May/June 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 5

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ASA’s Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant Supports Two New Projects

Valerie Jiggetts, ASA Academic and Professional Affairs Program

Two 2012 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. This small grants program supports teaching projects that advance the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning within the discipline of sociology. 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 over time, and will 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 first project, “Comparing the Effectiveness of Lecturing vs. Team-Based Learning for Teaching Introductory Criminology,” was submitted by Janet P. Stamatel and Christopher M. Huggins, both at the University of Kentucky.

Stamatel and Huggins will assess how well the team-based learning (TBL) method works in the social sciences. They will also assess whether team-based learning is better suited to accomplish some learning goals more than others. The project will conduct a formal outcome evaluation comparing two methods of teaching—a lecture in a more traditional classroom and team-based learning. Team-based learning creates an environment where learning basic content is completed by students individually outside of class. Each method (lecture and TBL) will be used by the principal investigators to teach one section of an Introduction to Crime, Law and Deviance course. The common learning goals for each course are: 1) understanding the meaning of core concepts of sociological study of crime, law, and deviance 2) drawing informed conclusions about patterns of crime and victimization in the United States, and 3) comparing, contrasting, and applying theories of criminal behavior. The extent to which these outcomes have been achieved under each teaching method will be measured using in class tests, final grades and course evaluations.

The second project, “Using the Case Method of Teaching to Promote Active Student Learning,” was submitted by Molly Talcott, California State University-Los Angeles, Dana Collins California State University-Fullerton, Sylvanna Falcon, University of California-Santa Cruz, and Sharmila Lodhia, Santa Clara University.

Falcón, Talcott, Collins, and Lodhia have used the case method at their various institutions for nearly 10 years. Their project asserts that the case method approach to teaching encourages students to become more visionary problem solvers, and to identify multiple perspectives on varied social issues. However, the current selections of case study materials are either out of date, or, not geared towards teaching undergraduate students in the social sciences. In this project eight new and original case studies geared toward teaching undergraduate students and focused on a centrally important problem within sociology, gender/women’s studies, and ethnic studies will be developed. The case studies will be of use in a wide range of courses in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields including sociology, political science, women’s and gender studies, ethnic studies, and American studies. The long-term goal of the project is to develop an online archive of case study topics and teaching materials for easy dissemination to interested teaching faculty.

The Carla B. Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant deadline for the 2013 grant applications is February 1, 2013. For more information, see the “Funding” page at www.asanet.org

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