Prof. M. Sheila Nelson

M. Sheila Nelson, Chair and Associate Professor, CSB/SJU Department of Sociology

Education:
MSW, St. Louis University-Area of Concentration: Family
Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago-Special Fields: Education and Organizations
Dissertation:  Catholic Elementary Schools in Chicago's Black Inner City: Mission and Organizational Change

Teaching and Research Interests: 

Teaching: Family, and Sex-Gender-Sexual Orientation; Criminology; Urban Studies
           I also love Intro-and introducing students to think sociologically!

Research:  Sexual Orientation and Organizational Change-especially within religious/faith communities-how do organizations change while maintaining legitimacy with various constituencies?

Why did you become a sociologist?  I didn't plan to be a sociologist.  I became an elementary teacher, but discovered that so many of the real problems encountered in the classroom were sociological rather than educational in nature.  Summers working in Mobile, Alabama with low-income black kids at a time when racism was still very evident opened my eyes to a world of injustice and inequality that I hadn't previously known existed.  That experience demanded that I do something about the poverty and brokenness and prejudice I was encountering.  I found myself with a million new questions, and I came to sociology seeking answers.  I see sociology as a powerful tool to work for change, for building a better world.  Things will only change when we understand them-and sociology provides an essential lens for looking into our social reality and understanding the forces that create, maintain, and change that reality.

Favorite film with sociological implications\content: 
    
Newest favorite-on RACE:  The HELP
    
On Gender Diversity:  To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (though Ma Vie En Rose is right up there, too)
     On Crime:  Boyz 'n the Hood
    
On Education:  The Blindside and Freedom Writers

     One of the great things about being a Sociologist is that every film, every novel, has sociological content and implications!

Something about Sheila Nelson:  I grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, one of five children in a working-class family-with my factory working Dad on strike most of my childhood (the longest strike in U.S. Labor History).  I love to read and am part of a monthly book discussion group-and I share my favorite books from that group with my FYS classes!  My hobby is quilting; I love the colors, the textures, the patterns.  Most of my quilts are BRIGHT and BOLD-with varied colors that traditional quilters would probably never put together-I LOVE DIVERSITY!  I am very involved in my church-and currently serve as the President of the Board of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry.