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Three awards designed to enrich the quality of teaching of sociology have been awarded through the American Sociological Association’s Carla B. Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant (formerly the Teaching Enhancement Fund, see July/August 2009 Footnotes). This small grants program supports teaching projects that advance the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) within the discipline of sociology. The Carnegie Foundation defined SoTL as "problem posing about an issue of teaching or learning, study of the problem through methods appropriate to the disciplinary epistemologies, applications of results to practice, communication of results, self-reflection, and peer review." Principal criteria for the award are: The project advances the teaching and learning of sociology, serves as a seed project that will continue to have an impact, and it should be systemic in its impact. A grant of up to $2,000 may be given to an individual, a department, a program, or a committee of a state/regional association.
The 2010 funded projects are:
Liz Grauerholz (University of Central Florida) "The Impact of Institutional Changes on Teaching"
In this study Grauerholz will conduct a series of interviews to explore the extent to which increasing consumerist attitudes around higher education impact teaching practices and expectations for students. Her study will first examine if sociology instructors perceive that major changes in the academy and classroom have occurred and the extent to which perceptions are shaped by institutional contexts and status characteristics. She will then explore the ways in which instructors perceive that their teaching has changed in response to such things as increased class size and increased emphasis on student evaluations in promotion and tenure decisions. Finally, the research will examine which pedagogical practices are believed to be the most effective responses in different institutional settings.
Scott G. McNall and Cynthia Siemsen (California State University-Chico) "Understanding Rapid Climate Change: Causes Consequences and Solutions"
This project works to integrate the issue of rapid climate change into the sociology curriculum by creating a faculty learning community. That community, in turn, will revise nine key sociology courses to expose both sociology and non-sociology students to a systematic sociological approach to the study of the causes, consequences, and the solutions of rapid climate change. Faculty from the California State University-Chico Department of Sociology who teach the following courses will constitute the learning community: Introductory Sociology, Classical Social Theory, Sociology of Wealth and Inequality, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Population, Social Movements, Political Sociology, Environmental Sociology, and Sociology of World Affairs.
Angela Harvey (Ohio State University-Newark) "An Evaluation of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program"
The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a national initiative directed at transforming ways of thinking about crime and justice. This program was established in 1997 to bring college students and incarcerated individuals together as peers in a classroom setting that emphasizes dialogue and critical thinking. Harvey’s project involves comparing a criminology course taught in the traditional manner with one based on the Inside-Out pedagogy. Pre- and post- surveys will be used to measure whether the Inside-Out course achieves the goals laid out in the program’s guidelines. Specifically, it will compare students’ perceptions about individuals who are incarcerated, as well as their knowledge and perceptions about the U.S. criminal justice system. It will also compare student’s long-term education and career goals and knowledge and experience in social policy and advocacy.
The next deadline for the Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant applications is February 1, 2011. For additional information, visit the ASA website at www.asanet.org and click on "Funding." The grant is largely supported by contributions made during the ASA Annual Meeting’s Just Desserts! benefit. See the details on ASA benefit events in this issue for details and plan to attend the 2010 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.