Professor Leon Grunberg Honored by the Pacific Sociological Association

April 1, 2013


Distinguished professor recognized for his contributions to teaching


TACOMA, Wash. – Leon Grunberg, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Comparative Sociology at University of Puget Sound, has been honored for his outstanding contributions to the teaching of sociology by the Pacific Sociological Association (PSA).

He was selected for the 2013 Dean S. Dorn Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, which recognizes individuals whose distinction as teachers have made a significant impact on how sociology is taught. It is typically given for contributions spanning several years or an entire career.

Grunberg has taught at Puget Sound since 1979, achieving numerous honors and awards, including the Puget Sound President’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award, and research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, National Institutes of Health, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, among others.

In announcing the award at the Pacific Sociological Association’s March 22 annual conference, the PSA Awards Committee chair and Puget Sound Professor of Comparative Sociology Sunil Kukreja, stated:

“Throughout his long and distinguished career, Dr. Grunberg’s teaching has emphasized the human face of structural change, taking individuals’ experiences as the starting point from which broader historical, institutional processes can be understood.

“His innovative Sociology through Literature course, a favorite among students, exemplifies this approach. This and other of Dr. Grunberg’s courses are models of using C. Wright Mills’ sociological imagination to deepen students’ understanding of the very real, felt effects of what might otherwise be seen as abstract structural processes. One former student’s description of Dr. Grunberg’s Social Stratification course as ‘transformative,’ a sentiment that was echoed in a variety of ways by other former students, speaks to the effectiveness and powerful influence of his approach to teaching sociology.

“Dr. Grunberg’s influence has, of course, extended beyond the classroom to include his mentoring of countless students in their individual research projects and as research assistants for his work, some of whom have gone on to pursue academic careers themselves and, in turn, are benefiting another generation of students with the research skills and dedication to teaching that Dr. Grunberg modeled for them. In addition to his students, colleagues spoke of Dr. Grunberg as a humble, inspiring mentor who always has time to give thoughtful, constructive feedback and encouragement to junior faculty.”

Grunberg’s most recent research work has been in the field of the sociology of work and organizations. He also studies the international political economy with an emphasis on Europe and multinational companies. He teaches classes on social stratification and sociology through literature, and senior thesis classes.

Recent publications include the book Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers, with Sarah Moore, Ed Greenberg and Pat Sikora (Yale University Press, 2010); and the chapter “Transnational Corporations,” with Mike Veseth in Introduction to International Political Economy, 6th Ed. (Pearson, 2013). He studied at the University of Sussex (Bachelor of Arts in American studies) and The University of Manchester (certificate in education, sociology), before earning his doctoral degree in sociology at Michigan State University.

Photos on page: Top right: Leon Grunberg in class, by Ross Mulhausen; Above left: Introduction to Political Economy, 6th Edition.

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