Lectures on love and relationships

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Ronald Stover, professor of marriage and intimate relations, industrial sociology and cultural sociology, has been a member of SDSU’s faculty since 1983.

Stover grew up in a small town in Georgia and later attended the University of Georgia where he recieved his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology. He also earned a graduate minor in anthropology.

For five years prior to teaching at SDSU, Stover taught at Clemson University. He also taught for a short time at the University of Georgia.

Stover claims that he is not sure what motivated him to be a professor other than the fact that doors were opened to him. He said the more he taught, the more he found himself enjoying life as a professor.

“One of my favorite parts of teaching is that you occasionally get to surprise the students,” Stover said.

Stover has many theories on what qualities make a good teacher. “The first thing is enthusiasm; it really helps keep students interested in the class,” he said. “The second is to make the subject relevant to students. If you can turn it into something that students can relate to, then they will try harder and pay closer attention.”

“I try to tell stories about my family and my life to keep it entertaining. There are two reasons that humor should always be a major factor in teaching. One is that the students like it; everything is more fun if it’s funny. The other is that it lightens up the topic; some material is just plain dry, and it’s a little more fun if humor can be involved,” Stover said.

“When I took my Courtship and Marriage class from Stover, I thought that he was a very good instructor; the stories he told we great,” said Natasha Jons, a sophomore animal science major. “I really enjoyed taking his class; he was really good at keeping the class interesting.”

An organized lecture is another important part of being a teacher, according to Stover. Rather than bouncing around from topic to topic, it is better to have a lecture that flows smoothly. For Stover, moving around the classroom while lecturing is important to keep the class from getting bored. Stover thinks that teachers can start to seem dull when they stand behind a podium for the entire class.

Stover has published many works on sociology and is the author of two textbooks. The first textbook was about industrial sociology, which he currently uses to teach his industrial sociology class.

When he was almost three-fourths through with his first book, he was given the offer to write another textbook on marriage. Stover then stopped writing his first book and wrote his book on marriage, which took him a total of four years. His book about marriage is no longer used because it is out of date.

Later Stover went back and finished the book on industrial sociology. Both books took a total of eight years to finish.

Stover writes about one article per year. Last year he was involved with a major research project related to genetic sciences. He wrote articles on different consumers’ attitudes toward the topic. The U.S., for example, is very supportive of genetic research, whereas some countries completely outlaw it. Other articles Stover has written are related to teaching.

Stover explained that some of his favorite parts of teaching are his ability to deliver a well-organized class, and he occasionally hears students say that they discuss his course outside of class.

Stover’s least favorite part of teaching is giving exams, because it “can put you in conflict with students.” Another part of teaching that he sometimes does not like is giving term papers. He does, however, believe that term papers are important and will help students later on in their careers. Learning to write well is an important asset that everyone should have, he said.

Overall, Stover said he has enjoyed his time at SDSU. He admits that there have been some challenges, but it has been worth it. “One of the best parts about teaching at SDSU is that in my experience, there seems to be less plagiarism and cheating on work,” Stover said.

#1.882840:508028730.jpg:stoverteaching_SBweb.jpg:Ron Stover speaks to his Courtship and Marriage class on Feb. 8. The class is very popular among freshman and sophomores looking for three elective credits.:Stephen Brua