1973 - Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Sociology
1967 - B.A., Northwestern University, Political Science
I focus on social aspects of health, aging, and gender, as shared experiences subject to the context of social arrangements and cultural definition. I like it that Sociology opens our eyes to the social processes that form the setting of people's experience. With previous work in social welfare policy research at Brandeis University and doctoral dissertation research at the University of Pennsylvania on elders' experience as consumers and negotiators of services, I joined the Sociology Department in 1984.
While students are learning the sociological perspective, along with learning the concepts of culture, patterns of society from small groups to global society, we examine sociological research findings. Then, we link the sociological to students' own lives. One way we do this is to look at their students' own roles sociologically. We have also followed the health reform legislative process in light of students' own health care and we have interpreted visual and performance art, which we attended together, through the lens of gender. I enjoy guiding students' research in their senior year and in independent studies which have included sociology and quilting, hospice, and metaphors in talking about health.
My research has explored the connection of elders living in their homes to family and community as they adapt to changes of aging. I have distinguished several patterns of social loneliness and integration, as well as ways for organizing human service agency responses and suggestions for family involvement. My research on teaching and learning sociology has focused on the uses of empirical data for understanding social differences. This led to a term on the editorial board of the American Sociological Association's journal Teaching Sociology.