“Given what I teach and how I teach, students don’t always have to agree with what I believe, but I do want to expose them to those ideas, concepts and social justice issues.”
Preparing Students to Work with Reality Dr. Donald Gregory wants his students to be prepared for careers that deal with difficult situations; therefore, he doesn’t sugar-coat reality in his classes.
“Whether a student decides to go into law enforcement, social work or even business, they’ve got to learn to be able to work with reality,” explained Gregory. “The program has demanding standards, but we provide our students with the learning experiences that help them succeed in any field of sociology.”
Encouraging Students to be Well-Rounded From internships to field trips to independent research, students can explore and experience the world through the many practical applications that are offered through the sociology program; Gregory highly encourages students to be well-rounded in all areas.
“Internships give students the chance to experience what it would be like if they were an officer, social worker or counselor,” he said. “Field trips to places like prisons, jails and the CDC give students a reality check, while independent research allows a student to study a subject more in depth and gives him or her a head start in graduate school.”
Teaching Style Reflects Class Goals Gregory takes on many roles in the classroom—from a stand-up comedian to a wise professor to a friend—because those roles reflect his differing goals for each class.
“In introductory to sociology, for example, I am an entertainer and comedian,” he said. “Because this class is usually made up of freshman, my humorous teaching style takes away the tension and anxiety the students might have for their first college experience.”
Always a Mentor and Friend Even after students graduate from the program, Gregory remains a mentor and guide for them.
“Not any one word could ever hope to describe Dr. Gregory,” said Melissa Carter ’06. “He is your biggest supporter, your biggest fan and your biggest antagonist. I will never be able to thank him enough for all that he taught me."