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I joined the Sociology Department in 2007 after teaching for several years in SUNY Potsdam's Employment Relations program. I teach a range of courses, including Rich and Poor in America, Individual and Society, and Introduction to Sociology. I especially enjoy reading about and discussing major ideas, and teach our department's "theory" course. As a graduate student at Rutgers, I was inspired by my study of sociological theory under Peter L. Berger and other prominent sociologists. My earliest publications examined the sociology of Erving Goffman, who I had the brief opportunity to study with at the University of Pennsylvania.
More recently, my primary area of specialization has been the world of work and labor movements. Thus I also teach Work and Complex Organizations. My research has focused on the growth of "temp" work and other forms of "non-standard" employment, and the troubles they create for working families. Here in Potsdam, I've developed an interest in the situation of working people in the North Country. In 2004 several students and I produced a study of "The Welfare-to-Work Transition in Northern New York."
I also have a great deal of experience with community and labor organizations. Preceding the completion of my doctoral dissertation, I worked as a community organizer in poor urban neighborhoods. During this period I helped build legal and medical benefits for low-wage workers, and dealt with virtually every problem affecting poor families, including unemployment, workplace injuries, and access to housing and social services. Having discovered through this field work the trend to replace regular employees with disposable workers, I became involved in advocacy for temporary agency workers, which led to my doctoral research. I continue to work with community groups serving low-income workers, advising on organization development, strategy and tactics, and legal issues. To say the least, this field experience has greatly enhanced my understanding of social processes in the "real world."