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Edward Kain Award Statement

The American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award honors outstanding contributions to undergraduate and/or graduate teaching of sociology. The award recognizes contributions that have made a significant impact on the manner in which sociology is taught. Edward L. Kain, Professor of Sociology and University Scholar at Southwestern University, has promoted excellence in teaching sociology at all levels—regional, state, national, and international. The award committee is pleased to recognize his contributions in a wide range of venues, including preparation of teaching and curriculum-related materials and publications, participation in the scholarship of teaching and learning, development and communication of innovative teaching techniques, leadership in teaching workshops and symposia, involvement in innovative program development, and contributions to the enhancement of teaching within professional organizations.

Professor Kain has published more than 75 books and articles, many of which are excellent examples of the scholarship of teaching and learning sociology. The editor or co-editor of six ASA Teaching Resources Center publications, Kain is a leader in the discipline in establishing the standard for excellence in curriculum design. Professor Kain is a co-author of Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major Updated, perhaps the single most influential document on sociology curriculum for undergraduates. This volume literally defines the core of excellent sociology curricula and provides the basis for evaluating sociology programs. Professor Kain also co-edited the original ASA Manual for Departmental Evaluation Visits. This manual provides the guidelines used by ASA-trained consultants who review departments’ sociology curricula. Along with Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, this manual is the most influential curriculum publication for U. S. sociologists and sociology programs. Professor Kain also co-edited two editions of “Innovative Techniques for Teaching Sociological Concepts”. He is the author of multiple articles in Teaching Sociology including “Building the Sociological Imagination Through a Cumulative Curriculum” (1999) and “Bridging the Gap Between Cultures of Teaching and Cultures of Research” (2006). Quite simply, Professor Kain has helped establish the standard for excellence in curriculum design for the sociology major.

Professor Kain’s leadership in the American Sociological Association is unparalleled. Kain has been actively involved with our professional organization for many years. He chaired the Section on Teaching and Learning, completed numerous external reviews of sociology departments across the country, served multiple terms on the editorial board of Teaching Sociology, presented dozens of teaching workshops across the country, and served as ASA Field Coordinator for the Teaching Resources Group. Professor Kain served on the ASA Task Force on The Undergraduate Major and chaired Southwestern University’s Minority Opportunities Through School Transformation project. He has tirelessly worked to implement curricular change, to mentor students and to improve the climate for students of color. For two decades he has taken his undergraduates to present their research at regional and national professional meetings. In 1997 he received the Hans O. Mauksch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Sociology, given by ASA’s Section on Teaching and Learning. His work has been recognized by teaching awards at both Southwestern University and Cornell University. Professor Kain is an innovative leader who is adept at balancing both the instrumental and the socio-emotional aspects of leadership.

Ed has been characterized as the philosophical “work horse” of the ASA teaching movement. He brings the skills and expertise of a scholar together with the passion of commitment to change. The titles of some of his teaching workshops are illustrative of the depth and breadth of his contributions: innovative teaching techniques; preparing for program reviews; teaching introductory sociology for the first time; quantitative literacy; teaching sociology in an international program; undergraduate research training; the scholarship of teaching and learning; the capstone course; integrating race, class, and gender in the curriculum; teaching large classes; curriculum transformation; and preparing graduate students to teach. He has been involved in professional activities at the national level as workshop organizer, presenter, plenary speaker, program reviewer, task force member, session organizer, ASA section officer, committee member and chair, and newsletter editor every year since 1985! Professor Kain’s service to the discipline enriches us all and passes on the discipline at its finest.

Professor Kain embodies the core of the ASA Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. He is a thoughtful scholar with a lifelong commitment to improving teaching in the discipline. Ed Kain has truly made a difference in the lives of teachers and learners in our discipline of sociology and beyond. He is to be admired for his dedication, his innovative leadership, his creativity, and his modeling of the scholarship of teaching and learning.