A little bit of humor goes a long way

Christina Hoeck

Christina Hoeck

It takes a certain kind of professor to create a classroom atmosphere at a state university that isn’t that of a traditional, boring, hour-long lecture. The professor must possess a certain style, a unique way to give students something to look forward to. Ronald Stover is the epitome of that breed of professor.

After growing up in northeast Georgia, Stover graduated from the University of Georgia in 1975. He described his college experience as “enjoyable” and “far less financially difficult.”

Shortly after his graduation, he landed a teaching job at Clemson University in South Carolina. In 1983, he made the switch to SDSU, which offered a doctorate in sociology. Clemson only offered an undergraduate degree.

So why choose SDSU?

“It is very teaching-oriented and it is very low stress,” Stover says. “There are universities ‘in the real world’ that are high stress places I would not want to work.”

Stover teaches Cultural Anthropology, Courtship and Marriage, Industrial Sociology and Research Methods. He personally penned the books for his Courtship and Marriage and Industrial Sociology courses.

“I wrote the marriage text because I was interested in creating a text I would like to use as the core of my marriage course,” Stover says. “I wrote the Industrial Sociology text because there was no text being published at the time that was consistent with the way I teach the course.”

When it comes time for class registration, many students interested in Cultural Anthropology, Courtship and Marriage and Industrial Sociology request Stover as their professor. Some students even choose to take one of those classes because he is the professor.

“I have taken classes just because he is the teacher,” senior sociology major Jen Dietman says. “I just really like him as a teacher because he makes going to class fun.”

“I purposefully chose to take his Cultural Anthropology class with him this semester, as I took marriage last semester and enjoyed his teaching style,” says Kellie Warner, a junior psychology major.

Aside from the fact that he can thoroughly explain the textbook (an advantage of writing his own books), Stover uses humor and cartoons as comic relief techniques. In addition, he shares his own personal stories and experiences as examples for emphasis.

“I know they like my stories and my cartoons since they comment on them on my teacher evaluations,” Stover says.

SDSU has given him two Teacher of the Year awards. South Dakota Advocacy Services in Brookings awarded him as well. He also received recognition from the SDSU Disabled Student Services, which gave him an outstanding service award.

Walk into any of Dr. Stover’s classes, and you’ll find an audience of students at full attention, enjoying the lectures of this unique professor.

Ronald Stover’s classes in Spring of 2006:

SOC-250-S01 Courtship and Marriage MWF 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

SOC-307-S01 Research Methods I MWF Noon – 12:50 p.m.

SOC-453-S01 Industrial Sociology TTH 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.