Last modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award -- Founders Day 2007
Doctoral Student in Sociology
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences
Indiana University Bloomington
B.A., Wake Forest University, 2000
M.A., Indiana University, 2004
In just his second year as an associate instructor, Judson Everitt achieved a feat that had never before been accomplished in the Department of Sociology. In Everitt's spring 2006 Education and Society class, 100 percent of his 58 students ranked his teaching effectiveness as "excellent"—the highest ranking that can be given.
"This is a truly extraordinary achievement," says Thomas F. Gieryn, Rudy Professor and chair of the IU Bloomington Department of Sociology. "[It] provides one indicator that Judson's passion for teaching is effectively reaching its mark: his students adore him."
At the core of Everitt's teaching philosophy is the belief that he has an obligation to improve the knowledge and skills of each one of his students. His teaching practices reflect his commitment to all students' learning and improvement: he strives to relate to his students' experiences, diversify classroom practice, and create repeated opportunities for individualized instruction. He requires his students to meet with him one-on-one several times during a course so that he can tailor instruction to their individual needs.
"If I do not continually engage in these teaching practices, I limit the scope with which I reach my students and limit the levels of performance they can attain," he says. "Ultimately, I measure my success or failure as a teacher by closely monitoring all of my students' improvement over time."
Everitt's teaching philosophy was influenced by his experience in teacher training as an undergraduate. As a student teacher in a large suburban high school, Everitt experienced firsthand the challenges that educators face when teaching students with diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and skills. This motivated him to pursue further study of education with the hope of improving conditions for people engaged in teaching and learning.
At IU, Everitt's scholarly work focuses on the sociology of education, with particular emphasis on teachers' work conditions and training. This allows him to combine his research in education with his teaching practice—something that, according to both faculty and students, he does extraordinarily well.
"There is a great deal of consensus in my department that Judson ranks among the best scholars in his cohort," says Brian Powell, Allen D. and Polly S. Grimshaw Professor of Sociology. "But what truly distinguishes Judson is his impeccable performance as a sociology instructor."
Everitt's students agree. They often comment on his high level of enthusiasm and his ability to explain complex concepts clearly.
"Never before had a professor or instructor challenged me so much in my own thinking or understanding of the course material," says former student Stacey Hall. "I feel that Judson's teaching effectiveness was truly exceptional."
"The way he engages students and encourages their participation and learning, both in and out of class, sets him apart from other instructors," says F. Bryden Cory, another former student.
Everitt's accomplishments in research and teaching have not gone unnoticed. He won first place in the North Central Sociological Association Graduate Paper Competition with his paper "Control in the Classroom and Influence on School Policy: Types of Teacher Autonomy and Teacher Attrition." He also received two honors from the IU Bloomington Department of Sociology: the Glen D. and Dorothy E. Stewart Family Scholarship, which recognizes excellence in both research and teaching, and the Edwin H. Sutherland Award for Excellence in and Commitment to Teaching, which is given annually to the outstanding associate instructor in the department.
But it is Everitt's students who best convey the impact he has in the classroom. His class evaluations are filled with praise for his devotion to his students and his Herculean efforts to ensure that they learn. In fact, many of his students identify him as the most outstanding instructor of their college careers. "Judson is by far the best instructor at IU," writes one student on an evaluation. "His method of teaching is extremely effective and provides students with every opportunity to succeed in his class."