April 2009 Issue • Volume 37 • Issue 4

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ASA’s Teaching Enhancement Fund Supports Three New Projects

Three awards designed to enrich the quality of teaching of sociology have been awarded through the ASA Teaching Enhancement Fund (TEF). 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 TEF grant, up to $2,000, may be given to an individual, a department, a program, or a committee of a state/regional association. The 2009 funded projects are as follows:

Kathleen McKinney (Illinois State University) for "A Multi-Institutional Study of Research Experience Capstone Courses in Sociology." This project will assess student learning and student perceptions of a one-semester, required sociology research experience capstone courses at seven different institutions that vary in location, size, public-private status, and co-ed or same-sex status. Since little is known about the outcomes of research-based capstone courses, McKinney’s work is poised to contribute significantly to the scholarship of teaching and learning literature and to provide insights that could improve curricular planning and course design across the discipline.

Carissa M. Froyum and Marybeth C. Stalp (University of Northern Iowa) for "Implementing a Teacher Development Pilot Program for MA Students." This study will implement and test the effectiveness of a small pilot program that prepares MA students to teach core sociology courses at community colleges in Iowa. The proposed pilot program will have three central components: a teaching-focused proseminar course, a congruent teaching practicum, and a guided teaching internship. The objectives of Froyum and Stalp’s program are to prepare MA students to teach core sociology courses at community colleges; train them to reflect upon and address "positionality" within the classroom; and engage them in the scholarship of teaching and learning. The project responds to the growing number of community college students in Iowa and across the country by seeking to advance the practice of preparing competent and pedagogically attuned community college educators.

Suzzane S. Hudd (Quinnipiac University) for "Arriving at a Sociology of Writing." When sociologists reference the deeper role of writing and its contribution to the development of our students’ critical thinking skills, they commonly refer to research in composition theory. This is despite the fact that a good deal of sociological scholarship onbpedagogical approaches to the assignment of writing already exists. This project will bring together the literature on writing in the disciplines (i.e., the theories of compositionists) with the scholarship of sociologists to initiate a more meaningful and multi-disciplinary dialogue about student writing in sociology that will expose the "hidden curriculum" surrounding the written work professors assign. Through interviews with sociologists across a wide-array of institutions, Hudd seeks to develop a "rhetoric of sociology." She hopes to define a "writing praxis" that supports this rhetoric. By treating writing as a socio-cultural phenomenon and linking it to the critical thinking skills it is intended to develop, she seeks to expose the shared aims between sociological writing and other disciplines. Hudd hopes to facilitate the compositional transition from one discipline to another.

The next deadline for TEF applications is February 1, 2010. For additional information, visit the ASA website at www.asanet.org (click on Funding). TEF is largely supported by contributions made during the Annual Meeting at Just Desserts. See the Annual Meeting insert in the May/June issue for details about this fundraising event at the 2009 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. logo_small


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