30 in 30 Presents: Russell Schutt (Week 24)

Russell K Schutt 30in30

Russell K Schutt

Education
BA, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago
MA, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1975
PhD, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1977

Finding sociology
Russell’s greatest academic love Dr. Schutt grew up interested in science and in social problems—civil rights, diversity, and the Vietnam War were topics of interest—and when he took his first sociology class he knew he had found the right fit for both his love of science and social issues, and in his words, he “never really had another love in academia from that point.” Dr. Schutt says that people interact and impact the world in positive ways, but also create challenges that need to be understood and addressed.

A distinguished career in sociology
Upon finishing graduate school, Russell accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University, working on a Sociology of Social Control program before accepting a full-time position at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where he has been for twenty-seven years. Currently a professor in the sociology department at UMass Boston, his areas of expertise include homelessness and mental health services, research methods, sociology of organizations, and sociology of law.

Research
In addition to his responsibilities at UMass, Dr. Schutt has been involved extensively in research, working with such organizations as Harvard Medical School, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Schutt has written five research books; his latest, Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society, was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.  He also has several contributions to textbooks and has had numerous journal articles and book chapters published.

A commitment to engaged sociology
Dr. Schutt also enjoys working with people in community centers on important projects that include homeless shelters, women’s health programs, public health, and mental health issues. These projects have allowed him to meet great people and given him an opportunity to connect in the social world and to help improve communities.

Advice for students of sociology
Russell would advise sociology students to use their college years to enrich their futures. This can be done by immersing oneself in the social sciences and developing important skills, such as writing, critical thinking, and seeing social issues from the perspective of multiple disciplines. Most importantly, Dr. Schutt encourages students to be open to learning throughout their lives; stay engaged by reading, thinking, and interacting with others and never stop learning.

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