About Us

Our Beginning

One could argue that academic sociology in the United States began at 5:00 pm on Monday, February 3, 1890, when Professor Frank Wilson Blackmar convened the first "Elements of Sociology" class at the University of Kansas. A course by that title has been taught at KU every semester since. In 1895, the university was among the first schools in the nation to offer graduate programs leading to the doctorate, and the first doctoral degree in sociology was awarded in 1916.

From those early days as the first sociology department in the United States to the present, the Department of Sociology has played a vital role in the teaching and research missions of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University of Kansas. The department is noted for the intense exchange of ideas among its students and faculty members.........

Currently the Sociology Department consists of 21 Professors (11 Professors, 8 Associate Professors, 2 Assistant Professors) and 6 retired; 40 Graduate Students (21 Graduate Teaching Assistants, 5 Graduate Research Assistants). All professors are active in research.


The Department holds annual public events such as the Carroll D. Clark Guest Lecturer every fall, the graduate student sponsored Blackmar Lecture in the Spring, frequent Dept. Colloquium throughout the academic year and celebrates the achievements of the Undergraduate and Graduate students with May recognition ceremonies. The faculty are active in professional organizations, publications, and at meetings. The graduate students publish STAR Journal

Honors Theses by Recent Undergraduates


A few books by our faculty!

Affiliated DepartmentsThe Pioneer, next to Fraser Hall

KU Sociology Faculty have appointments and research associations with the following organizations on campus:

Department and Faculty Awards

Department of Sociology

2004-2005 Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award
2004 SWS Stamp of Excellence in Gender & Feminist Studies

Robert J. Antonio
2015 National Society of Collegiate Scholars
2011 & 2014 HOPE Award Finalist
2013 McNair Mentor Award
2002 Center for Teaching Excellence Award (Sociology)
2000 Center for Teaching Excellence Award (American Studies)
2000 J. Michael Young Outstanding Academic Advisor Award (College of Liberal Arts; for Social Sciences)
1996 Outstanding Educator (Mortar Board Honors Society Teaching Award)
1991 Outstanding Educator (Mortar Board Honors Society Teaching Award)
1989 Chancellor's Club Teaching Professorship
1988 Chancellor's Club Award for Career Teaching Excellence
1988 Outstanding Educator (Mortar Board Honors Society Teaching Award)
1979 Chancellor's Club Award for Teaching Excellence
1975 Outstanding Educator (Mortar Board Honors Society Teaching Award)
1974-1975 Younger Humanist Fellow-National Endowment for the Humanities

Kelly H. Chong
2011 Center for East Asian Studies Faculty Service Award, University of Kansas
2010 Distinguished Book Award: Midwest Sociological Society
2010 Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society
2009 Distinguished Book Award: Sociology of Religion Section, American Sociological Association
2009, 2010 General Research Fund Award, University of Kansas
2008 Best Article Awards: Asia-Asian American Section and Sociology of Religion Section, American Sociological Association
2006-2007 Korea Foundation Advanced Research Fellowship
2006-2007 Social Science Research Council/SAR Resident Scholar (declined)
2004-2005 New Faculty General Research Fund Award, University of Kansas
2002-2003 Visiting Lecturer/Research Associate, Harvard Divinity School
2001-2002 Research Fellow, The Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, Yale University
1999 Junior Fellow, Martin Marty Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, University of Chicago
1996 Fulbright Dissertation Fellowship

Brian Donovan
2016 Gene A. Budig Teaching Professorship Award
2007 Silver Anniversary/ Chancellor's University Distinguished Teaching Award
2005-2006 National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Fellowship
2004 Hall Center Travel Grant Competition

Shirley A. Hill
2008 Distinguished Book Award, Midwest Sociological Society
2005 Keeler Intra-University Professorship
2004 Ned Fleming Award for Excellence in Teaching
2001 Outstanding Woman Educator Award

ChangHwan Kim
2012 The Early Career Scholarship Award. The Midwest Sociological Society
2011 Outstanding Article Award. American Sociological Association's Poverty, Inequality and Mobility Section
2010-2011 New Faculty General Research Grant. University of Kansas
2010-2012 National Science Foundation Award SES 0961565. "Increased Earning Dispersions and Labor Market Productivity." co-Principal Investigator (PI: Arthur Sakamoto at University of Texas)

Tracey LaPierre
2011 Spencer L. Kimball 2009 Article Award, Journal of Insurance Regulation
2008 Family & Health Section New Professional Award, National Council on Family Relations
2008 New Faculty General Research Fund Grant, University of Kansas
2008 RAND Research Summer Institute Scholarship, RAND
2006 Teaching Grant, Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Kansas

Joane Nagel
2004 Outstanding Publication Award, Association for Women in Psychology
2001 HOPE Award Finalist
2000 Graduate and Professional Association, Outstanding Mentor Award
1998-present Sociological Research Association
1996 William T. Kemper Fellowship Teaching Excellence
1996 Outstanding Academic Book, Choice
1995 Bellagio Center Resident Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation
1995 Louise E. Bryd Graduate Educator Award
1994-1995 Jensen Lectureship, Duke University and the American Sociological Association
1994 Outstanding Achievement Award, Armenian Behavioral Science Association
1992 Outstanding Woman Teacher, The Commission on the Status of Women and the Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center

Mehrangiz Najafizadeh
2014 University Mortar Board Outstanding Educator Award
2014 University Chancellor John Fraser Teaching Award
2007 & 2012 Del Shankel Teaching Excellence Award
2005 J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award
2002 Byron A. Alexander Graduate Mentor Award

Jarron M. Saint Onge
2016 Jayhawk Faculty Appreciate Award, University of Kansas Medical Center
2016 Big XII Faculty Fellowship

David Smith
2004 Public Citizen of the Year (awarded by the National Association of Social Workers, Kansas Chapter)
2001 Collaborative Research Grant, 2001-2006, National Endowment for the Humanities
1999 Teacher Appreciation Award (Center for Teaching Excellence)
1997 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence
1995 Silver Anniversary Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching (Alumni Association and the Chancellor's Office)
1993 Outstanding Educator (Mortar Board Senior Honors Society Teaching Award)
1977 University Fellowship (University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Research Foundation)
1976 University Fellowship (Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Research Foundation)
1975 University Fellowship (Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Research Foundation)
1974 Phi Beta Kappa (University of California-Berkeley)

Joey Sprague
2013 Executive Officer, Sociologists for Women in Society
2011 W. T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, University of Kansas
2009 University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame
2009-2009 President-Elect, President, and Past-President, Sociologists for Women in Society
2005-2006 J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award in the Social Sciences Division, University of Kansas
2004 Mentor of the Year, Sociologists for Women in Society
2004 Keeler Family Intra-University Professorship, University of Kansas
2003 Archie and Nancy Dykes Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Kansas
1998 Teacher Appreciation Award, Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Kansas
1990 Outstanding Woman Teacher, Commission on the Status of Women, University of Kansas

William G. Staples
2015 Surveillance Studies Network Book Prize for Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life (2/e)
2012 KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Craig Anthony Arnold Faculty Innovation Award
2011 Balfour Jeffrey Research Award in Humaities and Social Sciences
2005-2010 Fulbright Senior Specialists Program
2003 Book Award Prize, American Sociological Association Marxist Section, for Power, Profits, and Patriarchy: The Social Organization of Work at a British Metal Trades Firm, 1791-1922 (with C. Staples) Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001
2001 Graduate Teacher Appreciation Award, University of Kansas Center for Teaching Excellence

Mary Zimmerman
2006 Lansdown Lectureship, University of Victoria, British Columbia
2005 Dobrof Best Article Award, Journal of Gerontological Social Work
2002-03 Big Twelve Faculty Fellowship
2000 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence
1990 Fulbright Scholar, Finland
1989 Outstanding Woman Teacher Award, University of Kansas

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Summer 2016 Newsletter!
Enjoy reading up on faculty and alum activities, graduate student accomplishments, and department activities. 

Alums! Emeritus Faculty! We want to hear from you! We will soon start gathering news items for our 2017 Summer Newsletter! Submit an item or picture for our newsletter by emailing us! socdept@ku.edu

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