July/August 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 6

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TRAILS Welcomes its New Editor: Diane Pike

Stephen Sweet, Ithaca College

Diane Pike

Diane Pike

TRAILS (Teaching Resources and Innovation Library for Sociology) is ASA’s subscription-based, online, interactive, peer-reviewed library of teaching and learning materials. It includes the entire corpus of the ASA Teaching Resources Center Syllabi sets, as well as a growing number of newly published teaching resources (see trails.asanet.org). And since June 1, it has a new editor: Diane Pike, Professor of Sociology at Augsburg College.

Diane Pike received her PhD from Yale University in 1981 and subsequently became one of the key driving forces in a movement to center teaching as a primary professional activity for sociologists. She served as the Director of Augsburg’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and will be recognized as the co-recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning Award at the 2012 meeting of the American Sociological Association. In addition to that honor, she received the 2010 ASA Section on Teaching and Learning Hans O. Mauksch Award and the 2009 Steward Bellman Award for Excellence in Faculty Development Leadership from the Collaboration for the Advancement of College Teaching and Learning. She served as President of the Midwest Sociological Society in 2009-2010. Her Presidential address “The Tyranny of Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning” was recently published in The Sociological Quarterly (2011). As a member of the ASA Task Force on Creating an Effective Assessment Plan for the Sociology Major, her substantial contributions facilitated the identification and assessment of learning objectives that are now the standard for the discipline.


Diane Pike is one of the most public faces of the teaching movement in sociology, in part owing to her intense involvement with the ASA Section on Teaching and Learning as a past chair, and also as lead organizer of the 2010 and 2011 pre-conferences “The Best Teachers We Can Be.”  She is among the most active members of the Departmental Resources Group, including its Advisory Council Board, and has provided program review, mentorship and consultation to nearly 20 departments and scholars, as well as training to other members of that group. Throughout her career, Diane organized and presented well-received teaching paper sessions, professional workshops, panels, keynotes, and roundtables at both her institution and at regional meetings, as well as at nearly every meeting of the American Sociological Association for the past two decades.

In discussing her editorship with me, Diane outlined her objectives for TRAILS in the forthcoming years. Foremost, she believes that TRAILS should become an exemplar for improving teaching and learning both within sociology and, where appropriate, in higher education more generally. As such, it should be successful in both substance and in replicability. Diane sees three main goals in program and content development: sustained and improved quality of submissions; increased activity by authors and users; and increased visibility and recognition by appropriate audiences. Achieving these goals will require smart ideas from the many colleagues with whom she is eager to collaborate. As Diane remarked, “As a sociologist I know that success in this endeavor depends upon collective energy, wise organizational decision making, and the good will of my peers in the scholarship of teaching and learning community.”

Diane also shared that her motivation for leading this project comes from a deep love of teaching and learning and from the belief that being a sociologist has made her a better teacher. Some members will recall the bookmarks handed out when she was Chair of the ASA Section on Teaching and Learning in Sociology, which offered the following quotation:

 “Pedagogy depends on sociology more than any other science.”
-Emile Durkheim

Understanding that effective teaching and learning is both an art and a science, Diane is eager to continue to contribute to scholarly teaching in Sociology as the Editor of TRAILS. She also sees this work as an opportunity to show her gratitude for the career she has enjoyed thus far by helping to set the stage for future sociologists, most of whom teach in some capacity. In part, her commitment to TRAILS is to reciprocate the long support Diane has received from the ASA, from the community originating from—and extending beyond—the Section on Teaching and Learning and, in particular, from Carla Howery.

So what should we expect of the new editor of TRAILS?  If I know Diane Pike, it will be intense cajoling and mobilization of her extensive network of like-minded teachers to contribute to TRAILS, further accelerating its existing momentum. Be prepared, she is coming for you!


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