I am Associate Professor of Sociology in the Sociology Program, Department of Criminology and Sociology, in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences (EPPS) at The University of Texas at Dallas. I received my Ph.D. from Columbia University in Religious Studies in 1985; I was awarded a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology by Union Theological Seminary in New York in the same year.
I have published two book monographs on religion and social change; both books were published by the American Academy of Religion and are in the catalogue of Oxford University Press. The first book received grant support from Southern Methodist University. The second book was supported by a grant from the American Academy of Religion (Southwest Commission on Religious Studies) as well as Southern Methodist University. I was one of two primary authors and one of two co-editors of a third book, which was published by The Edwin Mellen Press. The last book was based on a U.S. Department of Education FIPSE grant. I was the PI for the grant project. The book grew out of a refereed, co-authored paper presented at a symposium on college educational opportunities for Hispanic students organized by The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University with support from the Pew Hispanic Center.
My single-author articles have appeared in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, Journal of Ritual Studies, Semeia: Journal for Biblical Interpretation, and Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture. A co-authored article, for which I was the lead author, appeared in the Journal for Hispanic Higher Education. I have published book chapters—all as the single author—in edited books by Sage Publications, Inc.; Greenwood Press; Parthian Books; and Brill. I have published entries in two editions of The Encyclopedia of Religion, and entries in Encyclopedia of Protestantism and Encyclopaedia Britannica.
I teach courses on religion in U.S. society, religion in public life (a graduate course), religions in global societies, religion in international development, immigrants and immigration in U.S. society, immigration policy (graduate course), field research methods, qualitative research methods (a graduate course for all EPPS students), and qualitative research practicum, in which EPPS grad students conduct research for their dissertations and Master theses. I was Visiting Scholar in the Social Work Program in the School of Law at Guangdong University of Technology in Guongzhou, Guangdong Province, China, where I taught my UTD course, Field Research Methods, to social work students in May 2016.
I am a two-time recipient of the Student Choice Teaching Award presented by students in the formerly named School of Social Sciences at UTD, and have received the Outstanding EPPS Faculty Comet Teaching Award in Sociology (2015) and a Distinguished Teacher in Diversity and Multicultural Education Award (2014), which is presented by UTD’s Office of Diversity and Community Engagement.
I currently serve on the UTD University Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the new UTD Interfaith Advisory Council. I have served on many other university-wide committees: Committee on Education Policy (CEP), which I served as Chair; the Committee on Core Curriculum (CCC); Committee on Student Scholarships, of which I was Vice Chair; and the Advisory Committee of the Office of International Education. I have been a member of the Sociology Program Committee in EPPS and the School’s Committee on Teaching Effectiveness. As former Assistant Dean and College Master in the School of Social Sciences, I served on the UTD Council of Masters, an administrative body. I have served as Faculty Advisor in UTD’s Office of Undergraduate Education under the Dean of Undergraduate Education. I am Faculty Advisor to the UTD Sociology Club and Co-Faculty Advisor to the new UTD Chapter of Oxfam International. I have been long-time Faculty Advisor to the UTD Baha’i Club, and was Faculty Advisor to the UTD Intercultural Women’s Society.
I am a member of Friends of Yale Institute of Sacred Music (Yale ISM) at Yale University, an advisory body appointed by the Director of the Institute. I am a member of the American Academy of Religion and a past member of the AAR’s Ritual Studies Steering Committee.