B.A., Carleton College; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
Joseph SwingleSenior Lecturer in Sociology
Studies higher education and inequality.
I began teaching at Wellesley in the fall of 1999 as a lab instructor for Quantitative Reasoning 199 (Introduction to Social Science Data Analysis). I finished my PhD the following year and have remained at Wellesley ever since.
I teach two of the four required courses for the sociology major, Sociology 190 (Introduction to Probability and Statistics) and Sociology 290 (Methods of Social Research). I also teach courses on the family and inequality. In 2015, I developed a new course and taught it for the first time. The course, a Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing (Sociology 324), was designed with sociology and other social science majors in mind. Sociology 324 focuses on teaching students to write for a non-academic audience using a sociological perspective. Students in the class write op-eds and book reviews, report on public lectures, and conduct interviews with professional sociologists.
My most recent research interests center on higher education. Together with Professor Lee Cuba and two Bowdoin College professors, I co-authored a book exploring how students navigate their four years of college (Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College, Harvard University Press, 2016).
Prior to my graduate studies, I attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota where I majored in Sociology/Anthropology and played a lot of ultimate frisbee. Upon graduating from Carleton, I spent the next two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa. There I taught secondary school mathematics in the small town of Bibiani in Ghana's Western Region.
When I am not teaching, researching, or meeting with students, you can find me playing with my two sons, Aaron and David, and yellow lab, Princess Leia.