April 2009 Issue • Volume 37 • Issue 4

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Kathleen S. Lowney
to Edit Teaching Sociology

by Maxine P. Atkinson, North Carolina State University


Kathleen S. Lowney

The incoming editor of Teaching Sociology, Kathleen S. Lowney, will continue the journal’s strong leadership in the scholarship of teaching and learning—for our profession and for the larger academy. Lowney believes that good teaching comes from an engaged teacher/facilitator encouraging students to be actively involved with materials, ideas, and each other. A great class is created in part with much self-reflection by the teacher and then thoughtful calibration of technology, supportive learning materials, and assignments that captivate students’ interest. What happens in a classroom can sometimes seem like alchemy, but it needs to be alchemy informed by the latest in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Lowney loves to teach—it truly is her passion; those moments when a student who has been struggling suddenly "gets it" are more than worth her hours of grading and course preparation. It is in a classroom with students practicing their collective sociological imaginations that Kathe is most comfortable. It is this passion for teaching that makes her an excellent editor of Teaching Sociology.

As good teachers are wont to do, Kathe recognizes and acknowledges the contributions of her own mentors. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Kathe was fortunate to be trained by excellent scholar-teachers, including Guenther Roth, William Bainbridge, and Phil Blumstein. Interested in both religious beliefs and human behavior, she completed majors in both sociology and comparative religion. Seeking a graduate program that would allow her to pursue both her major interests, she chose the interdisciplinary doctoral program in religion and society at Drew University. Much of her scholarship, including two books (Passport to Heaven [1992] and Baring Our Souls: Television Talk Shows and the Religion of Recovery [1999]), explores intersections of religion and society.

At Valdosta State University, she and her colleagues continue to create, assess, and strengthen their accredited applied sociology programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. They have sought to craft programs that engage students and help them to hone skills, which can be used to improve their work sites and create positive change in their communities. It was these efforts that drew Kathe to regional and national sociology organizations and the teaching sessions they offer. She has co-edited four ASA teaching syllabi collections and has contributions in several others; she has been the Chair of the Midwest Sociological Society’s Committee on Undergraduate Education and currently is the Chair of the Society of Social Problem’s Teaching Social Problems Division. She is now serving a term on the ASA’s Council for the Section on Teaching and Learning and, earlier, was co-editor of its newsletter. In addition, for the past few years she served on the ASA Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award Committee.

Lowney has been a reviewer for many journals, including Teaching Sociology, and has been on the editorial board of Sociological Perspectives and Sociological Spectrum. Her current research interests include constructionist studies of social problems and the media; adolescent Satanic style; collaborative community-university service-learning projects; and productivity websites and images of the self.

Lowney as an Editor

Lowney knows quality scholarship when she sees it. She recognizes good teaching as one form of good scholarship. Her contributions will include organization, management, and a creative vision of what Teaching Sociology can do for the discipline and the teacher-scholars who practice it. Kathe has a knack for recognizing not only the great work we as sociologists do but also the underlying potential that is often more difficult to see. She will be a constructive, supportive, and honest editor who will help both the journal and the individual authors take steps toward creating an even more exciting scholarship of teaching and learning. Her leadership will combine an understanding and appreciation of both the broader assessment movement in higher education and the application of sociological methods and theory to what happens in classrooms.

Kathe’s personal skills and habits will also contribute to her success as an editor. She is contemplative with an unflappable calmness, a capacity for hard work, and a strong sense of fairness. She and her deputy editor, Glenn Muschert, Miami University (Ohio), will continue to build Teaching Sociology into one of the premier publications in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Once again, we are most fortunate that such capable scholars have chosen to do this most important work.

Teaching Sociology publishes articles, notes, and reviews intended to be helpful to the discipline’s teachers. Articles range from experimental studies of teaching and learning to broad, synthetic essays on pedagogically important issues. Notes focus on specific teaching issues or techniques. The general intent is to share theoretically stimulating and useful information and advice with teachers. For more information, see www.asanet.org/cs/journals/ts. logo_small


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