Sociologist receives top teaching award

Annette M. Schwabe, a teaching professor in the Department of Sociology.

Annette M. Schwabe received Florida State University’s 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award during the annual Faculty Awards Dinner April 25.

The Distinguished Teacher Award, which is the university’s top award for teaching, includes a $7,500 stipend.

Schwabe, a teaching professor in the Department of Sociology within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, describes teaching as a form of service that contributes to the community long after class is dismissed.

“I especially love teaching sociology because it provides students with a ‘big picture’ of how the world works,” said Schwabe, who teaches classes on medical sociology, research methods, social problems and the sociology of lifestyles. “The sociological perspective allows students to examine their common-sense beliefs analytically and solve problems pragmatically, taking different perspectives into account. I believe these skills and new ways of thinking will benefit students in their personal and professional lives after they graduate.”

Ike Eberstein, chairman of the Department of Sociology, called Schwabe an “outstanding teaching professor” who has strengthened the department’s undergraduate program.

“She has very high expectations of her students and the skill and energy to bring out the best in them,” Eberstein said. “She personifies what is best about traditional liberal arts education in the modern university.”

Schwabe praised her teaching colleagues across the Florida State campus.

“The faculty of the Department of Sociology are accomplished scholars who also value and support good teaching,” Schwabe said. “In fact, there are so many skilled teachers who foster student excellence across the disciplines that I am sincerely honored to be recognized for this award at Florida State.”

In addition, Schwabe complimented her students as “inquisitive, hard-working and engaged.”

They energize and motivate me,” she said. “This distinction would not be possible without them.”

In 2009, Schwabe received a University Teaching Award from Florida State and the Best Teacher Award from the Department of Sociology.

Schwabe joined Florida State’s faculty as an adjunct instructor in January 2005. Later that year, she was promoted to assistant in sociology, a full-time teaching position. She was promoted to associate in sociology in 2008 and to her present position of teaching professor in 2013. In addition, she has served as the Department of Sociology’s director of Undergraduate Studies since August 2012.

Schwabe earned a master’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Washington in 1984 and a doctorate in sociology with specialization in medical sociology from Kent State University in 2002.

Schwabe has gained a reputation among students not only for her comprehensive and well-planned lectures but also as an encouraging mentor who is willing to give of her time to advise them.

Wilburn Peacock, 24, a senior from Perry, Fla., majoring in sociology and criminology, nominated Schwabe for the award. He praised her for taking time to explain critical concepts from courses he had yet to take that he needed to grasp in order to succeed in her “Sociology of Lifestyles” course.

“Even after finishing up all the courses I had with Dr. Schwabe, she was still willing to take time out to give me advice on other courses outside of sociology,” he said.


Forty-five other outstanding Florida State faculty members were recognized during the Faculty Awards Dinner.

ROBERT O. LAWTON DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AWARD: The highest faculty honor at Florida State. The 2014-2015 recipient is Mark A. Riley, the Raymond K. Sheline Professor of Physics.

DISTINGUISHED RESEARCH PROFESSOR AWARD: A select panel of current Distinguished Research Professors vets the nominations, submitted by faculty peers, for presentation to the university president. Each recipient will receive a one-time award of $10,000, along with a framed certificate. The award was presented to Dean Falk (Anthropology), Darrin McMahon (History) and Anuj Srivastava (Statistics).

DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY SCHOLAR AWARD: Recognizes outstanding performance by Florida State employees who are non-tenured or non-tenure-seeking, have longstanding track records of research and/or creative activity at the university, and occupy more senior levels in their respective positions. Examples of such positions include the titles of curator, scholar/scientist or research associate. This year’s recipients will receive one-time awards of $10,000 and framed certificates. The award was presented to Paolo Annino (Law) and Luis Balicas (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory).

DEVELOPING SCHOLAR AWARD: Recognizes mid-career associate professors who have been singled out by their peers. Each receives $10,000 to be used in their research program, following specific guidelines, along with a framed certificate. The award was presented to Joseph Hellweg (Religion), Brian Miller (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Michael Shatruk (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Young-Suk Kim (Teacher Education) and Ming Ye (Scientific Computing).

GRADUATE FACULTY MENTOR AWARD: Recognizes faculty mentors whose dedication to graduate students and mentoring have made a significant contribution to the quality of life and professional development of graduate students. The honor comes with $3,000. The award was presented to Kevin Beaver (Criminology and Criminal Justice), Ming Cui (Family and Child Sciences), Arthur Raney (Communication), Alysia Roehrig (Educational Psychology and Learning Systems) and Kathleen Yancey (English).

HONORS THESIS MENTOR AWARD: Recognizes faculty members whose direction and advisement of honors thesis research or creative activity has significantly contributed to the enhancement and quality of education of undergraduate students. Faculty members are nominated by students in the Honors in the Major program for this award. It comes with a $2,000 stipend. The award was presented to Jonathan Dennis (Biological Science) and Pamela Keel (Psychology).

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH MENTOR AWARD: Recognizes faculty commitment to undergraduate research. The award, which includes a $2,000 stipend, was funded by the Florida State University Research Foundation. The award was presented to Elizabeth Stroupe (Biological Science).

GRADUATE TEACHING AWARD: Recognizes faculty for excellence in graduate teaching. Recipients must make outstanding contributions to successful teaching and learning. This is a student-oriented award with nominations submitted by students and alumni. Each recipient also receives a $2,000 award. The award was presented to Joseph Neil Abell (Social Work), William Christiansen (Finance), William Dewar (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science), Read Gainsford (Music), Andrei Malaev (Theatre), Donna Nudd (Communication), Jorge Piekarewicz (Physics) and Julie Stierwalt (Communication Science and Disorders).

UNDERGRADUATE ADVISING AWARD: Recognizes employees who have dedicated their time to ensuring that students receive the best possible advice related to courses and career choices. Recipients, who were nominated by the students who benefitted from their services, receive $2,000. The award was presented to Cathy Badger (Student-Athlete Academic Support), Esther Diaguila (Computer Science), Kacy King (Student-Athlete Academic Support) and Korey Lowry (Human Sciences).

UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING AWARD: Recognizes faculty members for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Recipients must be outstanding in the many aspects of teaching that contribute to successful teaching and learning. This is a student-oriented award with nominations submitted by students and alumni. Each recipient also receives a $2,000 award. The award was presented to Allen Blay (Accounting), Judy Bowers (Music), Angela Davis (Teacher Education), Andrew Epstein (English), Ishkhan Grigorian (Mathematics), Monica Hurdal (Mathematics), Lynn Jones (Art History), Kelley Kline (Psychology, FSU Panama City), Sandra Lewis (Teacher Education), Michael Ormsbee (Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences), Mark Pietralunga (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Arthur Raney (Communication), Patricia Spears Terebelski (Biological Science) and Jennifer Wells (English).