Sociology’s Weissinger Named SIUE Teaching Excellence Award Winner

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Office of the Provost announced that Sandra Weissinger, PhD, is the recipient of the annual Teaching Excellence Award for tenure-track faculty. It is the most prestigious teaching award for an SIUE faculty member. Three additional faculty members were saluted for their teaching skills and accomplishments with Teaching Distinction Awards, and seven more received Teaching Recognition Awards.

Weissinger, PhD, is an assistant professor of sociology and graduate program director in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). She received a $2,000 prize as part of the award.

“This award provides encouragement, that my observations of what it means to be a professional and a professor are accurate, and that my skills as a sociologist are sharp,” said Weissinger, who joined the SIUE faculty in 2012. “To the best of my ability, I provide students with the type of education I would want – knowing what I know now, as a person with three degrees.

“This means that I am straight forward. I illuminate facts. I tell students where to find facts, and I provide learners with solutions, as I see them. I give students the opportunity to consider alternative solutions, too.”

Weissinger will be recognized during SIUE’s May commencement ceremony and speak at the 2018 fall commencement ceremony. The Upstate New York native will be nominated for the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for the National Professor of the Year Award.

Teaching Excellence Awards committee chair Kelly Gable, PharmD, an associate professor and coordinator of global partnerships in the SIUE School of Pharmacy, cited Weissinger as representing all of the qualities and characteristics of an exceptional educator. The committee noted her ability to bring delicate topics on race, class, gender and sexual orientation into classroom discussion with sensitivity and professionalism.

Weissinger impressed the committee with her utilization of practical, real-world examples within her teaching style, while keeping students actively engaged as her enthusiasm and passion shine through to students. The committee called her an inspirational teacher that encourages students to dig deeply and think critically about current events. Her teaching style is expected to have a strong and long-lasting impact on student learning and professional growth.

“Dr. Weissinger’s outstanding scholarship connects perfectly with her excellence in the classroom ,” said CAS Dean Greg Budzban, PhD. “Her ability to unite critically important ideas with real and significant events in our society provides a wonderful example of an ideal teacher-scholar, and provides our students with the exceptional educational experience they deserve.”

Weissinger’s teaching areas include African American communities, race and ethnic relations, urban sociology and qualitative research methods. Her research areas focus on African American communities and institutions, inequality and intragroup marginalization. She was the lead editor on two books “Law Enforcement in the Age of Black Lives Matter” and “Violence Against Black Bodies.”

Weissinger earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2005, 2008 and 2010, respectively.

In addition, Teaching Distinction Awards valued at $500 were awarded to Kathryn Brady, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health, Speech Pathology and Audiology Program within the SEHHB, and Junvie Pailden, PhD, assistant professor and graduate program director in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in CAS.


Pailden moved the committee with his ability to teach challenging topics, yet make the topics interesting and easy to understand. He utilizes multiple modes of classroom teaching, including active demonstrations. His teaching style is described as flexible, allowing for thoughtful and educational on-the-fly topic discussions. According to the committee, student evaluations of his teaching were phenomenal, and his passion for teaching is clearly evident.

Other Teaching Recognition Awards in CAS were awarded to the following; Jocelyn DeGroot, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Applied Communication Studies and Sophia Wilson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.

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