Dear Friends,
The Sociology Department is off to an exciting start this academic year. We continue to grow as we have welcomed two new fantastic tenure-track faculty members – Professor Margaret Frye and Professor Pablo Gastón-- into the department. Professors Frye and Gastón will join our existing faculty who remain hard at work on an array of fascinating research projects about important social issues that are affecting lives both here in Michigan and around the globe. From poverty in the American suburbs to Title IX compliance in Universities to migrants seeking religious asylum to education inequality in the US to Uganda, and much more, our faculty are working to understand the pressing issues that face our world.

Sociology has also fully launched several new initiatives in our growing and ever more vibrant undergraduate program which now offers two minors -- one in Law, Justice, and Social Change and the other in Sociology of Health and Medicine. We have also added new courses and reimagined some old favorites like Project Community, our community-engaged learning course.

Finally, the department has developed a new program for first-generation college students. Sociology Opportunities for Undergraduate Leaders (SOUL) is the first department-level leadership program for first-generation college students at the University of Michigan.  It recognizes that first-generation college students at the University of Michigan face unusual social, academic, and financial challenges, but that these same students possess a unique set of capabilities: curiosity, conscientiousness, persistence, risk-taking, and grit. These are the characteristics of our future leaders. SOUL cultivates these leaders by providing support to students each year through mentoring, research experience, leadership training through the Barger Leadership Institute, and a capstone experience. This year we hired Matthew Sullivan, a UM Sociology PhD, to be the inaugural director of the program and doubled the size of the cohort. Our first two cohorts in the pilot program of SOUL enthusiastically endorsed the many ways it has contributed to their academic success and well-being, so we are excited for this year’s program expansion.

We are always inspired when we hear from our students, alum, and readers like you, both near and far across the globe, who have connections to the Sociology. Please drop us a note if you have news to share about your path or interesting ideas we might be interested in. I am always happy to hear from the large, diverse group of friends connected to our department.

Best wishes,

Karin A. Martin,

Sociology Chair & Professor of Sociology