Note from the Chair: Welcome to Iowa Sociology!

Dear friends of Sociology at the University of Iowa,

Greetings on behalf of the Department of Sociology faculty, staff, and students. While we have had to wait a long time for spring flowers and sunshine, we’ve had many exciting developments this year.

First, we have been delighted to welcome several new members of the department this year. You can read about the work of James Wo, our newest faculty member, in this issue of the newsletter. We have also been fortunate to have three wonderful staff members join the department. In the main office, Liz Skogerboe is our new Administrative Services Coordinator, and Jon Burke is our new Administrative Services Specialist. Joe Davis has joined us as our undergraduate Academic Advisor.

Professor Jennifer Glanville
Professor and Chair

At the undergraduate level, our new major in Criminology, Law, and Justice, which we launched in the fall of 2016, has continued to grow. We now have over 450 majors in Sociology and Criminology, Law, and Justice combined. The department has continued to expand our internship and research opportunities. In this issue, you can read about Carolyn Hoemann’s research on healthcare in Cambodia and England. We also had several students participate in the Iowa Sociology Association meeting this spring, which you can read more about in this issue.

Considering the commitment of our faculty and graduate students to excellence in teaching, it is no surprise that multiple department members were honored with competitive teaching awards this year. Associate Professor Freda Lynn was awarded a Collegiate Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Assistant Professor Sarah Harkness received the James N. Murray Award for excellence in teaching. And Nicole Oehmen received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Council on Teaching.

Our faculty have also continued to be extremely productive this year, publishing numerous articles in top journals and books at prestigious presses and landing substantial external funding for their research. Professor Michael’s Sauder’s recent book, Engines of Anxiety: Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability, received the Midwest Sociology Society’s Distinguished Book Award and Honorable Mention for the Distinguished Book Award for the Sociology of Law section of the American Sociological Association. Professor Karen Heimer was inducted as the President of the American Society of Criminology, which you can read more about in this issue. Professor Heimer was also a recipient of the 2018 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, which is one of the highest honors for UI faculty and recognizes outstanding accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service. Our faculty have many important and interesting projects underway. As one example, you can read about Assistant Professor Jessica Welburn Paige’s current work on affordable housing in this issue. We invite you to visit our webpage and check out the news section, as well as the faculty profiles, to read about some of our other latest scholarly work and public engagement ( 

Our graduate program continues to thrive. Our students are actively publishing and presenting at national and regional conferences, and several have been awarded fellowships. Recent alumni have accepted a variety of exciting tenure-track, postdoctoral fellow, and research scientist positions. Please see our webpage for more information about recent graduate student and alumni accomplishments.

Speaking of alumni, we were delighted to welcome Phyllis Rippey (PhD 2006, currently Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa), back to campus as this year’s speaker for the Robert and Clarissa Rees Lecture Series. This annual presentation by an undergraduate or graduate student alumnus is funded through the generous support of alumna, Marian Rees. In her talk, Professor Rippey outlined her career of scholarship on the sociological consequences of breastfeeding, including the social and economic implications for mothers and her more recent work that challenges widespread assumptions about the consequences of formula feeding for infant health. She also reflected on how her graduate training at Iowa equipped her to pursue this fascinating line of research and to persevere in the face of challenges.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous donations to the Department of Sociology. These gifts allow us to enhance our teaching and research missions in valuable ways, including sponsoring the activities of our Sociology and Criminology undergraduate honor societies and helping us bring visiting scholars to campus to share their work and meet with our students. We greatly appreciate all continued and new support!

Please feel free to drop us a line. We are always happy to hear from you.

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Glanville, Professor and Chair

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