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IU Northwest Professor Charles Gallmeier chosen as inaugural Hass Birky Lecturer for October FACET conference

Sociology chair to deliver keynote address named for late IU Northwest English professor and associate vice chancellor Robin Hass Birky

Indiana University Northwest Professor of Sociology Charles Gallmeier, Ph.D., has been selected as the inaugural Hass Birky Lecturer for this October’s Associate Faculty and Lecturers’ Conference sponsored by IU’s Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET). The keynote address was named for late IU Northwest English professor and academic affairs associate vice chancellor Robin Hass Birky, Ph.D., who died on Aug. 29, 2008, following a catastrophic automobile accident that occurred near her Valparaiso home.

Gallmeier, who is chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at IU Northwest, will deliver the lecture to approximately 120 associate faculty and lecturers from the eight IU campuses during the event, which will be held in Indianapolis on Oct. 16 – 17. FACET is an organization that consists of approximately 500 award-winning IU faculty. Only a few outstanding new members are selected each year from the nearly 5,000 faculty members in the IU system.

“I am humbled and honored to have been asked to deliver the inaugural Hass Birky Lecture during the annual FACET Associate Faculty and Lecturer’s Conference in October,” Gallmeier said. “Robin was a very dear and close friend of mine, and I think of her often.”

Herself a member of FACET, Hass Birky was dedicated to the tenets of outstanding teaching and learning practice. Her contributions to education are recognized throughout Indiana University, and the Lectureship honors her dedication, spirit and commitment. Hass Birky was especially sensitive to and aware of the needs and interests of associate faculty; she was the 2007 keynote speaker for the FACET Associate Faculty and Lecturers’ Conference.

Following Hass Birky’s death in 2008, IU Northwest dedicated the university’s women’s center, located in the Savannah Center, as the Robin R. Hass Birky Memorial Women’s Center. The Dr. Robin R. Hass Birky Scholarship was also established in her memory to support female students who major in the humanities.

Inducted into FACET in 1999, Gallmeier is also an award-winning teacher dedicated to his discipline, his scholarship and his students. He has been a staunch supporter of quality teaching and commitment by faculty across the ranks. His zeal typifies the level of engagement that was demonstrated by Hass Birky, making Gallmeier an ideal and fitting choice to deliver the inaugural lecture named in her memory.

A student once told Gallmeier that she would never miss his class because it was like "coming to a new movie every day." Most students who take a class with Gallmeier will express that he is one of their favorite instructors, and will commend him for the new knowledge he instills within them.

“During my address, I plan on inviting the audience into my introductory sociology class and sharing with them some pedagogical methods I employ to introduce ‘sociological virgins’ to the power of the ‘sociological imagination.’ These techniques are often provocative, risky, and a bit unorthodox, to say the least,” Gallmeier explained. “However, they seem to have worked pretty well for me over the years. One of my goals in giving this lecture is to encourage my colleagues to take a chance by exploring more innovative ways to introduce their own ‘virgins’ to their respective disciplines.

“The other goal is simply to do the kind of job that I know would have made my friend, Robin, very proud of me,” he added.

Gallmeier’s passion for teaching has led to numerous teaching awards, including: the Distinguished Teaching Award, California State University Long Beach, 1987; the IU Northwest Founders Day Teaching Award, 1997; the TERA Award, 1997, 1998, 2000; the IU President's Award for Teaching Excellence, 2001; the North Central Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Teaching Award, 2003; the IU Northwest Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Service Activity, 2004-2005; the Board of Trustees Teaching Award, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007; and the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinction in Service, 2007.

For more information about FACET and the Associate Faculty and Lecturers’ Conference, please visit the FACET website at, or contact the FACET office at IUPUI, University Library 1180D, or Kimberly Olivares, FACET Administrative Manager, at (317) 274-0086; or e-mail or



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

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File photo
Late IU Northwest English professor and associate vice chancellor Robin R. Hass Birky.

File Photo
IU Northwest Professor of Sociology Charles Gallmeier, Ph.D.
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