What interests you about your field?
I enjoy its diversity and the sheer range of human behaviors and institutions that one can examine and explain as a sociologist. It remains as fascinating a discipline to me now as it did when I took my first undergraduate sociology class nearly 40 years ago.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
Becoming a Meigs professor, receiving an award from one of the sections of the American Sociological Association for my first book, and starting a study-abroad program in South Africa.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
For me, they've also gone hand in hand. My current research project is a direct outgrowth of a class I have been teaching – I often get ideas for research from teaching. And when I'm working on my research, I often think about how I would present the findings to students, which I find to be a good way of forcing myself to make the argument as clear and interesting as possible.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
A set of concepts and ideas for understanding the world around them, whether they are at home, at work or visiting unfamiliar places. I like to think of sociology as a kind of toolkit that we can use to explain human behavior and I hope that my students take some of these tools with them.
Be sure and read the whole thing.