David W. Moller


President's Award for Teaching (1999)
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
School of Liberal Arts
Department of Sociology


Students in David Moller's Sociology of Death and Dying course find agreement with one of Moller's contentions: Death illuminates and transforms life like no other experience. Moller's class was life altering for at least one student who stepped into the challenge of helping her elderly mother recuperate from a massive stroke, despite having to arrange her work and academic schedules. The class made her "zero in on what life is really about--not what I can get from life, but what I can give."

Each semester, students from his death and dying, family, medical sociology or introduction to sociology course identify him as the best professor they've ever had. One of Moller's students--one who has taken every course he has offered--said he encouraged her to "think with her soul, not just with her mind."

Like all good teachers, Moller sees an inextricable link between teaching and research. He models the scholar's role and brings to the classroom the same enthusiasm, insight and creativity that have enabled him to produce notable contributions to scholarship of death and dying in America. Indeed, his research methodologies are applicable not only to his professional explorations of how our culture deals with death and dying, but also to curriculum and program development.

In an end-of-course thank you note, a student commented that while Moller's research and his remarkably popular course on death and dying have earned him the campus nickname "Dr. Death," those who have taken his course and understand his message see him not as Dr. Death, but as Dr. Life.