Tribute to Dr. Jim Hougland

By Dr. Shaunna Scott

After 43 years of service at the University of Kentucky, Professor James G. Hougland retired in May 2017. During his time at U.K., he filled many administrative positions, including numerous terms as the Chair or Associate Chair of the Department of Sociology, the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of the Survey Research Center, and acting director of both the Appalachian Center (twice) and the Center for Developmental Change.

Professor Hougland mentored scores of graduate students in their research studies in the areas of social organization, education and education reform, applied sociology, evaluations research, work and religion in society. He is also greatly appreciated for his mentorship of junior faculty, having supported many of us through the tenure and review process, and as a source of wisdom and good advice to the departmental chairs and administrators who followed him. Finally, as a teacher of survey research methods, he played a crucial role in graduate education in Sociology at U.K. for over four decades.

Professor Houghland’s teaching and research have reflected his long-term interest in organizational sociology and sociology of work. He has been particularly interested in how organizations reflect and influence the regions and communities in which they are located and also in how individuals are affected by their work-related experiences in organizations. His interest in the effects of organizational experience has led him to a sustained effort to evaluate the impacts of organizational initiatives. He has focused in particular on the accomplishments and occasional shortcomings of innovative programs in education and training.

Professor Hougland received acclaim from outside of the department as the recipient, Alex Boros Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Society for Applied Sociology (2002), the Co-Recipient of the American Communication Journal Article of the Year Award (1998), the Court of Justice Law Day Award for contributions to law-related education from the Supreme Court of Kentucky (1997), and served as the Cloyd Anthony Lecture Series speaker, Department of Sociology, Indiana State University (1998). He also served as the President and Vice-President of the Society for Applied Sociology and the Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Sociological Practice.

He will be sorely missed in the Department of Sociology, where he provided wisdom, perspective, advice, and humorous email messages to students and colleagues alike for more than four decades.

In acknowledgement for his mentorship, teaching and service, the Department of Sociology at the University of Kentucky has endowed a graduate student scholarship, called the Billings-Hougland Scholarship Gift Fund. This scholarship will provide some financial support to Sociology PhD students, support that reflects the legacy of one of the most helpful colleagues and mentors the Department of Sociology has ever known.

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