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School of Environment and Natural Resources

Border of USA and Mexico
Rural and Environmental Sociology

Rural and Environmental Sociology

Rural and environmental sociologists engage in applied, multidisciplinary research and develop sociological theory and knowledge relevant to public policy and local development related to communities, the environment, natural resources, food, energy, and agriculture, both domestically and internationally. Our research, extension, and teaching focuses on social and economic well-being of people and places.   

  • Our research foundation and knowledge base are sociological. 
  • We examine how social inequalities (social groups such as race/ethnicity, class, and gender) relate to the environment and natural resources. 
  • We explore how and why social processes vary across geographic space and the consequences of these spatial patterns. 
  • We explore the complex relationships between communities and the environment.  
  • We ask questions about how rural and urban spaces influence perspectives, families, communities, and policy.   
  • We work at the global, national, regional, and local levels.  
  • By practicing community-engaged and service learning, we work with communities, non-profits, and decision-makers, to create a positive impact in the world. 
  • We bring sociological perspectives to interdisciplinary teams within SENR and across the university.  
  • As engaged faculty we work with students and communities on real-world issues to create equitable and sustainable development. 
  • We explore the social impacts of technological, economic, and political change. 

The rural & environmental sociology faculty are a part of a larger cluster of social science faculty in the School and maintains ties to Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). 

Active Graduate Advisors:

Kerry Ard
Douglas Jackson-Smith
Shoshanah Inwood
Jeffrey Jacquet
Kristi Lekies
Kenneth Martin
Sayeed Mehmood
Jeff Sharp

Recent Theses and Dissertations (available on OhioLink*)

M. Barnett MS A Multilevel Analysis of Social, Built, and Natural Drivers of Household Water Use in Northern Utah
F. Becot PhD

Linking farm households’ social needs, social policy, and farm persistence to better understand and support family farms in the 21st century

J. Fergen PhD

Emerging Energy Geographies of Wind: A Multi-Scalar Approach to Investigate the Relationshisp to Wind Energy across Geographies and Social Groups

N. Garcia PhD

Spatial Inequalities in Disabled Livelihoods: An Empirical Study of U.S. Counties

J. Hershberger MS

Including Amish in Agriculture Planning: Opportunities for Integrating Members of the Amish and Plain Communities into Food and Agriculture Planning in Wayne County, Ohio

P. Kelly


Status-Based Inequalities and Changes in the Welfare State: An Empirical Study of U.S. County Governments

A. Thatcher PhD

Support in Boom-Bust Towns: Emerging Adult Education, Employment and Migration Opportunities

S. Walton MS “The Real Issue Is…”: A Case Study of Anti-Muslim Mobilization in a Rural Great Plains Community

*OhioLink articles available to Ohio State students, faculty, and staff
**Student advised by SENR faculty in other Ohio State graduate programs