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Jay R. Howard - Award Statement

Jay R. Howard, Professor of Sociology and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University, is recognized for a career of outstanding contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning in sociology and in undergraduate education more broadly.  Howard is also past winner of the Indiana University President’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the P.A. Mack Award for Distinguished Service to Teaching from Indiana University, the North Central Sociological Association’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, and the Hans O. Mauksch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education.  He serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the P.A. Mack Center for Inquiry on Teaching and Learning.

Howard has been a leader in the scholarship of teaching and learning movement within sociology.  He has contributed over thirty-five publications on teaching and learning.  His work covers many of the important nuts and bolts aspects of teaching such as how to write a syllabus,  how to engage students in class discussions, how to  develop effective writing assignments, how to motivate students to read the textbook, how to teach mass classes, and how to develop critical thinking skills in students.  Howard’s contributions extend beyond the foundational basics however, to encompass scholarly work on the significance o f the introductory sociology course for accomplishing the goals of a liberal arts education and research on how and what students learn in our classrooms.  His recent book (with Nancy A. Greenwood), First Contact: Teaching and Learning in Introductory Sociology, is destined to become a necessity for both new and more experienced teachers of this all important course.   

Howard is not only a distinguished teaching scholar in his own right, he has also played a pivotal role in developing other teaching scholars.  At the regional level, Howard has organized and presented in numerous teaching and learning sessions at the North Central Sociological Association’s annual meetings, made teaching and learning the focus of his address as President of that organization in 2007 and played a key role in developing the North Central Sociological Association’s Future Faculty Certificate Program.   

Howard’s many contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning at the national level provide a blueprint for aspiring winners of this award.  In the ASA section on teaching and learning, Howard held the position of treasurer and was elected for a three-year term on the section council. He currently co-edits (with Nancy Greenwood) the “Introductory Sociology” section for the ASA online publication, TRAILS.  Howard has given invited presentations at the Section on Teaching and Learning preconference workshops, at the American Sociological Associations Department Chairs Conference, and in numerous workshops at annual meetings.  Since 2001 Howard has served on the ASA Departmental Resources Group which assists sociology departments throughout the country with external reviews, curriculum revision, assessment tool development and mentoring for departmental officers.  Howard serves as a regular reviewer for the American Sociological Association’s publication, Teaching Sociology and previously held the positions of Associate Editor (1997-1999) and Deputy Editor (2003-2009) of that journal.   

In sum, Howard’s career epitomizes the criteria and the spirit of this award.  As his nominator (Keith Roberts) put it,
“ he has contributed to (1) the scholarship of teaching and learning, (2) to the eminence of our discipline’s flagship teaching publication, (3) to the quality of instruction around the country via publications, workshops, and consulting  under the banner of the Departmental Resources Group,  (4) to the training of graduate students on the professorial role – especially the teaching dimensions of that position, and (5) to the advancement of sociology through serving on awards committees and Section leadership positions.  Jay Howard’s work on behalf of teaching is varied, substantial, and always done with attention to quality. He is richly deserving of the ASA award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching