The College of Sciences and Humanities’ fifth – yes, you read that correctly – fifth faculty winner of the Outstanding Faculty Award series is Dr. Mellisa Holtzman of the Sociology Department, winner of the Outstanding Teaching Award. Dr. Holtzman has been teaching at Ball State since 2002 and in that time has won ten different awards for teaching and mentorship. The Outstanding Teaching Award marks number eleven and is the most prestigious teaching award given on campus.
The Sociology Department has consistently high teaching scores on their student evaluations, averaging 4.5 out of 5. But even in that elite environment, Dr. Holtzman stands out from the rest. One of her nominators shared that, “She is arguably the best of the best, and in no small way responsible for contributing to the culture of pedagogical excellence that defines our department and, more broadly, this institution and our discipline.” Dr. Holtzman frequently assists other professors all across campus, such as her recent facilitating of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Studio series.
One of the clearest examples of Dr. Holtzman’s excellence in teaching is in the development of the program: Elemental, a sexual assault self-protection program. This program combines sociological and scientific research with primary prevent programming and physical and verbal risk reduction programming. The result, a proven 2/3 reduction in the risk of assault for at least 6 months post-program. Those results are significant on their own, but even more so when you consider that majority of programs do not have such a track record of proven results. While this program is a partnership between Dr. Holtzman and other faculty, “her drive and adeptness in teaching undergraduates about this most sensitive of topics in an approachable and nuanced way has been indispensable to the testing, refinement, persistence, and growth of the program. The program was represented at the White House by her and because of her.”
In addition teaching several foundational courses in the department, Dr. Holtzman serves as the chair on numerous students’ thesis committees. To date she has served on 4 undergraduate senior honors theses, 20 M.A. thesis committees, and 9 PhD committees! Both in and outside the classroom, Dr. Holtzman strives to be a valuable resource for her students and colleagues. Stop by the Sociology Department and wish her congratulations – or better yet, sign up for one her classes and experience her teaching for yourself.