Professor Hand infuses creativity and innovations into her first-year and upper-level courses, pursuing a student-centered, high-impact approach to teaching that inspires students to high levels of achievement and fires their imaginations with insights grounded in the field of sociology.
Examples include her COLL 100 course Social Justice, where students work together in groups on original research projects to which they must apply sociological research methods, culminating in “conference style” poster sessions where they present their findings orally to invited faculty and guests. In her COLL 150 course Memoirs, Privilege, and Inequality, students complete a three-stage writing assignment asking them to apply their emerging “sociological imagination” to investigate the circumstances and events of their own lives. The assignment creatively blends the development of core writing skills with opportunities to understand key sociological insights into how our individual biographies rest on foundations that are built into the structure of society.
While appreciating that she is approachable, funny, knowledgeable, and responsive, students also cite how her course content "really expanded the way I think" and consistently rate her teaching effectiveness at a very high level. It is fitting that she now be recognized with the Arts & Sciences 2017 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.