Meet our Faculty
We live in a fascinating and complex time in history, one of great turmoil but also of great possibility. Sociology—as the scientific study of society—offers the tools to rigorously examine and better understand our social world. The spirit of sociology involves thinking critically, but it also charges us to use sociological knowledge to address the world’s injustices. Learning to use the tools of sociology empowered me when I was a college student beginning to think about my work in the world, and I value the opportunity to share the sociological lens with a new generation of students, scholars, citizens, and activists. There are many definitions of sociology, but one of my favorites comes from sociologist Leif Jensen: “Sociology is the scientific study of the issues I was raised to think were important.” Indeed, sociologists study the world’s most pressing problems to first understand them, but then to apply our sociological knowledge and act.
Teaching sociology (or any subject for that matter), begins with a genuine love for the field. But, I believe in order to be an effective teacher of sociology, one must be genuinely willing to engage in a constant struggle with the concepts, theories, paradigms, and methodological approaches that make up the discipline we know today. In short, teaching sociology, and teaching it well, requires an instructor to be comfortable in the role of student. So, I enthusiastically proclaim that I am a proud learner of sociology, and I am tremendously excited to have the opportunity to create shared learning experiences alongside the wonderful students of Marymount University.
Sociology is the science of making meaningful connections. Teaching Sociology 131 is connecting with others through dialogue and difference. Teaching and learning are interactional processes that create change. Using technology and the networks it engenders, we analyze the changing conditions of the social order, connecting the local to the global and the global to the local. It is hard not to grow in such an environment.
Learning isn’t a spectator sport – you can’t sit on the sidelines and expect to understand the world in which we live! Rather than just reading about the work that sociologists do, I want students to get a feel for doing sociology, to discover the ways our lives are shaped by the social relationships that we often take for granted. At Marymount, our students bring a global perspective to the classroom. Together we strive for intellectual excellence by analyzing issues from diverse perspectives, considering views of people from all walks of life, and giving voice to those who are marginalized. More often than not I learn from my students, getting a new perspective by seeing the world through their eyes. Our conversations spark intellectual curiosity and challenge us to value the insights that come from our differences and thinking beyond those cultural and geographical boundaries that define our comfort zones.
I am passionate about sociology and its ability to explain how structures in the society impact both the individual and the society, how the structures in a society work together and change, and the impact of that social change. We live in a global and changing community, so I am privileged to be part of the process that prepares students for a lifetime of change by inspiring, challenging, and nurturing them to discover their purpose and develop their maximum human potential. This includes equipping them with the tools they need to be critical thinkers who can challenge not only their own knowledge and beliefs, but also those of others, and to critically address the complexities of different social issues facing their local community and the world in general.
Why do I love teaching sociology? The continual engagement with young people as they embark on their journey into adulthood fills me with hope and excitement about the future. I enjoy introducing students to sociology and accompanying them as they acquire a new, more critical perspective on the social world they inhabit and remake on a daily basis. More than anything, I relish the discipline's transformative potential, its ability to present students with alternative modes of thinking- and being-in-the-world, to encourage them to critically examine existing social conditions and imagine how things could be different. I consider myself quite lucky to return year after year to this space where the bright-eyed energy of youth combines with the transformative power of sociology.