Megan Thiele

Megan Thiele

Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

What research questions currently preoccupy you?

I am particularly interested in the interactions between faculty and students. My recent research documents both how important these interactions are and how variable they are from student to student. Why do some students feel comfortable interacting with faculty as peers (using their first name, having coffee with them, etc.) while other students are intimidated by faculty and "don't want to bother them"? Why are some students quick to blame professors for problems in the classroom and others so deeply appreciate professors that they find it hard to believe they could ever make a mistake?

What personal factors contributed to your research?

Sociology tackles all the deep "why, how and what can we do about it?" questions about society that intrigue me at a personal level. Why does inequality persist? Why is racism so deeply embedded? How do people in power institutionalize inequality? What can we do to create social change? What can we do to sustain human life in the long-term?

What has been most challenging in your research?

Balancing teaching, service, research, and my life outside of SJSU.

How has your position in SJSU contributed to your research?

My position as tenure-track faculty provides me with a sense of security that alleviates a certain amount of stress and frees up brain and personal power.

A hidden (research) talent:

I am usually good at getting people to talk.

One book that changed your life (or research) & why:

I appreciate Annette Lareau's Unequal Childhoods. It is informative and entertaining.

A website/journal/newspaper (in your field?) you follow without fail:

I follow reddit for all the news that will not make it to mainstream media.

Advice you’d give to newer faculty or students:

Figure out what you want to do and do it.

RSCA Accomplishments

“Resource or Obstacle? Classed Reports of Student-Faculty Relations”, to be published in Sociological Quarterly, 2016.
“Social Stratification at the Top Rung: Classed Reports of Students’ Social Experiences on a Selective University Campus”, to be published in Sociological Perspectives, 2016"