What social and environmental justice issues do you feel passionate about?
I am concerned about many issues and particularly the global impact of inadequate health care and AIDS. I think the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights is a very important organization.
What areas of research or activism are you currently most engaged with?
I am currently making arrangements to have an Afghan woman (Fahima Vorgetts) speak at SCSU about the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. She has been active in supporting and promoting women’s right and raises money to support schools for girls and to support income generating projects to make women self sustaining.
What presentations, publications, student support activities or community service projects have you focused on in the last couple of years?
I am most hopeful that the grassroots movement creating economic self reliance for women, in particular, will have a global impact on our futures. I think that micro credit and micro financing will result in sustainable economic independence for women and will become a world wide movement. We know that as women become educated and economically self sufficient they become an important source of social change and in addressing social justice issues.
I am most familiar with issues of inadequate health care and health care costs. The movement to provide affordable prescription drug prices is a beginning step in addressing health care reform. I admire people such as Miriam Reibold and the other leaders of the Minnesota Senior Federation who were able to negotiate prescription drug prices with Canadian pharmacies. They are the leaders in a movement which has now become nationwide.
What skills do you teach that empower students to become activists/active global citizens?
Most of my efforts are focused on my teaching and on trying to help students in the program to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for making an impact once they graduate. For example, in the research methods course I am now teaching, students are collaborating with community organizations on small research projects that are in line with action and participatory research principles. Students are also working with community groups on grant writing projects.
I think the critical thinking and research skills that I teach in research methods are very important for enhancing the power of students to provide well grounded social justice changes. I have been incorporating service-learning into my classes. It think this learning strategy helps students to see issues first hand and to feel empowered that they can do something to address these problems, even if only in a small way.
Where did you do your graduate work?
I did my graduate work at the University of Minnesota in Sociology. My research current interests include rural issues, stereotyping of older people, and the evaluation of service-learning.
What classes do you teach? Which of these are available to graduate students?
I teach graduate research methods, Sociology 679. I also teach Sociology of Health and Illness (Sociology 575) which looks at our health care system and that of other countries. I also teach a course on aging as well as statistics. I developed the sociology internship program and work with graduate students in the program who want to complete internships.
Do you have a description of those courses, possibly from a syllabus, that we may add to the website for students to view?
Sociology 679: Advanced Research Methods
1. To understand the role of research in addressing social and diversity issues
2. To explain and practice the steps in social science research process
3. To be introduced to both quantitative and qualitative research methods
4. To practice research methodologies
5. To practice writing research reports
6. To identify ethical issues and ethical behavior related to social research
7. To be able to think critically about and to evaluate social research and sources of information
8. To become introduced to the grant writing process
9. To become introduced to action/participatory research