Sociology Faculty

Faculty members in sociology teach classes, advise majors, and oversee independent student research projects. Each member of the department has a distinct area of specialization, covering topics from race to class to gender, criminology to social movements, local community initiatives to transnational political and economic institutions, and more. Faculty likewise cover a broad range of theoretical and methodological approaches in their own scholarship, reflecting the rich and varied traditions that exist within sociology as a discipline. Thus, students are encouraged to seek out classes and advising from as many department members as possible in order to become well-rounded sociological thinkers.

Cole Professorship

The William I. Cole Chair in Sociology and Anthropology honors the work of William I. Cole (a.k.a. “Billy Ike”) in establishing the field of Sociology (later joined by Anthropology) at Wheaton.  He taught a course entitled “Applied Sociology” in 1912 when Sociology was just a fledgling discipline and encouraged the study of culture and society, which the two departments continue to this day. Thanks to Prof. Cole, Wheaton was one of the first liberal arts colleges to offer sociology.

The William I. Cole Chair is awarded to a tenured member of the Department of Sociology or Anthropology for a five year term in recognition of exceptional scholarly work, excellence in teaching and contributions to the community.  It supports the continued professional development of the honored faculty member.

The current holder of the William I. Cole Chair is Professor John Grady (2010-2015). Prof. Grady received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and joined the Wheaton faculty in 1979. He has taught a range of courses focusing on the sociology of work, medicine, cities, and technology and has also supervised more honors theses than any other sociologist. Prof. Grady has researched and produced a number of documentary films including “Down the Projects”, “Love Stories” and “Water and the Dream of the Engineers.” His has gained an international reputation as a leading visual sociologist and served as the president of the International Visual Studies Association.

Previous recipients

2008-2009  Allen M. Klein
Professor of Sociology-Anthropology,
Northeastern University

2007-2008 Lakshmi Sirinivas,
Assistant Professor of sociology,
University of Massachusetts – Boston

2005-2007 Richard M. Chalfin,
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology,
Temple University and
Senior Scientist at the Center on Media and Child Health at
Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School.

2001-2002 Marylin Halter,
Professor in the Department of History and Institute for the Study of Economic Culture,
Boston University

2000-2001 Richard M. Chalfin,
Professor of Anthropology,
Temple University

1999-2000 James Allen Fox,
Professor at the College of Criminal Justice,
Northeastern University1998-1999 Robert J. S. Ross,
Professor of Sociology,
Clark University

1997-1998 Kath Weston,
Arizona State University
(now Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University)

1995-1996 Phil Brown,
Professor of Sociology,
Brown University

1994-1995 Irving Kenneth Zola,
Professor of Sociology,
Brandeis University

1993-1994 William B.D. Thompson,
former President,
Roxbury Community College