Dr. Renzetti Receives National Faculty Leadership Award

photo of Claire Renzetti
Claire Renzetti, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been chosen to receive a leadership award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2017)  Claire Renzetti, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been chosen to receive a leadership award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP).

The national organization promotes and protects sociological research and teaching on significant problems of social life and encourages the application of scientific method and theory to the study of vital social problems. Renzetti will receive the Doris Wilkinson Faculty Leadership Award at SSSP's national meeting in Montreal in August.

Named for UK Sociology Professor Emeritus Doris Wilkinson, the award is given annually to an outstanding faculty member who has exercised an extensive leadership role in SSSP and other professional societies as well as meets these criteria:

  • Addresses social issues of contemporary public importance.
  • Brings a deepened public understanding to these issues.
  • Advances social understanding of leadership for change within the larger society.
  • Proposes courses of action to effect that change.

Renzetti's research interests lie in the areas of gender, families and intimate relationships, and criminology and the sociology of law. Her current research projects include a federally funded evaluation of a therapeutic horticulture program at a local battered women's shelter; studies of the relationships between religiosity, religious self-regulation and intimate partner violence; and an analysis of jury decision-making in trials for the crime of sex trafficking.

She is widely published in these areas and serves as editor of the journal Violence Against Women; co-editor of the "Interpersonal Violence" book series for Oxford University Press; and editor of the "Gender and Justice" book series for University of California Press.

Holder of the Judi Conway Patton Endowed Chair for Studies of Violence Against Women, Renzetti is an active researcher with UK's Center for Research on Violence Against Women.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Doris Wilkinson Faculty Leadership Award from SSSP," Renzetti said. "The award is particularly meaningful to me because it recognizes the outstanding achievements of Dr. Doris Wilkinson, a scholar-activist who worked tirelessly for social justice throughout her career.”

The SSSP created the faculty leadership award to honor Wilkinson for her contributions to SSSP and the field of sociology. During her 40-year career as a professor at UK, she served as president of SSSP, the Eastern Sociological Society and the District of Columbia Sociological Society and vice president of the American Sociological Association. Among the many contributions of her career, Wilkinson's research and publications broadened the sociological understanding of race/ethnic relations, gender and social change. She was widely published in her areas of research interest: critical race theory; sociology of health and illness; class and gender; social change and social movements; and occupations and professions.

As a pioneer in desegregation, Wilkinson became the first African-American student to graduate from UK with a bachelor's degree in 1957, and after earning her graduate and doctoral degrees at Case Western Reserve University, she became the first full-time African-American female faculty member at UK when she joined the sociology department. She also was the first African American elected to UK's Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

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