Mission

The child of public school teachers, I am committed to the educational mission of my public university. I value making students feel respected and heard, fostering critical reading and thinking, encouraging students’ connectedness to their peers, and building competencies that will be useful for students’ future lives and workplaces.

Becoming a sociologist involves collecting, engaging with, and reporting on data from our social world. In all of my classes, students engage in original sociological research, read the sociological research literature, and learn to critically analyze information presented by others.

I believe in the importance of involving interested students in my sociological research as much as possible and have collaborated with undergraduate and graduate researchers throughout my career. Hands-on training in the research process fosters skills that can be used in many different settings in students’ future lives. Mentoring young people who are making decisions about their futures is an important part of my job, and I have also helped to create formal professional socialization and teacher training programs for junior scholars at my university.


Recent Courses

SOCY 3201. Sociological Research Methods

Introduces students to the logics and methods of sociological research. This requirement for majors teaches ways to answer sociological questions by collecting and analyzing different types of data. Students are trained in research ethics and learn how to collect their own data and conduct original sociological research. Collection and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data are included.

SOCY 3301. Survey Methods

Teaches quantitative research methods and, particularly, methods of survey research. Topics include sampling, interviewing, schedule construction, data analysis, computer methods, index construction, and statistical analysis. Students participate in a survey project, design, collect data, and prepare a research paper on the basis of collected data.

SOCY 4052. Social Inequalities in Health

This senior-level class investigates inequalities in health in their social context. Includes the sociology of health behavior; links between health status and social statuses including gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status; fundamental causes and other explanations for social disparities in health; environment and health; health insurance disparities; the physician-patient interaction and its consequences.

Graduate Seminars

SOCY 6016. Families and Society

This seminar is a graduate-level introduction to the interdisciplinary study of families, with a particular focus on sociological contributions to the area. We will read and engage with research on families of many different types and stages. We will also consider how family-related issues intersect with socioeconomic status, gender, race, and age. While we will draw some comparisons to other places and times, the main focus of the course is on the contemporary United States context. This class focuses on multiple levels of analysis, from individuals to interpersonal interactions to nations. You will spend a substantial amount of time developing your own specific research interests in this field, culminating in a presentation of the relevant literature, a final paper, and a conference-style presentation of your work.

SOCY 7002. Social Disparities in Health

This graduate-level class investigates disparities in health in their social context. Includes the sociology of health behavior; links between health status and social statuses including gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status; fundamental causes and other explanations for social disparities in health; environment and health; health insurance disparities; the physician-patient interaction and its consequences.