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College of Arts and Sciences Sociology

Asked and answered: 50 years of survey innovation

Don Dillman.When you open the envelope for your 2020 Decennial Census next year, you will be directed to an online questionnaire inspired by Regents Professor Don Dillman. His extensive research and experimentation with visual design and social exchange theory have led to better user experience, increased response rates and higher quality data from surveys sent out by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, National Science Foundation, Gallup, Nielson, and many more organizations and governments worldwide. » More …

Cowlitz Coug finds her voice

Shana LombardShana Lombard distinctly remembers sitting on the bleachers as an elementary student at Chief Leschi tribal school and hearing ‘Education is knowledge. Knowledge is power.’

“Those words spoke to me and gave me the notion that education is beneficial for Native Americans, and we should pursue it. Most importantly,” Shana reflects, “no one can take away our knowledge or our education.” » More …

Four CAS faculty elected to state Academy of Sciences

College of Arts and Sciences, Washington State UniversityIn September, four CAS faculty will join the ranks of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, an organization that advances science in the state and informs public policy.

“It’s a great honor that so many WSU scientists have been recognized by the Washington State Academy of Sciences,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “They’ll be contributing their expertise to some of the most important issues we face in Washington. It’s another way » More …

Dr. Universe: Why do people litter?

Dr. UniverseThere is a lot of litter on our planet, but it hasn’t always been that way. For most of human history, people made stuff out of things they found in nature. They might make tools out of rocks or sticks. These things break down and become part of the soil again.

It wasn’t until the invention of new materials, like plastic, that we started creating more litter. In fact, along with the rise of these new materials came the word “litterbug.”

That’s what I found out from my friend Erik Johnson. He’s a WSU sociologist who is really curious about culture, the ways people interact and live together, and » More …

Doctoral students pack years of research into three minutes

11 faces and 3MT logoFrom creating voice-responsive materials, to enabling regrowth of lost fingers and limbs, to reducing stress on caregivers of autistic children, to unearthing cultural history in Puget Sound, a wide range of high-impact research topics were expeditiously explained in the recent CAS Three Minute Thesis contest.

Eleven Pullman-based doctoral students competed for valuable fellowship prizes by presenting their years of dissertation work in three minutes or less, using just one visual slide, and in language anyone could understand. » More …

Single mom earning degree while raising her son

Ana BetancourtFor the average college student juggling school, classes and a job can be a difficult feat in itself. WSU Vancouver, however, is not a campus filled with traditional students. It is a commuter campus and sees everything from parents to long-distance commuters attending classes.

Ana Betancourt is a WSU Vancouver junior majoring in sociology and minoring in history. Off campus, her primary job is photography. On campus, » More …

Public support for environmental spending hinges on White House

Infographic showing public support for environmental spending Leveraging the power of data analytics, WSU sociologist Erik Johnson teased apart the opinions of more than 20,000 people over more than four decades and found support for environmental spending consistently plummeted during the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Democrats all.

Johnson made his discovery using a statistical analysis that looked at poll respondents in terms of their age, the time period in which they were surveyed and » More …

Hungry for health

Grocery bags.Sociologists and nutrition experts agree: food insecurity is a public health issue. Thinking of food banks and other programs as charity not only stigmatizes recipients but obfuscates the fact that we all pay, in the long run, for one another’s ill health. Whether it’s through increased healthcare costs or loss of economic productivity, not having enough to eat—or not enough nutrition-dense foods—is a cost we all share.

Read more in an excerpt from Washington State Magazine. » More …

AAAS Fellow honors for WSU faculty

Monica Johnson-KirkpatrickMonica Kirkpatrick Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, is one of three WSU faculty named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The honor, bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers, recognizes Johnson for her “distinguished contributions to research on life course development focusing on how adolescents transitioning into adulthood is impacted by different social relationships and economic resources.”

She is a leading researcher in understanding well-being and achievement in adolescence and the transition to adulthood, serves on the editorial board for four » More …

Combining service and social sciences for success

Peter Nolan in uniform.Peter Nolan spent four years post-high school serving in the military police through the U.S. Army.

But as his enlisted contract came to a close, he decided to leave active duty to pursue college full-time because he knew an education would provide him with not only the background and know-how to succeed in a future job but  also greater career advancement options. » More …