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Joe Bandy

Interim Director, CFT
Principal Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology

Joe Bandy is Interim Director of the Center for Teaching and Principal Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University.  He received his PHD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at Bowdoin College from 1998 to 2010, after which he came to Vanderbilt.  From 1996 to 2004, his research investigated the many ways that social movement organizations have responded to the economic changes associated with globalization, especially the efforts of U.S. and Mexican labor and environmental movements to forge coalitions in response to the social problems associated with export processing and free trade.  He was published widely in journals such as Social Problems, Mobilization, Critical Sociology, and Public Culture, and is the co-editor of Coalitions across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neo-Liberal Order, with Jackie Smith.  In this work, he received support from the National Science Foundation, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and the Center for the Study of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.  Since 2005, he has focused on administrative, research, and teaching projects related to faculty development around high impact teaching practices — particularly case- and problem-based methods, service learning/community engagement, and inclusive excellence — and has championed teaching methods that support civic engagement, environmental sustainability, and critical understandings of social differences.  He has been featured in Sociologists in Action and is active in his work with Imagining America, an organization dedicated to supporting public scholarship and community engagement in the academy, the Professional and Organizational Development Network, and the Institute of International Education. He also has been an invited speaker and facilitator at Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, the International Dialogue on Education (ID-E), and the Institute on International Education.  At Vanderbilt University, he oversees programs dedicated to these concerns, particularly junior faculty development, service learning and community engagement, sustainability education, and issues of difference and power in teaching.  In sociology, Joe continues to teach in the areas of the sociology of development, globalization, U.S. class relations, labor, as well as environmental problems and movements.



B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology/Sociology (Rhodes College)
Ph.D. in Sociology (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Teaching Methods

Joe Bandy’s courses endeavor to actively engage students in the process of critical thinking so that they may become empowered global citizens. Practically, his courses incorporate a mixture of lecture, film, collaborative learning, and open debate. However, three forms of teaching are especially important, inclusive and equitable teaching, case teaching, and community engagement/service-learning.

Inclusive and Equitable Teaching

To ensure all students find trust and belonging, and that class become more participatory and critical learning communities, his courses incorporate a variety of inclusive and equitable teaching methods. These include, but are not limited to, practices of accessible teaching derived from Universal Design for Learning principles, transparency in methods and structure, content with diverse perspectives, peer teaching, project and problem-based learning, collaborative civility statements, peer and self-assessment, personalized writing and reflection, study groups, and a facilitation of classroom communities grounded in ideals of intellectual humility, growth mindsets, cultural competencies, and conflict transformation. For more on pedagogies of inclusion and equity, see the CFT’s programs on Teaching, Difference, and Power.

Case Study Method

To create a more democratic and participatory process in class, student-presentations and role-playing exercises are common. One particularly effective pedagogy is the use of case studies. A case study is a written description of a situation, usually involving some social dilemma or crisis, that asks students to take roles and debate potential causes and solutions. Most cases depict actual historical or current situations, although they frequently incorporate fictional elements. They allow students to act as participants not merely disinterested observers, to practice analytical and leadership skills, and to recognize the complex intersection of practical and theoretical concerns in a variety of social contexts.

After having participated in case discussions, many students have desired to write their own cases on topics related to the course material. You may visit the Student Cases website to see exemplary cases from his students.

Service Learning/Community Engagement

For more on the definition, philosophy, and methods of service learning, please see the CFT’s Service Learning and Community Engagement Teaching Guide, or the POD-IDEA Notes on Instruction,”Learning to apply knowledge and skills to benefit others and serve the public good,” both written by Joe Bandy.


Bandy, Joe and Myra Brielle Harbin. 2023. “Class Matters: Teaching about Class in U.S. Higher Education.” in Currents in Teaching and Learning. forthcoming.

Bandy, Joe, Myra Brielle Harbin, and Amie Thurber. 2021. “Teaching Race and Racial Justice: Developing Students’ Cognitive and Affective Understanding.” In Teaching and Learning Inquiry, 9(1). 117-37.

Bandy, Joe, Chloe Herzog, and Basil Debabneh. 2020. “From Black Bottom to SoBro.” In I’ll Take You There: Nashville Stories of Place, Power, and the Struggle for Social Justice. Eds. Learotha Williams, and Amie Thurber. Vanderbilt University Press.

Bandy, Joe, Kwame Lillard, Noah Trump, Jack Lindenman, Jacob Graham, Katani Ostine-Franklin, and Barbara Clinton. 2020. “Gateway to Heritage/I-40.” In I’ll Take You There: Nashville Stories of Place, Power, and the Struggle for Social Justice. Eds. Learotha Williams, and Amie Thurber. Vanderbilt University Press.

Thurber, Amie, Myra Brielle Harbin, and Joe Bandy. 2019. “Teaching Race, Racism, and Racial Justice: Pedagogical Principles and Classroom Strategies for Course Instructors,” in Race and Pedagogy Journal: Teaching and Learning for Justice, 4(1). 2019

Bandy, Joe, Mary Price, Patti Clayton, Julia Metzker, Georgia Nigro, Stephani Etheridge Woodson, Anna Bartel, and Sylvia Gale. 2018. Democratically Engaged Assessment: Reimagining the Purposes and Practices of Assessment in Community Engagement. Davis, CA: Imagining America.

Bandy, Joe, Anna Bartel, Patti Clayton, Sylvia Gale, Heather Mack, Julia Metzker, Georgia Nigro, Mary Price, and Sarah Stanlick. 2017. “Values-Engaged Assessment: Reimagining Assessment through the Lens of Democratic Engagement.” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 23(1).

Bandy, Joe. 2017. “Creating opportunities for students to apply course content outside the classroom.” POD-IDEA Notes on Instruction. IDEA.

Bandy, Joe. 2016. “Learning to apply knowledge and skills to benefit others and serve the public good.” POD-IDEA Notes on Instruction. IDEA.

Bandy, Joe. 2011. “Sociologists in Action: Joe Bandy & Elspeth Benard. In K.O. Korgen, J. M. White, & S. K. White (Eds.), Sociologists in Action: Sociology, Social Change, and Social Justice. (pp. 193-7). SAGE Publications.

Bandy, Joe & Craig McEwen. 2011. “Housing and Homelessness in Maine: A Case of Public Sociology in Practice.” In K. O. Korgen, J. M. White, & S. K. White (Eds.), Sociologists in Action: Sociology, Social Change, and Social Justice. (pp. 128-34). SAGE Publications.

Bandy, Joe. “Sociologists in Action: Joe Bandy.”  2010. In K. O. Korgen & J. M. White (Eds.), The Engaged Sociologist, Third Edition. (pp. 9-10). SAGE Publications.

Bandy, Joe. 2009. “Paradoxes of a Transnational Civil Society in a Neoliberal World: The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras.” In Ayres, J. & Macdonald, L. (Eds.) Contentious Politics in North America: National Protest and Transnational Collaboration under Continental Integration. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Coalitions across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neoliberal Order (People, Passions, and Power: Social Movements, Interest Organizations, and the P): Bandy, Joe, Smith, Jackie, Brooks, Ethel, Cullen, Pauline, Edwards, Bob, Faber, Daniel, Foster ...

Bandy, Joe and Jackie Smith, eds. 2004. Coalitions Across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neo-Liberal Order. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. 2004.

Bandy, Joe. 2004. “Paradoxes of a Transnational Civil Society in a Neoliberal World: The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras.” Social Problems. 51(3). Abstract »

Bandy, Joe. 2004. “So What Is to Be Done?: Maquila Justice Movements, Transnational Solidarity, and Dynamics of Resistance.” in The Social Costs of Maquiladora Development. Ed. Kathryn Kopinak. San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, UCSD.

Bandy, Joe and Jennifer Bickham Mendez. 2003. “A Place of Their Own? Women Organizers Negotiating the Local and Transnational in Nicaragua and Northern Mexico.” Mobilization. 8(2). June. Pp. 173-88.

Bandy, Joe. 2000. “Bordering the Future: Resisting Neoliberalism in the Borderlands.” Critical Sociology. 26:3.
Abstract »

Bandy, Joe. 1997. “Reterritorializing Borders: Transnational Environmental Justice Movements on the US-Mexico Border.” Race, Gender, and Class. 5(1):80-103.

Bandy, Joe. 1996. “Managing the Other of Nature: Sustainability, Spectacle, and Global Regimes of Capital in Ecotourism.” Public Culture. 8(3):539-66. Abstract »

Courses Taught

  • Introductory Sociology
  • Class, Labor, and Power
  • Environment and Development
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Environmental Inequality and Justice
  • Globalization and Social Change
  • Serving and Learning
  • Sociology of Identity and Interaction
  • Social Movements
  • Sociology of Revolutions
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Interethnic Relations
  • Sociology of Community
  • Social Psychology
  • What’s Really on Your Plate?: The Environmental and Social Politics of Food
  • Senior Seminar: Current Controversies in Sociology

Blog Posts/Guides/Podcasts