By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Greg Kordsmeier, associate professor of sociology, has been awarded the 2020 John F. Schnabel Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA).
The award recognizes excellence in some activity enhancing the teaching of sociology either for the NCSA or within the North Central region.
“It is hard to put into words what it means to have my peers recognize me for my work in this area,” Kordsmeier said. “Teaching is such a core part of my professional identity, and I have spent many years both trying to improve my teaching and to help others improve their teaching as well.”
Among criteria of excellence, the NCSA looks for pioneering innovations in curriculum design, the development of creative instructional materials, publications about teaching sociology, among others.
Kordsmeier’s contributions span the gamut of those criteria.
In the area of curriculum design, he has developed new courses and found innovative ways to structure those that are a standard feature of the sociology curriculum. He has also published three instructional resources in in Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS), of which he also serves as editor. He also published a chapter in a textbook, Social Problems in Action, which included active learning activities he either created or adapted.
“The text aims to engage students in active learning as they grapple with the social construction of a range of social problems and learn to identify sociological solutions to problems facing society today,” Kordsmeier said.
Besides publishing book reviews and a peer-reviewed article in the area of the scholarship of teaching and learning, Kordsmeier has given ten conference presentations on teaching topics ranging from teaching thoery and research methods to assessment of student learning and effective lecturing. A devoted member of NCSA since moving to the region in 2013, Kordsmeier has played an active role in the organization’s annual meetings, be it as a presenter, faculty sponsor for undergraduate research assistants or facilitator of workshops.
On campus, Kordsmeier has served on a number of committees, helping to create communities where faculty can share best practices for teaching and learning.
“I find I am still learning a great deal from my colleagues, and continuing to grow in my understanding of teaching and learning,” Kordsmeier said.
Founded in 1924, the NCSA is a regional organization for sociologists that supports undergraduate education through teaching and learning sessions and workshops, provides undergraduates with opportunities to present on student panels and to network with experts in the field, and offers leadership and professional development events for members.
Kordsmeier is the first IU Southeast faculty member to receive the award, which has been given since 1987.
“This award shows that IU Southeast is an institution that fosters excellence in teaching and learning and offers the opportunity for growth and leadership in this area,” Kordsmeier said. “I really appreciate all of the support that I have gotten from IU Southeast, the School of Social Sciences, and the Sociology program to work on my teaching over the years.”