Caroline Persell Award Statement
ASA is pleased to present Caroline Persell, Professor of Sociology at New York University, with the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. Persell’s nomination and selection indicates the extraordinary impact she has had on all aspects of the teaching of sociology. Letters of recommendation from former undergraduate and graduate sociology students applaud Persell’s ability to make sociology come alive by linking the scholarly research and knowledge accumulated over the past 165 years with vital critical thinking skills. This connection then allows students to understand the application of sociology in the “real world.” Her former students include current faculty members in departments other than her own as well as people from across a range of professions. Their letters consistently highlighted how Dr. Persell’s enthusiasm for sociology along with her depth of knowledge made their learning experience wonderful.
Persell’s scholarly contributions are part of the research and knowledge her students study and include research about education as well as research about teaching and learning. It is this unique combination of understanding education both as a social institution as well as how the social institution interacts with individual students that highlights Persell’s scholarship.
Additionally, Persell has directly, and indirectly, served as a mentor for many of us throughout our careers in two ways. First, she has taken the time to personally assist departmental colleagues, former students, and sociology colleagues as attested to by the many letters submitted on her behalf. Her colleagues at New York University stated that her continued excitement about teaching as well as her excellence for teaching set a high standard for the department. Second, Persell’s contribution to teaching within the discipline includes her work as a member of the ASA Departmental Resources Group (DRG) and as an active presenter and participant in the annual meetings. As a member of the ASA DRG, she has visited a number of different departments as part of their external reviews. Her feedback and professionalism epitomize the role of a mentor.