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

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Jessie Luna published in Qualitative Sociology

February 8, 2019

Jessie Luna published “The Ease of Hard Work: Embodied Neoliberalism among Rocky Mountain Fun Runners” in Qualitative Sociology in January. Luna joined CSU’s Department of Sociology […]

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Carolan's new book

Michael Carolan releases The Food Sharing Revolution

December 12, 2018

The Food Sharing Revolution:How Start-Ups, Pop-Ups, and Co-Ops are Changing the Way We Eat was just released by Michael Carolan. The key to successful sharing, […]

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Josh Sbicca

Utne Reader publishes sections of Josh Sbicca’s new book

September 11, 2018

About the book Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle, published this summer by the University of Minnesota Press and available at the CSU Bookstore, […]

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National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) logo

Jeni Cross presents at National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) workshop

November 3, 2018

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is forming new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) focused on solving convergent problems that address challenges with significant societal impact. NSF’s National […]

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Lynn Hempel presentatie

2018 Extension Forum invites Lynn Hempel to present on social sustainability

October 25, 2018

Over 190 CSU Extension employees from all over Colorado joined their on-campus colleagues October 22-25 for the 2018 Extension Forum held at the Lory Student […]

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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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Awards & Honors

Tara Opsal

Tara Opsal receives Ann Gill Faculty Development Award

By Sociology Communications | February 4, 2019

Dr. Tara Opsal has been awarded an Ann Gill Faculty Development Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity in the College of Liberal Arts. Her winning project is Penitentiaries on the Plains: Rural Economies, Identities, and the Carceral State. In her proposal, Dr. Opsal says this is one component of a larger comparative project that examines the […]

Pat Hastings

Pat Hastings’ proposal wins CLA Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award

By Sociology Communications | February 4, 2019

Dr. Pat Hastings has been awarded an Ann Gill Faculty Development Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity in the College of Liberal Arts. His winning proposal is Rethinking Consumption Inequality: Investigating Differences by Types of Consumption and Consumers. In his proposal, Dr. Hastings describes how he will investigate what has happened to consumption inequality during the […]

Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab screenshot

Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab appoints Tara Opsal as CARAN fellow

By Sociology Communications | December 12, 2018

The Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab team invited Tara Opsal to join the Colorado Applied Research and Action Network (CARAN). As a CARAN fellow, she will be among a select group of outstanding researchers who are committed to improving the lives of Colorado residents. CARAN fellows will serve an important role in asking and answering […]

In The Media

Fostering Success participants

CSU’s Fostering Success Program benefits from research by Tara Opsal and M.A. student Rebecca Eman

By Sociology Communications | November 5, 2018

New peer mentoring program created as part of Fostering Success Article by Drew Smith. Originally published on Source. A new mentoring program has been formed for CSU students who were foster youth or otherwise separated from their parents. The Fostering Success Program was started at CSU in 2010 for students from independent backgrounds. This includes […]

book covers

Food Tank’s Fall 2018 Reading List features books by Michael Carolan and Josh Sbicca

By Sociology Communications | October 25, 2018

Food Tank’s Fall 2018 Reading List—19 Books To Take the Food System Back Contributing Author: Katherine Walla. Originally published on foodtank: The Think Tank for Food Food Tank is highlighting 19 books about food and agriculture to fall for this season! These books explore food policy, nutrition science, healthy eating, food justice, and the challenges […]

Food Sleuth screenshot

Josh Sbicca interviewed by Food Sleuth Radio

By Sociology Communications | October 11, 2018

Did you know that mutual understanding and respect are at the heart of food justice? Join Food Sleuth Radio host and Registered Dietitian, Melinda Hemmelgarn, for her interview with Joshua Sbicca, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University and author of Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle. Sbicca explains the differences […]

“Sociology: because life is a team sport.”
– Lynn Hempel, Associate Professor of Sociology