I was elected president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), through a formal vote of the membership, in April 2009, and officially took office on August 2010. My term is for one year. I have several responsibilities and opportunities to advance the organization and I see my role as primarily that of mobilizer.
Better living through scholarship. The society is an interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students interested in the application of critical, scientific, and humanistic perspectives to the study of vital social problems. Its flagship journal Social Problems is ranked among the top five general research journals in sociology .
Long-time member. One of the first papers I gave at a professional conference was at the SSSP meetings in 1988. The paper was entitled “Differential Deviance Definitions: The Case of Alcoholic Women.” But now, 22 year later, I can’t remember anything I said! I have remained involved in the society because of its dedication to applying sociological knowledge in promoting social justice and solving social problems.
Scholarly connections. I’m currently writing a book on service sociology, which, incidentally, is the program theme I have chosen for next year’ss SSSP meetings.
Extra credit. Through my contacts and associations with SSSP members I learn how to approach social issues from different perspectives. What I learn, I then teach my students.
Teaching satisfaction. When students tell me (frequently excitedly) that what they have just learned in class helped them to make a conceptual connection with another class, something they read, a film they saw, or a personal experience they had.
Why Wheaton. One of the most special qualities of Wheaton students is their willingness to be involved in service, civic engagement and activism. They take what they learn in class and endeavor to implement it in action. They are willing to step forward and serve their various communities.