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Comm Studies' Varallo appointed to Jaeke Chair

Her goal to encourage study or careers in family services

September  16, 2010

Dr. Sharon Varallo

Dr. Sharon Varallo, communication studies professor and newly appointed Violet M. Jaeke Chair of Family Life, would say the lure of teaching is what drew her to Augustana. From the moment she stepped to the front of a college class as a masters' student, the desire to make teaching a career was continually confirmed with each new opportunity.

"I fell in love with teaching on the first day," said Varallo. "I knew I wanted to be a liberal arts educator."

That first day of teaching spurred her to complete her masters', teach summer classes at a North Carolina community college, enroll at Ohio State University for her doctorate, and eventually come to Augustana in 1998.

When asked to reflect on why she enjoys teaching at Augustana, Dr. Varallo focused on the close relationships she has established both with her students and fellow faculty members.

"It really is a good place for interaction and I value that immensely. You get to know your students and colleagues from across disciplines," she said.

Dr. Varallo serves as associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies. Her academic interests include communication in close relationships, caregiving, gender and intercultural communication.

As the new Jaeke Chair of Family Life, Varallo's goal will be to introduce students to the issues of family life and encourage them to consider advanced study or careers in family services.

"It is an honor to be named the new Jaeke Chair of Family Life," said Varallo. "I've long been interested in anything that affects families, parenting, work balance. I'm delighted."

Dr. Varallo earned her bachelor's degree from William and Mary, master's degree from the University of North Carolina and doctorate from The Ohio State University. Her most recent scholarly publication is a 2008 article, "Motherwork in Academe," in the journal Women's Studies in Communication.

The Violet M. Jaeke Chair of Family Life was established in 1987 through funding from the Harold W. and Violet M. Jaeke Foundation. The chair supports study, research, instruction and programs to enhance the quality of family life. The chair was first held by the Rev. Dr. Ralph W. Hansen, professor of psychology, and most recently by Dr. Larry McCallum, professor of psychology.

Sam Schlouch
Director, Public Relations and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7833
samschlouch@augustana.edu