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American Sociological Association launches first-of-its-kind teaching tool
Date:5/25/2010

WASHINGTON, DC The American Sociological Association today launched a first-of-its-kind educational tool to promote high-quality teaching and to improve the way college and university professors provide evidence to support their promotion and tenure.

"Success in the academic world is commonly predicated on judging a professor's contributions to scholarship through peer-reviewed publications," said Sally T. Hillsman, ASA's Executive Officer. "While teaching well is acknowledged to be extremely important, it is more difficult for university peers and administrators to take the measure of a great teacher, independent of student evaluations. This contributes to undervaluing the core academic skill of teaching when colleges and universities make tenure decisions and promote faculty."

ASA is trying to change that through the Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS), an archetypical interactive website that combines qualities of a digital library and an online journal to promote rigorous, up-to-date scholarly content and teaching tools for successful learning.

TRAILS offers a wide range of sociologist-submitted, and peer-reviewed, teaching and learning resources that will include continuously updated and revised syllabi, class activities, assignments, tests, essays, lectures, PowerPoint presentations, film lists, video clips, bibliographies, and website listsall of which can be downloaded and edited, making it easy for users to adapt the materials for their own classroom needs.

The expectation is that a record of publishing materials in TRAILS can become a new type of evidence of teaching accomplishment. When coupled with systematic peer review of teaching in the classroom, this evidence can help schools more objectively measure teaching excellence.

"Students expect to learn from great teachers and often pay handsomely for that privilege. Yet professors are often not evaluated on their powerful
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
fowler@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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