Sociology News & Events

Dr. Lawrence Eppard presented Sociology's 2017 Outstanding Graduate Award to Marcus Murrell during Concord University's 2017 Annual Honors Banquet. Congratulations Marcus!

New for 2017, the Sociology Program is pleased to offer an Emphasis in Criminology (BA) degree. It is perfect for students seeking careers in criminology or criminal justice, while offering a broad liberal arts education that encourages them to think critically about crime and justice issues and prepares them for careers in the criminal justice systems or preparation for a graduate degree program. 

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University of Nottingham inequality scholar Richard Wilkinson gave a talk titled, "Is Inequality Killing Us?" on Thursday, November 10, 2016 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The live video-conference lecture, sponsored by the Sociology Program and the Division of Social Sciences, was organized by Dr. Lawrence Eppard.

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On September 30th, 2016, Sociology Instructor Lori Pace and 20 Sociology students took a day trip to Greensboro, NC. They visited The International Civil Rights Museum, Greensboro Historical Museum, the downtown area, and Piedmont Triad Farmers Market.

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During Dr. Tracy Luff's Social Inequality & the Media course on Septemeber 27, 2016, Saburo and Marion Masada spoke about their experiences in U.S. internment camps during World War II. The Masada, who along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II and imprisoned in American internment camps across the country. The Masada were the speakers at Concord’s annual Constitution Day where they gave a presentation titled, “When Our Constitution Became a Scrap of Paper.” The Masada's visit was hosted by Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society and funded in part by Concord's Department of Social Work.

For Fall 2016, the Sociology Program is offering a new Professional Issues in Sociology class. The 1 credit hour course is intended for junior Sociology majors and is designed to help them clarify career goals and develop a plan for either finding a job or applying to graduate school. Topics covered include self-assessment, resume writing, job search, interview skills, professional communication, picking a graduate school and the application process, and taking the GRE. All faculty in the Sociology Program will contribute to the course. The course aligns with Concord University's emphasis on career-focused liberal arts education.

On June 15, 2016, Sociology Instructor Lori Pace and students attended the WV Center for Justice Quarterly Meeting in Charleston at the WV State Police Academy. They learned about the innovative "Handle With Care" program which integrates a team approach to children experiencing trauma.

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Dr. Alecea Standlee presented Sociology's 2016 Outstanding Graduate Award to Cory Haines during the Concord University's 2016 Annual Honors Banquet. Haines graduated Cum Laude with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Sociology and Psychology. Haines and fellow 2016 CU Sociology graduate Jonathan Lloyd are attending graduate school in Sociology at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Alecea Standlee had an article accepted for publication in the Researching Kids and Teens: Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations book series. Her chapter, “Digital Ethnography and Youth Culture: Methodological Techniques and Ethical Dilemmas,” will be released early 2017 in Vol. 22, Sociological Studies of Children and Youth.

The preliminary edition of Dr. Lawrence Eppard's textbook, Institutionalized Inequality, was released in Fall 2016 through Cognella, Inc. The 1st edition will be release in Spring 2017. 

Dr. Lawrence Eppard is co-authoring a book with Noam Chomsky and Mark Robert Rank titled, American Individualism. The book examines poverty and inequality in America from an economic, political, and cultural perspective and is due out in late 2017/early 2018 from Lehigh University Press.

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Students from Dr. Tracy Luff's SOC 450 Seminar in Sociology presented their research during Concord University's 9th Annual Undergraduate Research Day on April 14, 2016. The students research included body image, campus safety, racial inequality, pornography, social media, mental illness, fictional characters, and social welfare. Sociology major and McNair Scholar Cory Haines also presented his research, "Race, Gender, and Sexuality Representation in Contemporary Video Games."

Dr. Lawrence Eppard is co-authoring a book with Mark Robert Rank titled, Poverty as a Societal Failing. It is due out in 2018 from Oxford University Press. 

Dr. Lawrence Eppard is currently developing a book titled, Race and the American Consciousness, with Lehigh University Press.

Dr. Alecea Standlee’s article “Technology and Making-Meaning in College Relationships: Understanding Hyper-Connection” was published in the Qualitative Sociological Review journal April 2016. Dr. Standlee’s article explores how the use of communication technology has transformed social interactions and the sense of self that is derived from such interaction by considering the role of presence and absence in relationships among college students.

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Sociology Instructor Lori Pace's Criminology students were active in the community as they engage the theoretical coursework they have learned in practical ways. On April 11, 2016, eighteen Criminology students sat in on Judge Hutchison's Circuit Court Sentencing Day. Sitting in the jury box as sentences were passed in cases ranging from fraud to child sexual assault gave the students real world understandings of the criminal justice system. The students met Raleigh County Day Report Case Manager (and CU alumni) Becky Fisher on April 13, and Judge Hutchison visited the Criminology class on April 20. Eleven students were given a tour of FBOP Beckley on April 20, comprehensively seeing the interior receiving/discharge, medical/dental, recreational, educational, factory, and residential areas of the medium security male institution. On April 27 Criminology students participated in analyzing a mock crime scene. 

Instructor Lori Pace’s sociology students supported the local "Stand Down" for homeless veterans held during the Vietnam Veterans Run for the Wall in Rainelle Memorial Day weekend. On Stand Down Day, the VA gives surplus military supplies to veterans, trying to target homeless vets especially. The students worked during the Spring 2016 semester to collect donations of things like bags, cots, sleeping bags, jackets, clothes, shoes, blankets, cookware, and ponchos for homeless veterans. Read More about sociology student Ashley’s industrious efforts to support Stand Down Day by creating a “Go Fund Me” account.

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Twelve students from the Popular Culture course helped Sociology Instructor Lori Pace clean the "blown garbage" at the Solid Waste Authority Landfill on April 23, 2016. The students efforts were much appreciated by Education Director Sherrie Hunter. Sociology students also participating in an Earth Day Clean up with the Solid Waste Authority in Beckley. 

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During the first half of the Spring 2016 semester, Instructor Lori Pace’s Sociology students collected donation for Homeless Veterans, a Veteran's Administration organization that provides counseling, outreach, and a homeless shelter in Greenbrier County. The students collected donations of blankets, hygiene items, hats/gloves/socks, and hand warmers that were enthusiastically received.

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On March 9, 2016 the Sociology, Social Work, and Geography programs along with the Division of Social Sciences and the Honors Program, hosted the 2016 West Virginia Poverty and Inequality Symposium in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Undergraduate students from Concord University, Radford University, and Roanoke College presented their research on poverty and inequality in America. The event organized by Sociology faculty member Dr. Lawrence Eppard, featured two speakers via video-conferencing: Washington University in St. Louis poverty scholar Mark Robert Rank, and University of Nottingham inequality scholar Richard Wilkinson. Professor Rank's talk was titled, "Towards a New Understanding of American Poverty," while Professor Wilkinson's talk was titled, "Income Inequality and Social Dysfunction." 

Dr. Alecea Standlee conducted a talk on contemporary techno-influenced Third Wave feminism, titled “Cyborg Feminism: Situated Knowledge and the Theories of Donna Haraway” on Tuesday March 1, 2016. The presentation was part of the ongoing Women and Gender Studies Brown Bag series, which is co-co-sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies program, and the Sociology Department. The audience included students, faculty, and community members.

Dr. Tracy Luff had a research report published in the journal, Contexts. Luff is lead author of the report, “Hooking Up and Dating: Two sides of a Coin”, co-authored with Dr. Kristi Hoffman and Dr. Marit Berntson, sociologists at Roanoke College.  The report demonstrates how research conducted by Luff, Hoffman and Berntson challenges media images of rampant casual sex on college campuses. Considered the public face of sociology, Contexts is an American publication that makes cutting-edge social research accessible to general readers. Dr. Luff has made the article available for download. 

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Dr. Tracy Luff: Hooking Up and Dating - Two Sides of a Coin (PDF)

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World renowned Professor Noam Chomsky spoke to Concord University students on February 23, 2016. The event was organized by Dr. Lawrence Eppard and sponsored by the Sociology Program and the Division of Social Sciences. Via online video-conference live from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Professor Chomsky gave a talk titled, "Poverty & Inequality in America." After completing his lecture, Professor Chomsky answered questions from Concord University students, faculty and community members. Professor Chomsky has been described as one of the most widely quoted, most widely cited, and most influential intellectuals of our time. Chomsky's work concerning social justice has inspired countless scholars, activists, and citizens the world over. Professor Chomsky is an author of over 100 books and a highly sought after speaker who regularly lectures at the most prestigious institutions in the world. His critical perspective on poverty and inequality in America is invaluable and we were incredibly lucky to spend some time with him.

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For the first time in program history, two sociology majors received the "Outstanding Sociology Student of the Year" award during Concord University's Annual Honors Banquet. Dr. Tracy Luff and Dr. Alecea Standlee introduced the co-winners Nathanael Dean and Josie Lupardus during the May 1, 2015 event. Both Dean and Lupardus are graduating this spring with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Women & Gender Studies. During the banquet, Lupardus was also honored as a member of Alpha Chi, Cardinal Key, and Concord's Honors Program.

Sociology Instructor Lori Pace's Pop Culture class volunteered to support the Raleigh County’s Solid Waste Authority Earth Day Go For The Green 10k and 5k Races and Concord University Kids Fun Run at the Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, WV on April 25, 2015. This event provides an excellent opportunity for the community, young and old, to celebrate health, Earth Day, and spring time. Student volunteers braved the rain and cold to help with registration, time runners, and serve as flaggers while offering a smile and encouragement to the runners.

Dr. Tracy Luff presented her research at Marshall University's Women and Gender in the Social and Natural Worlds: Rural Perspectives conference on April 11, 2015. Dr. Luff discussed her paper, "College Hookup Culture at a Rural Campus in Appalachia," during the conference’s Sexuality and Gender in Rural Appalachia panel.

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The students in Dr. Alecea Standlee's SOC 398 Qualitative Methods in Sociological Research course presented their work at Concord's Undergraduate Research Day on April 16, 2015. The student's produced poster presentations showcasing their findings. Diverse research topics included campus safety, drug use, intimate relationships, international students, perceptions about police, social media, veterans, video games, and women in sports.

Dr. Alecea Standlee is conducting an inter-university research project that examines the prevalence and impacts of computer graded compositions in high school as students transition to college writing. The project will include data collected from colleges and universities across the U.S. College students who wish to contribute to the research can do so by completing this Online Survey.

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On April 8, 2015, Sociology Instructor Lori Pace’s SOC 320 Popular Culture class spent the day in New York City. The field trip to NYC has been an annual part of her course since 2006. This year’s group of students spent the day seeing the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Museum of Natural History, 9-11 Memorial, MOMA, Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Station, Chinatown, Central Park, 5th Avenue shopping, Little Italy, Broadway, and anything else they could fit in during the day. Everyone came back excited about the connections to culture, advertising, and entertainment relevant to the coursework.

Dr. Alecea Standlee's article, “Technology and Making Meaning in College Relationships: Understanding Hyper-Connectivity,” was accepted for publication in Qualitative Sociology Review. The work is scheduled for release in 2016.

During March 2015, Sociology Instructor Lori Pace's students organized and hosted fundraising food events at the Erma Byrd HEC in Beckley, WV. The money raised benefited victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

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The Sociology program is excited to announce that Dr. Lawrence Eppard will be joining the program Fall 2015. Dr. Eppard is currently an Assistant Professor at Radford University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Florida and a M.S. from Virginia Tech. Dr. Eppard specializes in Race/Ethnicity and Social Stratification/Inequalities. Dr. Eppard says he loves teaching and helping students develop their sociological imaginations. He is particularly excited about bridging the gap between the classroom and the local West Virginia community through community-engagement projects in his courses. He earned a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, a master’s degree from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Florida. His primary doctoral specializations were social stratification and inequalities and sociology of families. His main areas of teaching interest include social stratification and inequalities, race/ethnicity, sociological theory and sociology of family.  He also has teaching interests in a variety of other areas of sociology, including culture, environmental sociology, medical sociology and sociology of education. His research examines social and cultural reproduction in the tradition of Pierre Bourdieu and other scholars. He is particularly interested in the role of dominant culture in structuring, legitimating and perpetuating social class differences and opportunity structures. Originally from Loudoun County, Virginia, he comes to Concord from Christiansburg, Va.

Dr. Alecea Standlee presented her paper, "Friends and Romance Online: Techno-Interaction and Relationships Among College Students," at the Eastern Sociological Society annual conference in New York City on February 27, 2015.

Dr. Tracy Luff has been selected to serve as the new Director of Concord University's Honors Program beginning Fall 2015.

Under the guidance of Sociology Instructor Lori Pace, CU Beckley's students have created a relationship of awareness and service with the Women’s Resource Center in Beckley, WV. Students participated in awareness events, such as hanging purple ribbons in the downtown area to promote Domestic Violence Awareness month, and various fundraising activities that benefited the center’s operations. In turn staff at the Women’s Resource Center have participated in classroom activities and become co-educators for the students, providing them with direct knowledge of the subject matter.

Dr. Tracy Luff's article, "The Impact of Peers and Perceptions on Hooking Up," was published in the 2014 edition of the College Student Affairs journal.

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Thanks to the gracious scholarship offered by Andrea Darr and the Children's Justice Task Force, Sociology Instructor Lori Pace took 19 Concord students to the CJTF Crimes Against Children conference in Charleston, WV on November 19-20, 2014. The conference featured keynote speakers Kevin Mulcahy and Dr. Christopher Wilson, and provided powerful breakout sessions for the students.

Beginning Fall 2014, Dr. Alecea Standlee has taken over as the Chair of Concord's Human Subjects Review Board.

The Sociology program implemented a new Internship Program fall 2014 under the supervision of instructor Lori Pace. The program is already very popular with Concord's students.

Dr. Alecea Standlee presented her paper, "Technology and Making Meaning in College Relationships: Reconsidering Presence," at the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting in Baltimore, MD on February 23, 2014. At the conference she also presided over the Thinking Social Media session.

Instructor Lori Pace provides foster parent training in Beckley, WV.