I deeply believe that cultural sensitivity
is not just a matter of political correctness; it is a central skill necessary
to compete in an increasingly global environment. My cross-cultural perspective
is not isolated in my teaching agenda, it is always a central organizing point
for my international comparative research in research methods, management
strategies, crime, and deviant behavior. This strategy is supported by my
diverse cultural background. While being a U.S. citizen, I also lived in Europe,
Asia, and Australia for extended periods in my life. I am proficient in spoken
and written German and have a basic understanding of French. Based on my special
expertise, I developed a cross-cultural comparative approach for the classroom
that promotes critical thinking and cultural awareness. From my experience I
draw real-world examples to make abstract topics more approachable.
I do not
contribute to grade inflation, but promote excellence by maintaining high
standards of achievement. Using clear goals, assessments, and deadlines I
provide clear feedback about performance and make sure that students receive the
grades they earn. Following my personal teaching ethics I have to accept the
risk of lower student evaluation scores. However, to my positive surprise, I was
able to constantly maintain high teaching evaluations.
My teaching is
leadership by example. I demonstrate to students that there is a self-rewarding
system of ethical behavior. This philosophy does not restrict me to be the only
model. Quite on the contrary, others, and especially students, are encouraged to
serve as examples. The encouragement of students to be their own moral judges is
a critical mission for me as a teacher. Not claiming a moral monopoly, but
instead holding and respecting personal moral values led my students to express
very positive remarks about my ability to present and respect a multitude of
different standpoints. Teaching critical thinking hereby contributes to the
understanding and the acceptance of diversity.
In my Introduction to Sociology course (SOC 1301) I recruit many students to
major in sociology and hereby significantly contribute to the goals of our
department. Meeting students in advanced undergraduate classes who tell me that
because of me they are in sociology not only touches my heart, it affirms my
feeling of responsibility. Another reason why, over the years, I increasingly
enjoyed this introduction course lies in the recent listing as part of the
multicultural core curriculum requirement. Now I see my critical cross-cultural
perspective even more legitimized and welcome. I use C. Right Mill’s
Sociological Imagination to demonstrate how historical and cross-cultural
comparison are tools to step away from our daily routines and look at ourselves
from the outside. In this way I apply fundaments of sociology to make it very
clear to students that integrating culturally diverse viewpoints in their
analysis is not a question of political correctness, but an important instrument
of success in an increasingly globalized economy. I analyze real-life examples
of cross-cultural misunderstandings to demonstrate to students the efficiency of
a culturally diverse approach.
As a microsociologist I developed the graduate
seminar SOC 5320 in Microsociology that for curricular reasons was called
“Social Psychology: Symbolic Interactionism”. In this seminar I introduce basic
theories and focus on the striving symbolic interactionist approach. Special
focus is put on the affect control theory approach that with its symbolic
interactionist background focuses on culture, subculture, and gender culture and
hereby integrates many classical approaches in microsociology and management. My
seminar attracts a very diverse body of graduate students from outside our
department. This course gives me the opportunity to apply my interdisciplinary
background to facilitate and integrate the contributions of this diverse student
body. I accommodate the diverse background of students by allowing them to
choose one paper subject within the boundaries of the course. Instead of
multiple papers with different topics, I require papers on the same topic
continuously implementing critiques and suggestions. This more realistically
reflects the development of an academic journal publication and supports
students to produce a work of impact. This multi-stage method clearly
facilitated student publications and thesis developments.
With SOC 4311,
Sociology of the Person, I annually teach Microsociology on the advanced
undergraduate level. While providing the general background in
micro-sociological theory method and application, this course also refines the
presentation skills of students. Presenting an argument is an important skill
that can be learned. Providing clear criteria of structure and assessment helps
students in their learning process.
My interest in cultural differences
fundamentally informs my SOC 5325 Graduate Seminar in Deviant Behavior. This
course deals extensively with the thin threshold separating cultural excellence
from deviance. What are the cultural factors turning corporate success stories
into prosecuted corporations? Or the other way round: how can deviant behavior
promote success? Here I show how aspects of deviant subcultures like
sado-masochistic attire have been successfully promoted to haute couture by
icons like Madonna. How do we identify potentially successful cultural trends
that are currently either undiscovered or still stigmatized? Theories about
differences in the diffusion of contemporary culture can take the basic
variables in management – time and space – to determine what is hip or what is
out. They can further help us to be culture sensitive in our marketing and
While we first go through the contemporary sociological
literature on terrorism, my presentation on terrorism is very innovative. I use
the original publications of incarcerated German Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF)
terrorists and their supporters who themselves studied psychology, theology, and
sociology. I provide students with insights of the minds of terrorists whose
works are only available in German. With this unique literature I demonstrate
how to locate the points at which highly engaged political citizens turn into
dangers to society. In this two hour lecture with the provocative title
“Learning from Terrorism” I demonstrate to students how a value-free academic
approach can help us to develop solutions to social problems.
Related to my
research in deviance I teach the advanced undergraduate class SOC 4327 Juvenile
Delinquency. This class draws so many students that on multiple occasions I had
to find accommodations to meet the interest. I always enjoy the challenge to
teach to this extremely diverse student body that so far always fell into three
classes of students: First, the “stoners,” students who believe that their own
delinquency qualifies them for this course. Second, the “cops,” students
interested in the professional application of the course to law enforcement and
detention. Lastly, the students with truly academic interest that often enroll
in this advanced undergraduate class on their way to become graduate students.
Not only do I encounter very different expectations about this class amongst
these groups, it is also the hardest class in terms of class management. In my
teaching style I turned these challenges into an asset. I actively use the
diversity of the student body to demonstrate the different points taken in the
subject on juvenile delinquency. I use a textbook that, while having in my
opinion the best coverage of theories, is diametrically opposed to my approach
to juvenile delinquency. This choice serves as an example that we can only
engage in a critical academic analysis if we understand the different
standpoints that can be taken. While I profoundly challenge students of all
three groups, many let me know that they took home an intensive learning
Innovative Instructional Materials
in 1994, I invented the electronic syllabus, a teaching methodology that
increases class participation and adds structure while allowing courses to be
more dynamic. Investigations have shown that there are profound pedagogical
merits in the application of the electronic syllabus and that it receives
enthusiastic feedback from students (Schneider 1998).
Since 1994, I
developed 51 electronic syllabi for the World Wide Web. In the spirit of the
early Internet, this method of Internet-based teaching was widely copied. Today,
the electronic syllabus is a standard teaching tool on the Internet.
Documentation of my development of the electronic syllabus and its effectiveness
is provided in publications, local and regional presentations, by national
(Indiana University) and international (Study Web Award for Academic Excellence)
awards, and most recently in a Wikipedia article.
While I still hold the
claim for the design innovation of the eSyllabus, new forms of electronic
support in the classroom have developed. In this lucrative market, professional
software solutions like BlackBoard© or WebCT© found commercial niches.
been at the forefront in the development of internet-based teaching technology
made me more critical of its use today. Sources of information tend to be used
for their ease of access not for their quality. I address this problem of rather
indiscriminate use of online materials with my students and hereby promote a
critical use of sources. The second problem that in my opinion emerged during an
increased implementation of online instruction is the tendency to use it for
cost-cutting reasons. I see the greatest efficiency in the triangulation of
instruction methodology where I can merge the benefits of face-to-face
interaction with selective online support.
Following the restrictions of the graduate committee in a
small Master's Degree only graduate program, I am currently only allowed to
offer one graduate course per year in order to allow other courses to fill. I
alternate between the seminar in Microsociology and the seminar in Deviance.
Drawing a large proportion of students from outside sociology, I occasionally
have doctoral students in my seminars. This is the reason why I was also
involved in five dissertation committees. Within my department I served on and
chaired ten M.A. examination committees.
My foremost interest in student
direction is to get students involved in a hands-on research process. I hired
and supervised students in funded research projects. As an early adopter of
electronic communication media, I was able to supervise a TTU student in his
overseas data collection for his thesis project.
Another way I get students
started in academic research is through my support of presenting papers at
annual meetings. While this is common for regional conferences, I was especially
delighted presenting a coauthored paper with a student at a national conference.
I provided independent study courses for undergraduate and graduate students to
support their research interest.
Research Publications with
My recent article in Social Psychology Quarterly started in
collaboration with a Ph.D. student at the department of business psychology
(Organisations- und Sozialpsychologie) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,
Germany. At Texas Tech, my graduate seminar in Microsociology always attracted
doctoral business students. This led to recent collaborations with faculty and
students of the Rawls College of Business. We presented at national conferences
and recently published a research monograph at Leadership a high-ranking
management journal. Currently we continue our collaboration on a publication
project in leadership.
It was a pleasure working with Lee Chambers, a
Ph.D. Student of Fine Arts (Musicology) who participated in my Graduate Seminar
in Deviance. I provided extended guidance on his class paper on Alice Cooper
that is now published in the peer reviewed journal of Popular Music and Society.
Currently I am working with Tom Turner, a Ph.D. student in Fine Arts (Visual
Arts) at Texas Tech on visual sociology. In our manuscript we use photographs of
abandoned hotel rooms in Lubbock to sociologically construct categories of hotel
I enjoyed several success stories where I placed students of my
seminars in Ph.D. programs or where students engaged in very admirable
professional careers in government agencies. What I want to share here is just
one long-term observation of one student’s progress. In 2005 I was contacted by
a German graduate student, Tobias Schröder, who was interested in the data
collection that I did as part of my German Diploma thesis. We quickly realized
that his plan of replicating my study would provide a valuable resource for over
time comparison in his dissertation. At that point, the uses of empirical data
in Affect Control Theory (ACT) were barely known in Germany, so I supported his
project by presenting at his department at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
We met the following years in Germany to extent his project into a fruitful
research collaboration. We presented collaboratively at an annual meeting in
Atlanta and continued our collaborative publication efforts. Tobias reciprocated
my visits to present in my seminar in Microsociology at TTU. After receiving his
Ph.D. Tobias received a post-doc position in Canada. In March 2014 Tobias will
start his faculty position at the Fachhochschule Potsdam, Germany. Obtaining a
faculty position in Germany is extremely competitive. We recently met in the
intimate surrounding of a conference of the small group of ACT researchers at
Indiana where two new doctoral students from Germany presented and his former
dissertation chair was a keynote speaker.
In Fall 2007 I was invited to establish and teach the graduate seminar on
Electronic Publishing as a visiting professor at Université de Paris X in Paris,
France. While my other classes benefit from my ongoing research in
microsociology and cross-cultural comparison, this course was largely supported
by my active international engagement as the inventor of the electronic
syllabus, my editorship of an academic electronic journal, and my practical
experience as a publisher. My international experience in teaching was
instrumental for my research/teaching Fulbright Scholarship application for
Thailand where I taught a graduate seminar at Burapha University (2012/2013).
Teaching in Paris and Burapha, Thailand provided a profound multi-cultural
learning experience that highly benefits my students in the US.
Texas Tech University
Current courses are supported on
Fall 2015, Spring, 2016, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017: I
developed three new online courses. This allowed me to teach four semesters
online only while engaging in international research and accompanying my wife on
her Fulbright stay.
SOC 3300 Special Topics in Sociology: Sociology of
SOC 4311 Sociology and the Person
SOC 4327 Juvenile
All syllabi below were originally eSyllabi available online. There are just two
links maintained as examples. All others are now taken offline to
avoid potential conflict with new and emerging regulations.
Spring Semester 2015
SOC 4311 Sociology of the Person, TR 9:30-10:50 AM Holden Hall 038
SOC 4327 Juvenile Delinquency. TR 12:30-1:50 PM Holden Hall 121
Introduction to Sociology TR 14:00-15:20 Holden Hall 075
Fall Semester 2014
Introduction to Sociology - SOC 1301 – 014 CRN 34664 MWF
9:00-9:50 AM Holden Hall 130
Juvenile Delinquency - SOC 4327-001 CRN13369 MWF 11:00-11:50 AM Holden
Seminar in Deviant Behavior - SOC 5325 CRN32635 Thursdays 6:00-8:50PM
Holden Hall 226
S230 Society and the Individual Spring 1997
S325 Criminology Fall 1996.
S320 Deviant Behavior and Social Control Summer II 1996.
S320 Deviant Behavior and Social Control Spring 1996.
S320 Deviant Behavior and Social Control Fall 1995.
S320 Deviant Behavior and Social Control Summer 1995.
Micro-Macro Interdependence and the Simulation of Interaction: A
Disclaimer: The documents linked to other sources on the WWW,
others than http://www.courses.ttu.edu/Schneider/ and its subdirectories, do
not necessarily express the views of Texas Tech University or Dr. Andreas
Schneider. @Copyright 2009 Andreas Schneider