BiographyI have ongoing scholarly interests in the growing contingencies workers face in their jobs and employment relations. This is because of my background. I grew up in Kenosha, WI. A significant proportion of Kenosha's population worked in durable goods and automobile production industries, including my brother Jeffrey. This was until the 1970s and early 1980s, when many auto and industrial workers in Kenosha experienced job loss. In 2010, my brother was among the last whose jobs at Chrysler were left Kenosha. What happened to Kenosha's auto and industrial workers was part of a larger social and economic process scholars call deindustrialization. Kathryn Dudley (Yale University), a cultural anthropologist from the Kenosha area, does an excellent job with interviews of unemployed auto workers there. She discusses the shift from a "culture of the hands" to a "culture of the mind" in her award winning book The End of the Line: Lost Jobs, New Lives in Post-Industrial America (1994).
Through the 1970s, I grew up as part of the working class in Kenosha and this culture has had a significant effect on shaping my research interests in changes in work and organizations and technology in the workplace (a prime culprit in the reengineering of work, producing greater employment contingencies, and the job losses described above). For my master's thesis, I conducted ethnographic research of blue-collar temporary work. For my PhD, I interviewed information technologists and human resource professionals about the outsourcing of their work.
I continued doing qualitative research on the outsourcing of professional work and, recently, I published a book on the effects of outsourcing on social relations, culture, jobs, and professional work. It’s called Working Lives and in-House Outsourcing: Chewed Up By Two Masters (2018), and you can view the book here.
I have used my interests in changes in work to contribute to scholarship in academic and career advising with collaborator Dr. Leigh S. Shaffer. In 2018, our article “The Professionalization of Academic Advising: Where are We in 2010?” was awarded the first Leigh S. Shaffer Award by NACADA for significant advances made to the academic field of academic advising. I plan to contribute to the academic field of academic and career advising in the near future with my research on job and work changes in market organization.
Because of my background and professional interests in college teaching and sociology, I am conducting research on teamwork and collaborative learning in undergraduate sociology courses. I am also continuing to develop a class-based research project that gives students completing my Sociology of Work or Sociology of Organizations courses the opportunity to participate in guided social research while also examining the jobs, ongoing education, and professional careers of sociology alumni from West Chester University.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Sociology of Work, Sociology of Organizations, Academic and Career Advising, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (specifically teamwork and collaborative learning)