College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Jay Howard is working with the American Sociological Association and Indiana University to advocate for better teaching in the classroom.
Howard was recently named co-editor of Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, an online resource for sociology teachers.
“It’s a fun opportunity,” Howard said. “It’s a way of taking your expertise as a faculty member and as a teacher and sharing it beyond your own classroom.”
TRAILS will create a library of teaching resources available to high school and college sociology teachers to use in the classroom. The library will have PowerPoint presentations, sample syllabi and sample paper ideas.
Howard said he is excited to be working with TRAILS because it will allow him to reach and educate a broader spectrum of people interested in sociology.
He will work as part of a team of three to edit a section of the library, which Howard says will enhance their end product’s value.
“We felt that having a team of three gives each of these materials a greater sense of peer review,” Howard said. “People can say my teaching materials have been peer reviewed by national experts which helps them get credit for what they’re teaching.”
Howard has been a member of the American Sociological Association for 18 years and has been very involved with the efforts related to the teaching movement.
Aside from TRAILS, Howard is also working with Indiana University’s Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching to spread his knowledge and passion for quality teaching.
FACET is an organization within Indiana University that serves as an award after members go through an extensive review process. Howard was admitted in 1997.
“Admittance doesn’t stop with just getting an award,” Howard said. “We’re expected to be engaged on their local IU campus as well as nationally to help facilitate more effective teaching and learning.”
Howard said he has been involved with IU’s “Future Faculty Teaching Fellow Summer Institute,” where he facilitated a weekend-long development workshop that prepared the students before they began teaching. Howard will speak at FACET’s annual conference, delivering a speech about student participation in the classroom.
“When students are engaged in discussion and actively participate, they learn more and they develop their critical thinking skills,” Howard said. “Yet, there is a ‘norm’ that you typically see in the classroom where five students do 90 percent of the participating.”
Howard said he feels very privileged that he gets to speak at the FACET conference to discuss the importance of good teaching.
“I’m very fortunate to be in a discipline where people value teaching as well as scholarship.” Howard said. “FACET places value in teaching and makes sure we reward people for doing good teaching, because learning is what higher education should be about.”