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John Zipp, University of Akron
Teaching Sociology has been very fortunate to have had a series of outstanding editors, and their legacy will continue with the appointment of Stephen Sweet as TS’s next editor. Steve embodies the very definition of a teacher/scholar, and he already has considerable editorial experience that will benefit TS enormously. As he wrote in his editor application, “My vision is to continue to advance Teaching Sociology as the primary venue for the scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as the venue in which broader theoretical and political discussions concerning pedagogy, curriculum, and the centrality of teaching in the profession are made visible.”
Steve is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology and Department Chair at Ithaca College. Steve received his undergraduate degree at SUNY-Potsdam (1985) and his M.A. (1989) and Ph.D. (1994) at the University of New Hampshire. After stints at SUNY-Potsdam and Sloan Work and Family Careers Institute at Cornell, he joined Ithaca College in 2002.
At the risk of a good deal of oversimplification, Steve has made major contributions to teaching in three notable areas: “radical pedagogy;” research and teaching work and the family; and teaching data analysis and quantitative literacy. In each of these areas, he has engaged our colleagues through publishing important papers (e.g., five papers in Teaching Sociology, including one that has been reprinted and been the subject of published comments), books (his Data Analysis with SPSS is in its fourth edition and has helped scores of undergraduates across the last 15 years), materials for ASA’s TRAILS (Teaching Resource and Innovations Library for Sociology), and through countless workshops and presentations on teaching for a wide range of professional associations.
Given that Steve already has served for nine years on TS’s editorial board, including co-editing a special issue on cultivating quantitative literacy (2006), it is easy to see why he is a great choice for its next editor. Beyond Teaching Sociology, his editorial experience also includes guest editing for the journal Community, Work and Family and co-editing the Sloan Work and Family Encyclopedia (2007-2010). His most recent book, The Work-Family Interface (2014), includes submissions from 22 authors, and his co-edited book, The Work-Family Handbook (2006), contains 34 chapters written by leading scholars in the field
Steve will be joined by Associate Editor Michele Lee Kozimor-King, who will manage book and film reviews. Michele is an associate professor of sociology at Elizabethtown College and has a record of meritorious teaching and dedication to innovative instruction, mentoring, and professional development of students. She has been the advisor on more than 20 award-winning student research papers and multiple student publications. She and Steve have a successful track record of working together on teaching presentations and other related initiatives. Michele’s goal is that books and films will be accepted and solicited from academic publishers and film distributors within two years of the date of publication or release. In addition, advanced undergraduate students at Elizabethtown College will assist Michele in identifying potential books and films from the latest catalogs.
Each new editor of a journal builds on the successes of her/his predecessors, and Steve is very fortunate to have been preceded by a series of terrific editors. For example, take the innovative work of our last two editors—Elizabeth Grauerholz and current editor Kathleen Lowney. One of Liz’s great advancements was to partner with ASR to develop the teaching implications of recent research articles, while Kathleen commissioned a number of articles that reviewed textbooks in popular substantive fields (e.g., deviance, stratification). Each produced important special issues, including on such topics as quantitative literacy, writing, assessment and graduate student teaching, and a retrospective on the sociological imagination.
Steve will continue in this latter tradition, as he plans to use guest editors to publish two special issues. The first will be on “The Sociology Curriculum” and it will address the challenges of coordinating learning between classes and of creating a cohesive array of classes. One of the key recommendations of the ASA Task Force on the Undergraduate Major concluded that such an integrated curriculum is one of the most important means by which learning is advanced, yet relatively few articles in Teaching Sociology have addressed this concern. The second special issue would be “The Use of Media and New Technologies in the Classroom.”
One additional innovation proposed by Steve is to create a Teaching Sociology Index that would be published on the Teaching Sociology website and structured in a manner so that future editors would be expected to update it upon publication of subsequent issues of the journal. In this manner, the Teaching Sociology Index would be a current and complete catalog, facilitating the creation and refinement of courses as well as a means to document the frequency of publication of specific topics and concerns within the journal.
On a personal level, I would place Steve among the very best colleagues with whom I have worked across my almost 40-year career. He is smart, careful, thorough, prompt (he is always the first person to respond to an e-mail), kind, fair, and generous. Sounds like exactly what we all want in an editor!