Faculty Profiles

Melanie E. Bush

Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences

Blodgett Hall 102f

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General Information



PhD, Graduate School, City University of New York (2002)

MPH, Hunter College, CUNY (1991)

Professional Experience

Professional Experience

Fulbright Specialist                                               (October 2022-2025)

University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Centre for Sociological Research and Practice                                                           (2022-

      Department of Sociology, Senior Research Associate

University of South Africa (UNISA). South Africa. College of Human Sciences                                                                 (2016 -

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

The aspect of teaching that I love most is generating excitement about and interest in the social world. To foster students’ reflection about “why things happen the way they do” affirms our human ability to make sense of social patterns and realities. Providing tools for critical thinking about society equips students to pay attention to experiences they have every day, but probably do not often theorize.

The opportunity to examine subject matter such as “ethnicity,” “inequality,” “power,” and “democracy” opens possibilities for students to understand the world they live in, at the local level as well as in an historical and global context. Through varied assignments, I engage students so they not only gain knowledge and new ways to explain social phenomena but confidence in their ability to reflect upon and comprehend their own experiences.

My goal is for students to develop their ability to integrate new awareness and explanations for social phenomena into their understanding of society. Sometimes this deepens what they already know or think. At other times, this conflicts with basic tenets of their worldview and unsettles how they understand social patterns. Either way, the process often fosters a realization that conscious living and intellectual engagement can be extremely satisfying as well as useful. I strive to develop curiosity and analytic ability rather than cultivate students’ perspectives or interpretations that mirror my own.

My teaching aims at engagement with the meaning, implications and significance of social facts, contexts and realities. I particularly value curiosity, questioning, and an interest in making sense of the social and material world. My goal is to excite students about the power of revelation and critique that to me, opens one’s mind to that which is possible, including the extraordinary. I continuously seek ways to create an environment where what students learn in my class has relevance in their everyday lives.
Qualities that I most proudly bring to teaching include creativity, flexibility, and being an attentive listener concerned with ways that different people develop intellectually. I continuously assess the effectiveness of activities and assignments and take a self-reflective posture about the pedagogical strategies I utilize to achieve course goals and objectives.

In the classroom, I employ a combination of discussion-based and experiential activities for a range of learning styles and work to stay focused on the “big questions” inherent to whatever topic we are exploring. Using varied assignments, I provide opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery through written, oral and/or creative expression and to develop their ideas and skills (communication, information literacy, critical thinking, and global awareness) in ways that build their abilities in stages.

For me, combining high expectations with substantial support (responsiveness, feedback, and accessibility) results in the best quality student work. This strategy affirms their ability as “thinkers” while pushing them to think, speak and write in more complex and sophisticated ways.

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