Daniel L. Carlson
Assistant Professor, Georgia State University
The concentrations and faculty specialties were a major reason I applied to OSU. I felt that there were numerous faculty I could work with who shared similar research interests. Another reason was the department's reputation as a top-20 program. I knew that my marketability post-graduate school would be dependent on the quality of my education and the prestige of my degree. Also, OSU offered a very enticing financial support package. Such assistance allowed me to focus on my training.
The methodological training is a major strength of the program. I feel that I received the highest quality education in terms of learning the practice of social research. Two other strengths are the teaching assistant program and the flexibility offered in choosing an area of research specialization. During my time at OSU, I was able to teach independently over 20 times and I was able to teach a wide array of courses. The experience I gained was tantamount in my ability to obtain a faculty position and earned me many job interviews. I was also grateful for the opportunity to craft my own course of study and to choose my own areas of focus. I attribute this largely to the diversity among the faculty in terms of research specializations. Nonetheless, I was able to specialize in the sociology of mental health even though no other graduate student had done so previously.
I think that the sociology department at OSU not only prepared me for my career but also prepared me to obtain a job. The department devotes a good amount of resources to the professional socialization of graduate students, and this helped me a great deal. The department offers numerous seminars that instruct students on the academic job market. In these seminars students learned about the interview process and etiquette. The department also encourages students to practice their job talk in front of faculty and students in preparation for interviews. This was extremely helpful. Entering my current position, I felt well prepared for life as faculty in a major research institution. Indeed, because of my training I had already experienced many of the job requirements. My training allowed me to hit the ground running in my faculty position.
Associate Professor, North Carolina State University
I was attracted to the very large number of people studying inequality. I felt like it gave me a lot of options to study a range of topics within that broad subject area.
A real strength of the program was very supportive faculty mentors. I built my CV and gained skills in research and writing by collaborating faculty members who took the time to teach me how to do research, trusted me to work independently and contribute and gave me feedback that helped me grow intellectually and as a writer.
Working closely with faculty really helped prepare me for my career. I learned quite a bit about what the job entailed before entering my own position. I was able to start my job "up and running" because I had learned how to teach, I had some service under my belt and I knew how to do research independently.
Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico
I searched for graduate programs based on the research produced in those departments. I was interested in studying law and punishment, and two faculty at OSU—both now retired—published in these areas. As I gathered more information, I focused on departments that provided good stipend and tuition packages for grad students, universities and departments that seemed well funded and programs that had rigorous methods training and plentiful research opportunities. Ohio State was spot on. Additionally, both faculty with whom I expressed an interest in working were very encouraging during the recruitment process. Finally, Columbus is a real city; a lot of research universities are located in the middle of nowhere with no easy access to an airport. Being able to travel and visit family was a priority for me.
Ohio State had lots to offer. The quantitative methods training in Sociology was excellent. After going on the job market and seeing what else is out there, this has become more and more apparent. Ohio State also had lots of opportunities for academic and professional development outside of the department. Research centers such as Mershon, IPR, the Kirwan Institute and the CJRC brought in fantastic speakers, gave students opportunities to present their own research and supported graduate students through various grants and awards. I received travel and research grants from the CJRC as well as AGEP. I also received paper awards and a yearly travel stipend from the Sociology Department. Other institutes/networks on campus also hosted training workshops on various methods/analytical techniques, such as network methods using R and GIS methods using ArcGIS, both of which I attended. The research support in submitting federal grant applications was very helpful. The staff at the CJRC and IPR were fantastic and helped with various issues. Also, the mentorship at Ohio State was fantastic.
In addition to my academic training, the program at Ohio State prepared me for my career as tenure-track faculty at a research university through its focus on professional development. I was encouraged to develop papers for publication and guided through the submission and revision processes; exposed to opportunities for co-authorship with faculty; given the means, encouragement, and opportunities to present my research in professional venues, such as the CJRC or annual meetings of national academic associations; introduced to people in my field who might evaluate me for employment in the future (in one instance my mentor literally took me by the hand and introduced me to the chair of a department in which I was interested); and offered tremendous support while I was on the job market. But perhaps most importantly, at Ohio State I felt that I had enough support to get started, enough guidance to finish my degree, and enough space to develop into an independent and capable researcher.
David M. Ramey
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Penn State University
Being from Ohio, I was naturally going to look at Ohio State when I was considering graduate school. However, I was really convinced it was the place for me after my initial visit. I have a really broad range of research interests now and they were even wider 7 years ago. The faculty at OSU stood out in all of my research areas and I found them to be both respectful and approachable from the get go. The department has a number of resources for graduate students to draw from, including IPR and CJRC. I felt that these connections and the benefits of a large university in a great town would make for the best graduate school experience.
The department really sets you up for success and provides a number of opportunities for you to further your own professional career while in graduate school. Courses—both in and out of the department—provide a foundation for successful research. The methods courses are taught by talented faculty willing to work with students. Most of the topical courses offered the chance to start or continue a research project with the goal of publication. In fact, the paper that became my dissertation and first publication was developed in three different courses. Faculty assistance does not end in the classroom, either. On a number of occasions, faculty provided timely feedback to other graduate students and myself. In fact, at least 5 faculty members outside of my dissertation committee offered me extensive comments on some part of the dissertation. Additionally, I was offered a number of on campus opportunities to present my work, take part in workshops or training seminars, and hear from renowned scholars from across the world. Outside of the department, Ohio State has top scholars across a range of disciplines, a gorgeous campus, and one of the best libraries I have ever had the pleasure of using.
In terms of professional socialization, I felt that the department did an incredible job. Within the first year, I felt that I was transitioning from student to professional, with the understanding that I was expected to consume and produce knowledge in a way that contributed to our discipline and not simply pass a class. I felt that faculty and graduate students treated one another with professionalism and respect and this allowed me to share my ideas without fear, a skill has been essential on the job. In terms of professional development, the university really provides a lot of support. The financial support I received for research and travel really helped me get my research out and allowed me to meet people outside of OSU. Additionally, I was able to take advantage of the connections the CJRC and Ruth Peterson have to meet and work with scholars outside of OSU, which expanded my professional network greatly.
Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico
When investigating universities, a member of my MA committee advised me that OSU had a strong program. I was drawn to OSU Sociology program because of strong quantitative methods and productive faculty members in my desired areas (social networks, crime, and health). I was also given fellowship funding for my first year and guaranteed departmental funding for 3 years after that. Also, OSU accepted my masters and I was let into the PhD program right off the bat, while other programs required me to redo coursework and even the thesis.
OSU provides lots of resources for graduate students travel funds through IPR, CJRC, financial and travel support for minority students, plenty of faculty members to work with, freedom to pursue my own intellectual interests, great training in quant methods. Also, the affiliated research centers (IPR and CJRC) were great for my development and enhanced the department's intellectual community. Chris Browning, Dana Haynie, and Ruth Peterson were central to my success as a graduate student
Because of my work with productive faculty members I graduated having numerous published articles and papers that were under review. As a result I had 11 publications in my first year at UNM stemming from work at OSU, and several more that are under review currently. I was also involved in a large-scale data collection effort in my last few years, and I will use that data over the next few years in my own research. Because of my strong quant training I was assigned to teach graduate-level statistics the first semester and I am currently teaching criminology courses at the grad and upper division graduate level.
Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Loyola University Chicago
One of the things that attracted me to OSU was the quality of the faculty in the Sociology program and the range/diversity of research interests and specialization of the faculty. Also the funding package was very attractive, I received the University Diversity Fellowship my first year, which solidified my decision to come to OSU instead of UW-Madison.
One of the big strengths of the program is that, while the department is fairly large there are smaller working groups and collaborative academic communities that facilitate advancement as a scholar. Also graduate students in the OSU program were very collegial and worked together rather than viewing each other as threats/competition. Getting involved with the Criminal Justice Research Center directed by Dr. Ruth Peterson provided me with formal and informal opportunities for professional development that allowed me to network with and learn from other students and scholars who shared my same interests.
My experiences at OSU really helped solidify my decision to pursue a career in higher education administration. While the Sociology program provided me with the analytical and evaluation skills necessary for a career in higher education, it was really my graduate administrative and research associate positions that paved the way for me to gain experience in advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives. Working as a GAA for the Bell Resource Center was my first experience with student affairs and programming, I learned a lot from Dr. James Moore and his team on how to implement programs that increase retention and success of minority students, particularly black males. Furthermore, my work with the Graduate School with the Summer Research Opportunities Program provided me with experience with pipeline programs and recruitment of minority students for graduate programs. Having mentors like Dr. Patrice Dickerson—who lead the office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts and Sciences and was really invested in the success of graduate students of color—was invaluable. Finally, my work as a research associate with Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State taught me about diversity and equity issues at the faculty level and the importance of institutional culture transformation. Those outside experiences and connections with the larger university really helped to shape my trajectory as a diversity and inclusion professional. OSU has so much to offer and I'm grateful for the opportunities I was given there!