Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology Daniel F. Chambliss, a professor whose classes are always in demand and who is known beyond the campus for his prize-winning research and books, is the winner of the American Sociological Association’s 2018 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching. The award, to be presented at the association’s meeting in Philadelphia in August, recognizes individuals who have made contributions to teaching that go beyond their own classroom and campus to have nationwide influence.
Chambliss’ early work on Olympic-class competitive swimmers (winner of prizes from both the US Olympic Committee and the ASA) is still widely used in college and graduate courses, almost 30 years after it was first released; his 5th edition research methods textbook Making Sense of the Social World, co-authored with Russell Schutt, is used in over 100 colleges and universities in the U.S., the U.K., and China; and his book on moral dilemmas in nursing, Beyond Caring, has been reprinted in dozens of publications. His recent book How College Works, co-authored with his former student Christopher Takacs ’05, was featured in The New York Times and received Harvard University Press’s Virginia and Warren Stone Prize as their best book of the year on education and society.
Chambliss’s simple but effective approaches to undergraduate education have also received wide attention, and he has spoken and consulted at scores of colleges and universities across the country, especially on the role of personal relationships in college success. He has conducted workshops and webinars for ASA and others on techniques for classroom discussions, the use of oral examinations, and strategies for delivering engaging lectures. His provocative “skip the final exam” challenge, a classic illustration of game theory, has received national attention as well on multiple occasions.
Nomination letters for the ASA Award cited his many years of mentorship of students and fellow faculty, including younger colleagues who worked as visiting professors at Hamilton, then moved on to other institutions – as well as of unsuccessful candidates for positions at Hamilton. But the mentorship isn’t limited to junior faculty: in a recent cover story in The Chronicle of Higher Education, profiling Denison University’s efforts to enhance advising and relationships on campus, President Adam Weinberg repeatedly cited Chambliss as his own mentor, both in Weinberg’s career as a sociologist and now, as a top-tier administrative leader.