College president teaches “sociology of work” course

The president of University of Virginia is a sociologist who this semester is teaching a course titled “sociology of work”:

The syllabus calls the University of Virginia class the “Sociology of Work,” but it might as well have been called “Everything You Need to Know About the Real World That’s Not Usually Taught in College.”…

Many of them signed up for the class not knowing what to expect, and some admit that they were just looking to fulfill a class requirement before graduation. But they were all intrigued by the professor listed for the course: U-Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan…

Although the demands of leading a university continue to grow, several presidents in the region still carve out time to teach. It seems almost gimmicky: The university’s top executive standing before a class of students, leading by example and learning from doing. Sullivan’s syllabus says the course “reflects my conviction that teaching and research are closely related.” But it’s also an opportunity to indulge in what got school officials into higher education in the first place…

One morning last week, the class discussed juggling work and family. Sullivan, who has a PhD in sociology, told them that when she was pregnant with her first child, she took her department chair out for lunch: “I said, ‘Bill, I’m pregnant.’ And he choked on his hamburger. I thought we would have to do the Heimlich,” Sullivan said, with a laugh. At the time, she was one of two women in her department, and no one was sure how to handle maternity leave.

I wonder if students automatically give better course evaluations to a college president. It would be interesting to know how well college presidents can teach though I assume former academics might be just fine.

Additionally, the opening line of this article is interesting as it implies college doesn’t teach anything about the real world. This is a growing refrain and yet should college classes only be about how to navigate workplace situations as this article suggests?

Does anyone have a list of all the college presidents who are/were sociologists? I would think sociologists would be well-suited for dealing with all of the different aspects of the college…though studying society doesn’t necessarily mean one is well-suited for dealing with people.

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