rather, don't deal) with the larger-scale ecological crises we're facing. This research meshes with a capstone class Crosby teaches on South Louisiana, and she intends to use the Ratner funds to extend that course into an immersive experience, where she takes students on a "behind-the-scenes" field trip into Louisiana culture and crisis.

This year, Crosby has taught/is teaching the following courses:

  • (AU '18) English 2367.02: Literature in the U.S. Experience—American Environmental Writing
  • (AU '18) English 4581: Special Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literatures— Radical Women
  • (AU '18) English 4583: Special Topics in World Literature in English— Blood and Oil (or the literature of extraction)
  • (SP '19) English 2290: Colonial and U.S. Literature to 1865—Aliens in America
  • (SP '19) English 4597.02: American Regional Cultures in Transition—Strange Louisiana

About the Ratner Award

Ronald Ratner served on Ohio State's Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2015, appointed by former Governor Ted Strickland. Ratner is currently director and executive vice president of development for Forest City Realty Trust, Inc., a real estate investment company based in Cleveland. Deborah B. Ratner is the founder of ArtWorks, a Cleveland-based arts apprenticeship program and Reel Women Direct, an award for women film directors. In 2014, they generously gave $1 million to establish the Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards. In addition, Forest City Realty Trust donated space in Cleveland at Tower City for The Ohio State University Recruitment and Outreach Center, aimed at increasing the overall college-going rate for the greater Cleveland area.


By Madalynn Conkle