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Carla B. Howery Award Statement

Carla B. Howery, former ASA Deputy Executive Officer and Director of Academic and Professional Affairs Program, is the 2009 recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. Howery dedicated her career to the promotion of teaching and learning in sociology and to the professional development and training of new and experienced faculty. She made significant contributions to 1) the ASA Curricular Resources on Teaching, 2) the scholarship on teaching and learning, 3) the ASA Department Resources Group, 4) the quality of instruction around the country via workshops, lectures, and consultations, and 5) the advancement of sociology through public speaking and advocating policy changes and by serving on numerous committees, task forces, boards, and panels that support quality teaching.

One of Carla’s major contributions was building a vast library of resources on teaching sociology. She was a writer, planner, and reviewer of curriculum materials for teaching sociology across the discipline. Not only did Carla prepare a number of important teaching- and curriculum-related materials and publications, she was the driving force in the establishment and growth of the ASA Teaching Resources Center (TRC). The TRC collections of syllabi and publications on a variety of topics related to the teaching of sociology stands as a model for other fields in academia. Carla also was a key co-author of several documents, including perhaps the most important curriculum documents in sociology, the two editions of Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major.

As noted above, Carla not only participated in the scholarship of teaching and learning, she was a critical voice of leadership in establishing and expanding this scholarship within our discipline. Her abbreviated vita lists some 14 peer-reviewed publications over the past decade that address various parts of the scholarship on teaching and learning. She also was instrumental in the development and communication of innovative teaching techniques through her roles in establishing the TRC and the journal of Teaching Sociology.

In addition, Carla led more teaching-related workshops and symposia in sociology than any other individual at regional and national meetings. She also was central to the establishment of regular workshops for department chairs and for directors of graduate study at the ASA annual meetings. As a leader of the Teaching Resources Group, Carla also helped to train consultants from across the country on how to lead effective workshops on a variety of topics related to teaching. The Teaching Resources Group eventually became the Department Resources Group, and Carla led the way again in training consultants to do external reviews of sociology departments. Carla, herself, conducted over 45 departmental reviews during her career.

During her 26-plus years at the ASA, Carla was highly involved in innovative program development. Several important programs that Carla played a leadership role in are the ASA MOST (Minority Opportunities through School Transformation) program, the Preparing Future Faculty project, and the Integrating Data Analysis (IDA) program funded by the National Science Foundation. She also was the co-director of the Spivack Program on Applied Research and Social Policy. Carla worked at the state, regional, and national levels to transform awareness of and teaching about sociology. She planned and presented at Congressional and media briefings, and she supervised many ASA Congressional fellowships.

In conclusion, there is so much more to say about Carla and the work she did on behalf of teaching and sociology. Perhaps one colleague said it best when writing after Carla’s death in March. She said Carla was "passionate about teaching as scholarship, feminist sociology, and applied sociology. She was committed to social change in our profession, while, at the same time, Carla was the ultimate effective insider at the ASA. I’m absolutely convinced that the success of all of us who might otherwise be at the margins, and are now far more central, can be traced to Carla’s ceaseless passionate work as an organizational insider and outsider. She was instrumental in creating a profession where margin moved to center. She was a loved friend to many of us, and perhaps one of the most important sociologists of all time, in her own organizational way."