Dr. Debra Swanson, professor of sociology at Hope College, has been named recipient of the 2008 "John F. Schnabel Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award" by the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA).

She will receive the award on Saturday, March 29, during the NCSA's annual conference, which is being held in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday-Saturday, March 27-29.

The principal criterion for the award, according to the association, is "excellence in some activity enhancing the teaching of Sociology for the NCSA or within the North Central region." Those considered must have been nominated by another member of the organization with additional support from at least two other members.

Swanson has been a member of NCSA for 15 years and has been active in the organization's teaching section. She has made several presentations on teaching during association meetings through the years, and will be the featured keynote speaker during the NCSA's 2009 annual conference in Dearborn.

Swanson joined the Hope faculty in 1989 as a visiting instructor of sociology. Following a one-semester leave she returned as an assistant professor of sociology in the fall of 1994. She was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and full professor in 2006.

She has taught courses including "Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems," "Sociology of Gender," "Race and Ethnic Relations," "Social Movements," "Research Methods," "Data Analysis," "Social Stratification," and "Criminology I" and "Criminology II," in addition to courses in the First-Year and Senior Seminar programs. Among her other service, she is a member of the college's Teaching Enhancement Workshop Committee, which she currently serves as director.

Swanson's scholarship includes articles in numerous professional journals as well as a variety of presented papers and addresses.

She has been conducting research on motherhood with Dr. Deirdre Johnston of the college's communication faculty. Their most recent publications include a research study on work-family balance and a book chapter in "Family Communication," published by Allyn Bacon. In 2003 one of their articles was a finalist for the 2003 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

Swanson graduated from Hope in 1983 with a major in sociology. She completed her master's and doctorate, both in sociology, at Catholic University of America in 1988 and 1995 respectively.

The NCSA seeks to further the development of sociology as a scientific and scholarly discipline. The territory represented by the NCSA includes eastern Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; Michigan; Ohio; western Pennsylvania; West Virginia; and Ontario, Canada.