Professor’s talent for teaching earns SAGE award

August 01, 2012

Sara Raley’s commitment to teaching earned support from SAGE Publications for the Sociology professor to attend a workshop on new teaching techniques at the American Sociological Association (ASA) conference this summer in Denver.

Raley’s essay, which reflects the commitment and enthusiasm for which she is well known on campus, won her a SAGE/ASA Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award.

“I spend much of the time I am not actually teaching, thinking about teaching,” Raley wrote in her essay. “Over our January term, I was featured in one of our state newspapers, the Baltimore Sun, for participating in a faculty-student course design with two other faculty members.”

On campus and off, Raley is always looking for strategies to engage students and enhance learning in her classroom. She developed and teaches with Philosophy lecturer Josh Baron the Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies course, “South Park and Contemporary Issues,” which uses episodes of Comedy Central’s “South Park” TV show to explore such controversial social issues as gay marriage, immigration, race, consumerism, business ethics and pornography.

Since studying in Jordan in 2010 on a teaching grant from the Carnegie Foundation, Raley teaches classes in McDaniel’s Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies major. Her teaching and research interests also include family, gender, sexuality, work and family, and she teaches courses in global societies and the sociology of work and occupations.

“Beyond the strategies and research covered in the workshop, it would be wonderful to have access to a network of people who care deeply about the work we do as teachers of sociology with whom I could share ideas long after the conference is over,” she wrote. “I would also love to bring back teaching strategies not only to my classroom, but to my department, to our interdisciplinary program, and to our Center for Teaching Excellence.”

The SAGE/ASA Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award provides a monetary award to graduate students and new professors to attend the ASA Section on Teaching and Learning pre-conference workshop. This year the workshop is called “The Art at the Heart of Learner-Centered Teaching.” SAGE is an international publisher of journals, books and electronic media for academic, educational and professional markets.

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