Welcome to the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Sociology

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"The fascination of Sociology lies in the fact that it makes us see in a new light the very world in which we have lived all our lives."  
Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology


Student Learning Outcomes


Dr. Melinda Kane

Dr. Melinda Kane of the Sociology Dept. was interviewed recently by WCTI12 news in New Bern regarding the potential implications of a ruling by the Supreme Court on the issue of same-sex marriage. Dr. Kane has built a career researching patterns in and implications of laws and policies related to the LGBT community. Her work has been published in a variety of sociological journals. See the entire WCTI12 piece here.







Dr. Susan C. Pearce

ECU Sociology professor, Dr. Susan C. Pearce, and Masters of Sociology graduate, Anne Saville, have travelled to Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland this summer for the 2015 conference Mosaics of Change, Revisited:  Creating Cultures in the "New Europe" and Central Asia. Organized by Dr. Pearce and Dr. Eugenia Sojka, the event is sponsored by the Institute of History, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland; Institute of the English Cultures and Literatures, Canadian Studies Centre, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland; and the Department of Sociology, East Carolina University. Their aim is to start new conversations and encourage collaborative efforts through the discussion of such topics as gender, immigration and multiculturalism; economic, political, and religious cultures; collective memory; literature; and new communications media and popular culture.

To learn more, you can visit the Mosaics of Change website.



GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING GUpeedeecropedDSC_0250 copy

ECU Sociology instructor and professional photographer Maria McDonald took her students on a tour of key landmarks on campus this Spring, taking photographs to share with students in India, Russia, and China. McDonald’s Global Understanding: Sociology course is linking with students in these countries, allowing ECU students to share their experiences living in the US and learn how that experience compares with that of students around the globe. The course is part of the Global Understanding curriculum on campus which links ECU students to students in over 30 countries.  McDonald’s students enjoyed the chance to show their global partners the landmarks which they associate with their ECU experience. The photo tour culminated in a rare opportunity to walk onto the ECU stadium field – a treat for these hard-working students who dedicated their efforts to this early morning class!

For more information on the Global Understanding curriculum:  http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/globalinitiatives/course.cfm


Four Sociology faculty, ten graduate students, five undergraduate students and two Sociology alumni from the Sociology Department presented at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society (SSS) in New Orleans, LA. This year’s meeting theme is “Stalled Revolutions? Gender Inequality in the 21st Century.”  Several ECU presenters will participate in paper, roundtable and poster sessions to discuss research focusing on gender inequality, including sexual assault. Others are presenting research on a broad range of topics including social impacts of the digital divide, mysogynoir, the impact of student volunteer work, NC’s environmental movement, and attitudes toward the Confederate flag.  Students’ participation in the meetings is being funded by a combination of Sociology department, student government, and honors society funds.



Yanira Campos, a sophomore Sociology major, has received an NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergrads) summer internship. She will be working on the LAKES project at The University of Wisconsin-Stout. Yanira was selected out of hundreds of applicants from around the country. She will be working with Dr. Nels Paulson, a sociologist, who is "researching farmers' social networks, social capital, and land use practices." This is part of the larger, interdisciplinary project on Environmental Sustainability. You can follow the researcher's work on the LAKES blog website (http://lakes-reu.blogspot.com/).


The ECU Department of Sociology and its Center for Diversity and Inequality Research hosted Dr. Leslie Hossfeld on November 17th, 2014. If you were unable to attend you can find the presentation here.

Dr. Hossfeld is trained in Rural Sociology from North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She has extensive experience examining rural poverty and economic restructuring and has made two presentations to the United States Congress and also to the North Carolina Legislature on job loss and rural economic decline.



Student ratings of teaching play a significant role in career outcomes for higher education instructors. Although instructor gender has been shown to play an important role in influencing student ratings, the extent and nature of that role remains contested. While difficult to separate gender from teaching practices in person, it is possible to disguise an instructor's gender identity online. In this experiment, assistant instructors in an online class each operated under two different gender identities. Students rated the male identity significantly higher than the female identity, regardless of the instructor's actual gender, demonstrating gender bias.  


Adam Driscoll is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He received his Master's degree in Sociology at East Carolina University and his Ph.D. in Sociology at North Carolina State University. His research and teaching focus upon the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture and effective online pedagogy.