Julie N. Zimmerman
Associate Professor

Community & Leadership Development
707 Garrigus Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546-0215
Phone: 859-257-7583
Fax: 859-257-4354
jzimm@email.uky.edu         Curriculum Vitae



Dr. Julie N. Zimmerman is an Associate Professor, Rural Sociology, in the Department of Community and Leadership Development located in the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky.  She holds a joint appointment with the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences and is a faculty member in the Sociology Graduate Program.  Dr. Zimmerman’s focus includes applied demography, rural development, and historical research on the development of rural sociology. 

As a part of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension System, Dr. Zimmerman’s program, Kentucky: By The Numbers, focuses on making socio-economic and demographic data accessible and useable for local decision making.  The program contains several components including skill building through specialized trainings such as “Finding and Using Data From the Internet.”  Through the Kentucky: By The Numbers Data Series, Zimmerman provides user-friendly access to data commonly used by communities and in Extension planning and programming.  Publications in the program include graphical website instructions for commonly used federal data websites and she conducts in-depth customized state and local data analyses.  Through the Kentucky: By the Numbers website on SNARL, (www.ca.uky.edu/snarl) Zimmerman also develops and provides web access to resources and publications.  Most recently, she has been developing a publication series and web-based resources to assist local decision makers better understand and use data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

In addition to working with Cooperative Extension, Dr. Zimmerman also conducts both historical and applied research.  Her historical research focuses on documenting and assessing the history of rural sociology.  In addition to journal articles, she has co-authored 3 books on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Division of Farm Population and Rural Life (1919-1953).  This was the first unit in the federal government devoted to sociological research and was formative in the development of rural sociology in the United States.  In addition to co-authoring the comprehensive bibliography of the work conducted by professionals in the unit, the second book,
Sociology in Government: The Galpin-Taylor Years in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1919-1953 was published in cooperation with both the American Sociological Association and the Rural Sociological Society.

 In her most recent book, Opening Windows onto Hidden Lives: Women, Country Life, and Early Rural Sociological Research, she and co-author Olaf Larson build on their previous analyses to explore the unexpected inclusion of rural and farm women in the research conducted by the USDA’s Division of Farm Population and Rural Life and how these early rural sociologists found the conceptual space to include women in their analyses of farm living, rural community social organization, and the agricultural labor force. 

As a result of her historical scholarship, Zimmerman became historian of the Rural Sociological Society (RSS).  Her approach to the service position blends both her research and extension backgrounds.  In the position, she conducts research such as organizing the RSS Oral History Project.  To increase public and scholarly access to historical resources related to the RSS and the development of the field of rural sociology, Zimmerman developed a Historian’s website with resources on the history of the Society and of rural sociology.  She is also a member of the American Sociological Association’s History of Sociology Section. 

Zimmerman’s most recent applied research was the Rural Price Project.  Funded in part by the USDA Economic Research Service through the Southern Rural Development Center, this research examined geographic differences in the cost of living using local prices for the market basket of goods and services used in the ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI).  Research for for the COLI has been conducted since 1968 and today is often used as the basis for online cost of living calculators.  The Rural Price Project examined the question: If a person made the same purchases in an urban and a rural area, would they encounter the same prices?  In addition to multiple presentations to both general and academic audiences, the results of the research were published in the journal Rural Sociology.  Because of her research, Zimmerman was asked to become a member of the national expert advisory panel for the ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI) of  C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research).   

Zimmerman’s applied work has also included the areas of rural poverty and welfare reform.  She has received research grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Southern Rural Development Center, and the Joint Center for Poverty Research at Northwestern University.  She is a member of the executive committee for the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, and has also served as a member of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RuPRI) Rural Welfare Reform Initiative, the National Rural Development Partnership’s Welfare Reform Task Force, the Consortium for Kentucky Kids Count, the Kentucky Welfare Reform Assessment Project, and the Kentucky Family Self Sufficiency Project. 

 Dr. Zimmerman’s research publications include 3 books and several book chapters, as well as articles in journals such as Rural Sociology Sociological Spectrum, Community Development Journal, The Review of Regional Studies, and Agricultural History.  She has served as the guest editor for a special issue on welfare reform for the journal Southern Rural Sociology (now the Journal of Rural Social Sciences), and served on the editorial board of the Rural Sociological Society’s Rural Studies Series.  She continues to serve on the editorial advisory board for the journal Sociological Inquiry.   

Joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1997, Dr. Zimmerman holds a B.A. in sociology from Bemidji State University, an M.A. in sociology from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell University


Ag Ed Program Department of Community and Leadership Development