Sociologist to be honored for her contributions to teaching

Topic: College of Sciences and Humanities

April 2, 2009

A regional sociology organization will honor Ball State University's Melinda Messineo for her efforts to enhance teaching in her field.

Messineo, an associate professor of sociology, will receive the 2009 John F. Schnabel Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award from the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA) at its April 18 meeting in Dearborn, Mich. She will give the organization's keynote address in 2010 at its national meeting.

NCSA seeks to further the development of sociology as a scientific and scholarly discipline. Membership includes colleges and universities from eastern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada.

Messineo was described as a "bridge builder who seeks to make information accessible and relevant to students while at the same time encouraging them to challenge themselves to move beyond their current understandings" in a letter from Mellisa Holtzman, associate professor of sociology; Carolyn Kapinus, associate professor of sociology, and David Concepcion, associate professor of philosophy.

Messineo joined Ball State's faculty in 1999. Her research interests are in sociology of media, images of race and gender in advertising, and sociology of family.

She has been honored by the university for her academic efforts, including being selected in 2007 as a Fellow at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry to develop an innovative emerging media project "Cyber Communities, Cyber Selves, and Constructed Realities." The project centered on research into the online world of Second Life.

Allowing students to conduct research into the academic applications of Second Life is part of Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative (EMI), a planned $17.7 million investment focusing the university's historic strengths in this area to accelerate benefits to the state of Indiana and give students innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Among her other honors, Messineo was given the Vivian Conley Award in 2004 for outstanding achievement in community service, the Green Initiative Award in 2004 for  integration of environmental issues and sustainability, the Lawhead Award in 2003 for excellence in the University Core Curriculum and the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002.

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