Dear Members of the Sociology Department at Michigan State,
I am writing in regard to the position of associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University. I became aware of the position through an intradepartmental memo, as I am currently completing a doctoral program specializing in Health and Well Being with an emphasis on Sports Sociology. I plan to successfully defend my dissertation in early 2013 with course requirements completed well before then.
You included the job requirements within the position description. The memo indicated you are searching for a specialist in general qualitative methods. I have written exclusively as a qualitative sociologist throughout my coursework in the PhD program at Michigan State. Due to the nature of my research, qualitative methods like content analysis, survey, and interview are my specialties. In addition, I have focused on teaching qualitative methods during the courses of which I was the primary instructor, beginning in 2010.
The subject matter of my dissertation and concentration, sports sociology, resulted in me establishing a solid foundation of knowledge in several substantive areas. For example, I have done sports sociology research on gender, identities, and family influence. As a teacher of any of these specific areas, I will provide the students with an interrelated blend of topics.
I have experienced the social science academic approach at Michigan State in both an undergraduate and graduate setting and so I am familiar with how the sociology department faculty contributes to both SOC and ISS courses. I am excited at the opportunity not only to teach sociology directly through SOC courses but to also provide undergraduate students a solid social science foundation through ISS courses.
As a health care services professional, I have presented my practical knowledge at the National Bereavement Camp Conference as an invitee of the Moyer Foundation. I have also collaborated with state legislators on important health care policy by providing constituent input to lawmakers. My professional background includes many practical applications and I bring that pragmatic approach to teaching social problems and researching relevant social issues.
I believe that the study of public health, socially and through policy analysis, is necessary for all of the popular reasons but also because of a variety of less famous social problems. For example, healthy eating habits are not only the result of practices learned but can be determined early in life simply by access to healthy food. Obesity may be caused by poor choices or perhaps through an environment constructed to enforce unhealthy behaviors. I presented such alternative perspectives in my master’s thesis focusing on food stamp participation. I found that enrolling in the food stamp program was not necessarily a condition of eligibility.
My primary objective is to meet the needs of the students and sociology department at Michigan State. I look forward to having a discussion with both groups about how I plan to accomplish that should I be chosen as the best candidate to fill the associate professor position. My curriculum vita is enclosed and I would be happy to submit either written letters or phone calls in support of my application. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further service to you.
John Girdwood, MSA