Jordan Burke '17G '20G

Sociology M.A. and Ph.D. | Assistant Professor

What you are currently doing for work and what was your path?

I am currently teaching undergraduate courses in the Criminal Justice Department at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. I teach courses in criminological theory and social science research methods, in addition to a course on delinquency and the juvenile justice system. I also teach two special topics courses: Racism and Rioting in America, based upon by dissertation research, and Race and the War on Drugs, which focused on racial disparities stemming from the prosecution of drug-related crime. In addition to my work at Saint As, I also teach an online graduate course for the Vermont Law School. The course, called Drug Police Reform, includes aspects of restorative justice. I was fortunate to get recommended for a 1-year visiting lecturer position at Saint Anselm by faculty members in the Sociology Department at UNH. That initial appointment led to a three-year contract, with two more years remaining. I hope to finish developing my dissertation as a book and get my contract converted as a tenure-track faculty member.

How did your education at UNH prepare you for life after college?

I received opportunities to work as both a research and teaching assistant while at UNH. While serving at the Carsey School of Public Policy, I learned valuable data analysis skills, especially the use of Stata, which will help me conduct quantitative work my field moving forward, including my riot research and a paper I am developing on drug-induced mortality. I continued to develop my teaching skills as an assistant, and even got an opportunity to teach "Sociological Theory," a course for senior sociology majors, during the 2019-2020 academic year. These opportunities for professional development coincided with knowledge gained from my graduate coursework to prepare me for my desired career, which is to become a tenured faculty member at a research institution.

What person or course most influenced you while at UNH?

Michele Dillon, now Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, was my closest mentor during my time at UNH. I still value our friendship and we have remained in contact following graduation. Dean Dillon and I share many similarities, especially our approach to teaching. I thoroughly enjoyed her courses in research methods and sociological theory; now, I am teaching courses in both areas for Saint Anselm. Cliff Brown's course on race and inequality was also impactful, as was his mentorship throughout my dissertation. I have also been working with Karen Van Gundy to publish a paper based upon my master's thesis, which will hopefully be published in Society and Mental Health. Ultimately, I am extremely grateful for all the different support I received from the sociology faculty at UNH.

What advice do you have for students interested in your field?

I have two main pieces of advice. First, seek out faculty members with similar research interests and see whether you can help them in a project. This provides invaluable experience in the publication and peer-review process, in addition to helping an applicant fresh out of graduate school have a publication on their C.V., which is something I am still pursuing. Second, locate areas where future research is necessary early on in each of your courses and write a seminar paper in that area. Having work in progress after graduation is really useful in trying to develop a record of academic publications for the job search.