James Satterfield, Ed.D., is the new department head in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology. His first official day on the job was July 1.
“This has been a great move,” Satterfield said. “I am really blessed with the kind of family I have because they can shift on a dime. My wife and I came to Auburn to look for a house in mid-March, right when the COVID-19 pandemic was coming on. Our daughters were with their grandparents in Florida, and we didn’t know what all we would need on our return to Missouri since people were hoarding and panic buying. It turned out that everything we bought at Sam’s in Auburn came back with us when we actually moved here! It was a pretty crazy time.”
Now that they’re settled in Auburn, Satterfield said they couldn’t be happier.
“The first thing we really noticed was that we could be anywhere and feel the pride that people have in both the town and the university,” he said. “Whether or not they are associated professionally with the university, you just feel the love. It’s unmatched. I have never seen anything like it.”
Satterfield was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where his father was completing his doctorate, but grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, where both of his parents had academic and administrative positions at Norfolk State University, their respective alma maters. Satterfield earned two degrees there, as well, one in Kinesiology and his Master’s in Gifted Education. He was also an athlete, playing outside linebacker for the school’s football team.
“My first real job after graduation was as an Upward Bound counselor at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania,” he said. “I then taught for two years at Grandy High School back in Norfolk before starting work on my doctorate at Eastern Michigan.”
With an academic specialty in Higher Education and Educational Leadership, Satterfield’s research focuses on the social and political context of intercollegiate athletics. He and his family remain ardent sports enthusiasts, and he said they are looking forward to cheering for the Tigers in the years to come.
“After completing my doctorate at Eastern Michigan, I went first to the University of Texas El Paso for five years, spent the next nine years at Clemson, and most recently served as department head at Missouri State University before having the opportunity to come here to Auburn.”
Satterfield said the transition has been smooth, thanks largely to the professional and capable faculty he found here. He noted the diversity among the faculty members, especially in terms of country of origin, but noted that they all have the “one Auburn” attitude.
“I want to see our department continue to be effective in every corner of the globe, from having students from the different countries and regions to our faculty conducting research that impacts all parts of our world.”
He mentioned one of EFLT’s stellar outreach projects, O Grows, and noted that its practical purpose and community service fit well with Auburn’s land grant mission.
“When I first got here and went to get my faculty ID card, I read the Auburn Creed for the first time,” he said. “One of the key words I saw, in the first sentence I believe, was ‘practical.’ In our work, I want us to have an impact that is practical. I want our work to mean something for the everyday person, whether that is as part of an educational system or an individual kid learning how to read. I see that we already have a high degree of quality here, so I just want our work to continue to have purpose and meaning. I think that is the Auburn way.”