Undergraduate Courses

Families and Inequality

What do we mean when we say family? How and why are families changing, and what do these changes mean for individuals and society more broadly? Students will engage sociological perspectives on how to address inequalities within families, such as intimate partner violence, and inequalities between different types of families, such as between single mother families and their heterosexual married counterparts. Students will come to understand how families are embedded within and constitutive of other social institutions and structures of inequality. Students will develop their sociological imaginations and critically evaluate scientific and popular claims about the family and families in the past, present, and future.

Sociology of the Transition to Adulthood: First Year Seminar

Young people in the U.S. today experience the transition to adulthood like no other generation before them. They are taking longer than ever before to finish school, leave home, establish careers, get married, and have children, if they do so at all. Correspondingly, their parents and popular media outlets have labeled young people today, as we tend to label each successive generation, entitled and selfish slackers who are stuck between adolescence and adulthood. At the same time, others have suggested that there are broad benefits of a slower transition to adulthood. This First Year Seminar will explore what it means to transition to adulthood and how such a transition-- in meaning and experience-- is different today than in the past. Using a sociological lens, we will interrogate stereotypes about young people today and the ways in which their transition to adulthood is similar to and different from that of generations past.  Students will also come to understand how the transition to adulthood is affected by larger economic, demographic, and social processes and will discuss how best to help young people today make a successful transition to adulthood. 

Social Research Methods

This course is about examining the world around us with scientific rigor.  It is a call to re-evaluate our everyday methods of gathering information and drawing conclusions.  It is also an invitation to begin using theory, causal modeling, and carefully collected data to arrive at more complete and better-supported explanations of events and social phenomena.  In essence, students will learn about and practice doing sociology. The skills students will develop will provide them with the foundations necessary to become a professional researcher. More generally, however, these skills will prepare students to be better consumers of research, better gatherers of evidence, and better debaters. Such preparation should be marketable to future employers both in and outside of academia.

Juvenile Justice

This course is organized around several themes: how delinquency is defined and measured; the sociological factors that put a child at risk for becoming a part of the juvenile justice system; the roles of gender, race, and class, as well as culture, families, schools, and communities, in predicting delinquency; and, responses to juvenile delinquency via the juvenile court process, youth corrections in the community, and out of home juvenile placements. Students will also examine how contact with the juvenile justice system may lead to or prevent future contact with the criminal justice system in adulthood. Because this class is a research-intensive course, we will also spend time discussing how scholars research issues central to the study of juvenile justice, and students will engage in their own applied research project. Students can choose to earn a digital badge in Mentored Research through the project completed in this course.

Graduate Courses

Social Research Methods

Developing clear, concise, and thorough research designs is one of the most exciting, and challenging, aspects of being a sociologist. In this course, we will survey a number of research methodologies and techniques, paying close attention to their strengths and weaknesses. We will examine issues of design, sampling, and measurement as well as writing and proposal development. Although students may not use every methodological strategy discussed, it is important that graduate training exposes students to the varied ways sociologists research social life. By the end of this course students will have a working familiarity with different types of research designs and perspectives and hands-on experience developing a research proposal. 

Families and Crime

This seminar explores the theoretical and empirical links between families and crime. Of central interest is how families are implicated in the etiology of crime, the family as a context for crime, and the role of family in promoting desistance from crime. In addition, we will explore how institutional responses to crime impact the formation, stability, and well-being of families.

Multilevel Modeling

This is a special topics seminar that introduces hierarchical linear and nonlinear regression models (multilevel models, or MLMs). The course begins with a review of the logic, structure, and basic estimation principles of multilevel modeling before moving into applications of two-level linear models. We then consider generalizations to three-level models and to non-linear hierarchical models (e.g. discrete outcomes). The course emphasizes the application of these models using multiple datasets and multiple analytic programs, including Stata, HLM, and MPlus.  I have three main objectives for this course: (1) To develop students' understanding of when and why MLMs are appropriate; (2) To enable students to apply, interpret, and diagnose MLMs relevant to their own research interests; and (3) To familiarize students with multiple software tools for the analysis of MLMs.

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Department of Sociology

University at Buffalo

463 Park Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260


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