Katherine R. Rowell has practiced a "learning-by-doing" educational approach as a sociology instructor at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, since 1996. Leading the Sinclair Sociology Department's work on the American Sociology Association's Integrating Data Analysis project and development of several course modules introducing students to sociological research techniques is a part of that approach.
"I believe that a commitment to high-quality teaching standards is necessary in order to help Sinclair students succeed," says Rowell.
The course modules are available through TeachingWithData.org.
Rowell's course, Global Poverty: Causes, Consequences and Cures, is an introduction to basic social science research methodology. Students complete an academic research project and an applied research project, and write a research proposal for a future project. The class includes a three-day visit to Nogales, Mexico, which gives students an opportunity to experience briefly life in a developing country.
One of Rowell's students, Katie Fox, says that "(Rowell's) teaching style draws students into her lessons and she encourages them to express their thoughts and opinions. She stretches her students and helps them see the world in an entirely different light."
Rowell works alongside her students in and out of the classroom, working at a local homeless shelter, taking a lobbying trip to the Ohio state capital, and bringing concepts of research methods into class.
Rowell has won numerous awards for teaching excellence, including the 2005 Outstanding Community Colleges Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation and Case Foundation, and the 2005 North Central Sociological Professor of the Year. She has been included in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" four times (1996, 1997, 2002, and 2004). In 2003, Rowell was one of 15 community college faculty chosen for a Fulbright group study abroad trip to Botswana, Swaziland, and South Africa to develop curriculum for the Midwest Institute for International Education. She served as the president of the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA) with her term ending in March 2010. She has participated in the Integrating Data Analysis Project (IDA) at Institute for Social Research, a part of the University of Michigan.
Rowell earned a bachelor's and master's degrees from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.
She "considers it an honor to walk into a classroom and help students critically think about the world they live in."