Department of Sociology

  • Dr. Mike Wilson and Professor Becky Trigg Endowed Award

    Friends, family, colleagues, and admirers of Dr. Michele “Mike” Wilson and Professor Becky Trigg have made generous gifts to create an endowed award in the Department of Sociology.

    Friends, family, colleagues, and admirers of Dr. Michele “Mike” Wilson and Professor Becky Trigg have made generous gifts to create an endowed award in the Department of Sociology. The scholarship will be used to provide financial assistance to students in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. The endowment honors Dr. Mike Wilson and commemorates Professor Becky Trigg for their dedication and commitment to improve the lives of women.

    Dr. Wilson was born in Puerto Rico in 1942 and earned her doctoral degree from the University of Connecticut in 1978. Ms. Trigg was born in Hueytown, Alabama in 1955, and received her master’s degree from The University of Alabama in 1983. Both women were members of the Southern Sociological Society and were dedicated and committed in working toward women's equality.

    Dr. Wilson and Professor Trigg have received various honors and awards throughout their careers including the 2006 President’s Diversity Award from the UAB Women’s Studies Program, given to Dr. Wilson, and the 2007 IMPACT award from Sociology students honoring her for her teaching and mentoring activities, given to Professor Trigg.

    Trigg passed away November 2, 2010, and is remembered for the courage of her convictions and her integrity, empathy, fairness, and motivation of others to be their best. This scholarship memorializes her contributions and will support the Women’s and Gender Studies Program as it continues to mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and inspire students to apply their knowledge to improve the lives of others.

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  • New book examines what happens when modern families meet old age

    Sociologist Patricia Drentea considers the ramifications of social patterns in the United States and shares six intriguing trends that will shape the next 50 years.

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  • Educated children help women live longer, study says

    The socioeconomic resources of parents and adult children are related to women’s mortality risk in old age.

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  • Online master’s in sociology program receives top ranking by bestcolleges.com

    The fully online program has been ranked No. 1 for academic quality and affordability.

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  • Record number of UAB students, alumni selected for prestigious Fulbright Student Program

    Six students will travel abroad to study, teach or conduct research for the 2018-2019 academic year.

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  • Department recognizes honors award recipients

    The Department of Sociology recognizes our 2018 honors award recipients.

    The Department of Sociology recognizes the 2018 honors award recipients. They are:

    • Outstanding Graduate Recipient: Soumya Niranjan
    • Outstanding Online MA Graduate Recipient: Stacey Benson
    • The William Cockerham Graduate Paper Award: Fabrice Julien
    • Outstanding Undergraduate Recipient: Madison Allen
    • The Annie P. and Ferris S. Ritchey, Sr. Endowed Scholarship Honor Recipient (2017-2018): Alex Odom
    • 2017-2018 Honor Students: Sharlese Gray and Nadia Hollings

    You can see more pictures of these talented students on the department's Facebook page.

    Nadia Hollings. Madison Allen. Alex Odom.

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  • The search for solutions in America's opioid crisis

    Headlines and statistics paint a grim picture of opioid abuse. But there is hope, says Anna Alford, a social work major who speaks openly about her journey of recovery to encourage others. Meet her and other UAB faculty, staff and students exploring the complex crisis and finding answers that could save lives.

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  • Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski featured in publication of American Academy for HIV Medicine

    Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski has written the cover story in the December issue of HIV Specialist.

    Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology, has written the cover story in the December issue of HIV Specialist, a publication of the American Academy for HIV Medicine. Dr. Szaflarski, who is also a member of the UAB Center for AIDS Research, studies religion and HIV/AIDS, Health Inequalities, and Mental and Behavioral Health, among other topics.

    The American Academy of HIV Medicine is a professional organization that supports the HIV practitioner and promotes accessible, quality care for all Americans living with HIV disease. You can read Dr. Szaflarski’s article, “Spirituality, Religion and HIV,” online (pdf)

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  • Graduate students win department paper award

    Sociology graduate students Jalal Uddin and Haley Kendrick have been awarded best graduate student paper and honorable mention.

    Jalal Uddin.Jalal Uddin has been awarded the first ever William Cockerham Award for Best Graduate Student Paper in Medical Sociology for his article “Couple’s Participation in Household Decision-Making, Marital Power, and their Influence on Contraceptive Use: Empirical Evidence from South Asia.”

    Haley Kendrick has been awarded honorable mention for her article “Are Religion and Spirituality Barriers or Facilitators to Treatment for HIV: A Systematic Review of the Literature,” published in 2016 in AIDS Care.

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  • UAB to host 2017 peace and justice studies conference

    The 2017 Peace and Justice Studies Association conference will bring activists, scholars and educators from around the world to UAB.

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  • New Degrees, New Department Names

    At recent Board of Trustees meetings, two new degrees and two new department names were approved.

    The College now offers two new degrees to undergraduate and graduate students, both of which were approved at recent Board of Trustees meetings.

    The new Bachelor of Science in Medical Sociology will be a part of the slate of degrees currently offered by the Department of Sociology, including the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (Social Psychology concentration), the Master of Arts in Applied Sociology, and the Doctorate in Medical Sociology.

    The new Master of Arts in Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights is a new graduate degree in the Department of Anthropology. The program focuses on peace as behavioral process among individuals, families, groups, communities, cultures and nations. The new degree complements the educational and outreach activities of the recently established UAB Institute for Human Rights.

    Also approved at recent Board of Trustees meetings are the new names for two departments: Criminal Justice (formerly Justice Sciences) and Computer Science (formerly Computer and Information Sciences).

    For more information on our programs and departments, visit uab.edu/cas.

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  • Nine Departments Welcome New Faculty Members

    This fall, new faculty members join the Department of Communication Studies, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Criminal Justice, the Department of English, the Department of Music, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Social Work, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Theatre.

    Communication Studies

    Computer Science

    Criminal Justice

    English

    Music

    Philosophy

    Social Work

    Sociology

    Theatre

    • Dr. Roy Lightner, Assistant Professor

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  • New Chairs, New Faculty Join the College

    This fall, we welcomed several new faculty members, a new chair for the Department of Sociology, and three interim chairs. We are proud to have all of them in leadership and academic positions and are excited to see what they accomplish at UAB.

    This fall, we welcomed several new faculty members, a new chair for the Department of Sociology, and three interim chairs. We are proud to have all of them in leadership and academic positions and are excited to see what they accomplish at UAB.

    Verna Keith Named Chair of Sociology

    Dr. Verna Keith will begin her new position as chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Sociology on January 1, 2018. Dr. Keith comes to UAB from the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, where she has been a professor and director of the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute (RESI). She received her B.S. in sociology in 1974 from the State College of Arkansas, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Kentucky in 1979 and 1982.

    Dr. Keith has held an affiliated faculty position in the School of Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and was associate head of the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M. Prior to that, she was professor in the Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Population Health at Florida State University; chair of the Department of Sociology at Arizona State University, and a research fellow in the Institute of Gerontology and in the School of Public Health, both at the University of Michigan.

    Dr. Keith’s research interests include the social demography of health, particularly gender, race, and class disparities. In the interim, the department will be led by associate professor Dr. Patricia Drentea.

    Jessica Dallow Named Interim Chair of Art and Art History

    Dr. Jessica Dallow, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History, has been named interim chair of the department for a two-year period.

    Dr. Dallow received her B.A. in art history and criticism from the University of California, San Diego and then her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She joined the UAB Department of Art and Art History faculty as an assistant professor in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. She has served as associate chair from 2007-2011 and again in 2015. She was also acting chair of the department in 2012, and directed the master’s program in art history from 2013-2015.

    Dr. Dallow’s specializations are Modern and Contemporary American Art, African American Art, Animals in Art, and Human-Animal Relations. She teaches contemporary art history, modern architecture, art criticism and theory, race and representation, and American art to 1900, among other courses. In recent years, she has worked closely with her students to develop a digital archive documenting the history of Birmingham artists and arts workers.

    Dr. Sylvie Mrug Named Interim Chair of Psychology

    Dr. Sylvie Mrug, professor in the Department of Psychology, has been named interim chair of the department.

    Dr. Mrug has been at UAB since 2004, when she began a year-long internship in Child Clinical/Pediatric Psychology. Following that internship, she was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. She was named associate professor in 2010 and full professor in 2015. In addition, she serves as a center scientist in the Center for the Study of Community Health in the School of Public Health, a position she has held since 2008. She’s also affiliated with the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), the UAB Center for Educational Accountability and the UAB Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center.

    Dr. Mrug is a native of the Czech Republic and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Charles University in Prague. She received additional master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology and Applied Statistics at Purdue University, before completing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Purdue in 2005.

    Dr. Mrug’s work focuses on behavioral and emotional problems in adolescents and how young people’s exposure to violence and their relationship to their peers can influence the development of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and anti-social behavior.

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  • UAB students propose innovative solutions to global issues at Clinton Global Initiative University

    Twenty-seven students will represent UAB at the Clinton Global Initiative University from Oct. 13-15 at Northeastern University.

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  • Meet UAB’s 2017 Solar Decathlon team

    Meet the team of UAB students working to build a house completely powered by solar energy for the 2017 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition.

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  • Verna Keith named new chair of the Department of Sociology

    Dr. Verna Keith has been named the new chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Sociology.

    I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Verna Keith as our new chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Sociology. She will begin her new position with us on January 1. Dr. Keith comes to UAB from the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, where she has been a professor and director of the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute (RESI). She received her B.S. in sociology in 1974 from the State College of Arkansas, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Kentucky in 1979 and 1982, respectively.

    Dr. Keith has held numerous academic positions, including an affiliated faculty position in the School of Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and an associate head of the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M (2011-2013). Prior to that, she was professor in the Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Population Health at Florida State University (2006-2010); chair of the Department of Sociology at Arizona State University (2000-2004), where she began as an assistant professor in 1990; a research fellow in the Institute of Gerontology (1989-1990) and in the School of Public Health (1989-1990), both at the University of Michigan.

    Dr. Keith’s research interests include the social demography of health, particularly gender, race, and class disparities. She has been able to pursue her work both within the Department of Sociology, where she taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses on medical sociology and health disparities, as well as within the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race and ethnicity in communities. In both roles, Dr. Keith worked with faculty members and students across the university.

    Dr. Keith is also widely published as an editor of and first author on several books and journal articles, with two articles already published this year and three more in press. She has been the PI or co-investigator on several large grants funded by the NSF, the NIH, and the National Institute on Aging. She has presented at conferences across the U.S. and abroad on racial discrimination, health disparities, mental health, women’s health, and social resiliency. She’s also a popular teacher and respected mentor to her students.

    Dr. Keith is a member of several professional organizations and editorial boards and has been active in service at her previous institutions. She has been honored by Texas A&M and Arizona State University for her teaching and service to students and has been a Minority Fellowship Recipient of the American Sociological Association and a Haggin Fellowship Recipient from the University Kentucky. Dr. Keith’s broad teaching and administrative experience, as well as her research focus, make her an excellent fit for the Department of Sociology and for UAB. Please join me in welcoming her to the College of Arts and Sciences community.

    Robert Palazzo, Dean

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  • UAB launches new degree in medical sociology

    The new program will begin enrolling in fall 2017.

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  • Sociology Alumni Co-Author Book on Social and Behavioral Science

    Social and Behavioral Science for Health Professionals, written by Department of Sociology alumni Brian P. Hinote and Jason Adam Wasserman, has been published by Rowman & Littlefield. The book examines various social and behavioral factors that affect health and illness, with a particular focus on how these phenomena inform clinical practice. You can read more about the book on the publisher's website.

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  • UAB, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute host panel discussion in wake of divisive election

    UAB and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute hosted a panel discussion Tuesday night in a lecture hall full of students, faculty and Birmingham residents to talk about civil discourse after a heated election season.

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  • Social Skills

    Here in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Sociology is focused on providing our undergraduate and graduate students with the skills they need in their careers as well as in graduate and professional schools.
    By Chris Biga

    The “Mythbusters” story illustrates the fact that, as consistently reported by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers seek college graduates who can work in teams with individuals from diverse backgrounds, solve complex problems, think critically about their work environment, and communicate verbally, as well as in writing. Graduate schools are looking for the same skills, too. In 2015, the American Association of Medical Colleges, the association behind the MCAT, added a section on the psychological and social foundations of behavior. The fact is that employers and professional schools are actively seeking skills that are at the core of a social science and liberal arts education. 

    Chris BigaHere in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Sociology is focused on providing our undergraduate and graduate students with the skills they need in their careers as well as in graduate and professional schools. Our department is known for teaching exciting and dynamic courses, such as Sociology of Terrorism (315), Sociology of Hip Hop (350), Popular Culture (316), and Drugs and Society (383), but we are known nationally for our teaching and research programs in Medical Sociology, the only program of its kind in the U.S. 

    Launched in the mid-nineties, our Medical Sociology Ph.D. program now has more than 50 alumni, many of whom have gone on great success in both the private and public/academic sector, including teaching positions at prestigious universities, publication of seminal texts in the field, and leadership positions in healthcare organizations across the country. According to the American Sociological Association, medical sociology offers “an analytic framework for understanding the social contexts of health, illness, and health care,” a critical skill, as access to and coverage of health care remain major societal issues.

    Our newest opportunity is our Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Sociology, which will begin in Fall 2017. With this degree, students will be prepared for careers in medical fields, focusing on societal and community dynamics, problems, issues and challenges. They will also be well prepared for placement in prestigious and rigorous graduate programs in the fields of medical sociology, medicine, nursing, public health, and other health professional graduate/professional programs, including our own Medical Sociology Ph.D. program.

    As you can see in so many of the stories in this issue, people across the College are working hard to support UAB’s mission to “discover, teach, and apply knowledge for the intellectual, cultural, and social and economic benefit of Birmingham, the state, and beyond.” In the Department of Sociology, our Medical Sociology degrees will continue to train students to apply the sociological imagination, critical thinking skills, and social science research to a rewarding careers and responsible citizenship.

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