Ensuring A Better Future Here & Afar

Our Research Mission & Values

Inspired by Colorado State University’s land-grant heritage, the Sociology Department support’s CSU’s commitment to excellence and to setting the standard for public research university research for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world. Sociology at CSU has a long tradition of high quality research in support of effective solutions to complex social, economic development and environmental problems.

  • Our Sociology Department supports four research centers that actively contribute to CSU’s Tier 1 interdisciplinary community of faculty and graduate.
  • Sociology faculty members blend their research, teaching and outreach/engagement, bringing to their classrooms up-to-date knowledge and expertise about current societal problems and providing unique opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to work with them on research.
  • Sociology faculty are University leaders in “engaged scholarship,” which is encouraged by Colorado State University as a Carnegie Elective Classified University for Engagement. According to Carnegie, “Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

“Sociology helps get to the core of scientific questions by offering tools to understand why problems arise in the first place.” – Michael Carolan, Professor of Sociology

Recent Faculty Projects

Produce stand with various fruits

Fair Trade Institute launches updated online resource collection – Laura Raynolds

June 26, 2018

CFAT’s online service draws on user contributions to provide the world’s most comprehensive collection of fair trade publications, expertise, and resources.

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Income inequality graph

American Sociological Review publishes Pat Hastings’ “Income Inequality and Class Divides in Parental Investments”

May 23, 2018

The study, “Income Inequality and Class Divides in Parental Investments,” was published May 21 in the American Sociological Review, the peer-reviewed flagship journal of the American Sociological Association.

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NEA funds Jeni Cross’s team to continue research on aging brains

May 9, 2018

A group of CSU faculty studying the effect that engaging environments have on the brains of aging adults and people with dementia has received a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue its work.

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Food system diagram

Michael Carolan’s Rural Wealth Creation team benefits both urban and rural communities

May 1, 2018

Two CSU professors are leading the charge to better understand the linkage between rural and urban communities, their respective well-being, and how these diverse worlds interact with the food that comes across your dinner table.

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Recent Books & Publications

The Journal of Peasant Studies publishes Jessie Luna’s research on intersectional inequalities

September 3, 2018

Jessie Luna published “The chain of exploitation: intersectional inequalities, capital accumulation, and resistance in Burkina Faso’s cotton sector” in The Journal of Peasant Studies.  Abstract […]

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Food Justice Now cover

Josh Sbicca’s new book examines how food is used in social justice efforts

August 27, 2018

Story by Jeff Dodge. Originally published on SOURCE. CSU faculty member’s new book examines how food is used in social justice efforts Recently the term […]

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Social Science Research cover

Social Science Research publishes Pat Hastings’ research on Income Inequality and Trust

August 1, 2018

Although both popular and scholarly accounts have argued that income inequality reduces trust, some recent research has been more skeptical.

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Michael Carolan being interviewed on 1 News Now

Michael Carolan makes the rounds in New Zealand on prestigious fellowship

June 27, 2018

The CSU sociology professor received the 2018 Presidential Scholarship from the University of Auckland and spent two weeks there in April and May delivering public talks and doing media interviews about his research on food systems.

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CSU Sociology Faculty co-organize conference in China

June 27, 2018

“The Revitalization and Technological Transformations of Rural Communities: Agricultural Extension, Rural Development, and Agrarian Change in the Developing World” was held in Shanghai on June 24-25. […]

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Professor and student discussing a research poster

Pat Hastings presents research at Population Association of America conference

April 25, 2018

Pat Hastings presented his poster “Compared to Average? Geographic and Sociodemographic Reference Group Effects on Perceived Relative Income.”

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Awards & Honors

Laura T. Raynolds receives Rural Sociological Society Excellence in Research Award

By Sociology Communications | September 10, 2018

The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) Excellence in Research Award for recognizes excellent scholarship in researching significant rural issues.

Pat Hastings awarded ASA’s Family Section 2018 Article of the Year

By Sociology Communications | August 12, 2018

Hastings’s article “Income Inequality and Household Labor” published in Social Forces received an award at the 2018 ASA meeting.

Graphic that reads "better buildings to help people thrive"

Jeni Cross selected to join WELL Community Advisory

By Sociology Communications | July 13, 2018

Jeni joins a select group of leading industry professionals who will guide the continuous evolution of concepts in the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™), the premier building rating system focusing exclusively on the impacts of buildings on human health and wellness.

In The Media

Institute for Family Studies screenshot

Institute for Family Studies interviews Pat Hastings about income inequality findings

By Sociology Communications | August 20, 2018

Rising Income Inequality Widens the Class Divide in Parenting Practices: An Interview with Orestes Pat Hastings by Alyssa ElHage, originally published on “Rising income inequality is reshaping parenting practices in the United States along class lines,” according to a recent report published in the journal, American Sociological Review. Authors Daniel Schneider, Orestes “Pat” Hastings, and Joe LaBriola used […]

high school students discussion at a table

Jeni Cross Featured in RE.THINK Commentary: Changing behaviour to improve sustainability

By Sociology Communications | July 5, 2018

Media and research remind us daily of the dire risks of climate change, overfishing, industrial agriculture, freshwater depletion, deforestation, and loss of wildlife. How can we create behaviours that benefit people and the planet?

Graph depicting Parents’ expenditures on kids over time, by income level

Pat Hastings’ income inequality research featured in The Coloradoan

By Sociology Communications | May 31, 2018

Story by Kelly Ragan. Originally published on The Coloradoan. CSU research: Parent spending on children’s education is ‘an arms race,’ and poorer families are falling farther behind The gap between what wealthy parents and poor parents spend on their kids’ education is widening, according to a new study co-authored by a Colorado State University faculty […]

“Sociology: because life is a team sport.”
– Lynn Hempel