Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight:Evelyn Patterson
Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Evelyn Patterson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, talks about her teaching philosophy and interests:
My research uses two subfields of sociology, demography and criminology, to undertake an essential task, the demography of incarceration. I investigate fundamental issues in the demography of incarceration, such as data quality, measurement, and population dynamics.
“I believe that learning is a dynamic process, where both student and professor learn from the experience. Learning is also a collective process, where we are all contributors to the process.”
While many have some exposure to the subfield of criminology, not as many are familiar with demography. As a sociologist interested in the demography of incarceration, I am both interested in the changes in the incarcerated population over time as well as the factors associated with such changes. This subpopulation is typically discussed as if it exists in an incubator, and has no connection to the larger population. However, most people do not remain incarcerated forever, which adds another dimension to my work – the relationships between the incarcerated, formally incarcerated, never incarcerated, and the formal and informal structures that enhance or reduce citizenship in each category. My research utilizes the tools of statistics and formal demography to contribute to areas in the literature on health, social stratification, and measurement.
My teaching interests involve both methodological and substantive subjects that are closely related to my own research. Methods help us reduce large quantities of information into tangible ideas. My teaching interests also include courses such as population health and the history of punishment in western civilizations. I believe that learning is a dynamic process, where both student and professor learn from the experience. Learning is also a collective process, where we are all contributors to the process. Lastly, I believe that being a professor, like being a student, requires an open mind and a commitment to change.