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ASA’s Teaching Enhancement Fund Supports Four New Projects

Four awards designed to enrich the quality of teaching of sociology have been awarded through the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Enhancement Fund (TEF). The Fund supports innovative projects that are transportable to other settings and will have a lasting impact on teaching sociology. The 2007 funded projects are as follows:

Wendy Cadge, David Cunningham, and Sara Shostak (Brandeis University) will pilot a program to integrate the teaching and learning of undergraduate and graduate research methods. Graduate students will be given the opportunity to serve as research consultants and project leaders in the undergraduate research class. The undergraduate students will have the opportunity to work with the graduate students in small research project groups, enhancing the “learning by doing” nature of research.

Karl Kunkel (Missouri State University) will conduct a focus group assessment of a CD-ROM and active learning teaching strategy for a course on “Crime, Class, Race, and Justice.” All course material that was previously delivered in lectures will be turned into voice-over presentations on a CD-ROM, which students could use and review at their own pace. Students will view specific presentations prior to class so that the entire class time can be devoted to interactive learning exercises. The project will study whether the combination of better organized lecture material on CD-ROM and active learning within the class time enhances learning.

Kathleen McKinney (Illinois State University) will conduct a longitudinal study of a cohort of sociology majors in order to research their development of identities as sociologists, their ability to use their sociological imaginations, their engagement in the discipline of sociology, and their sense of being autonomous learners. Self-administered questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, learning reflection essays, a sociological imagination essay question, and the Motivated Learning Strategies Questionnaire will be used to assess the development of the given cohort of majors.

Trina Rose and Sue Wortmann (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) will investigate the effects of using Personal Response Systems (PRS), also known as clickers, in large classrooms. Over the course of two years the devices will be used in large lower-level sociology classrooms, using an experimental design to determine their effects on attendance, active learning, community, student grades, and instructor evaluations. The project should shed light on whether these PRS devices are useful in sociology classrooms and whether they enhance student learning as an active pedagogy.

The next deadline for TEF applications is February 1, 2008. For additional information, visit the ASA website at [click on Funding]. The Teaching Enhancement Fund is largely supported by contributions made at Just Desserts. Watch for details about this fundraising event at the upcoming 2007 Annual Meeting.