Association honors longtime professor

East Carolina University professor Dr. Kenneth R. Wilson was honored Feb. 22 with the 2013 North Carolina Sociological Association’s Award for Contributions to Sociology.

Wilson is professor of sociology and co-director of the sociology department’s community research lab. He joined ECU in 1974.

Wilson

Dr. Kenneth Wilson

North Carolina Central University professor emeritus George Conklin presented the award at the organization’s annual conference. Conklin said, “Dr. Wilson’s expertise in applied sociology has been nationally significant, with an emphasis on improving the quality of human life.” Conklin serves as editor of the NCSA journal, Sociation Today.

“I am proud to receive this award from an organization that has focused attention on ways to combine scholarship and teaching to serve the needs of our students and our communities,” said Wilson.

Dr. Marieke Van Willigen, interim chair of ECU’s sociology department said she was happy to see Wilson honored. He has “facilitated the collection, analysis and reporting of data on issues ranging from differential impacts of hurricanes to factors affecting the quality of life of breast cancer survivors, to how researchers deal with ethical dilemmas in their research. He is truly an applied sociologist in the best sense of the term,” she said.

Wilson joined ECU after completing his doctoral degree from Purdue University. During his 39-year career at ECU, Wilson has focused upon specific issues in which applied sociology may contribute, including procedures for basic research, emergency responses during natural disasters and health care and technology access disparities. He has received $1 million in funds to address these social issues through applied sociology, and he has published more than 32 articles and a half-dozen book chapters within his field of research.

“I enjoy doing research that makes a difference,” said Wilson. “I am particularly proud of my research on the Digital Divide in North Carolina, which…helped the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center and the NC Department of Commerce document the need to extend broadband to rural regions. I really enjoy working with a team that is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in North Carolina.”

Wilson is past president of the North Carolina Sociological Association and past president of the UNC Faculty Assembly. He is the founding director of the Sociology Community Survey Lab in ECU’s Department of Sociology.

He also has been involved with the American Sociology Association, American Association of Public Opinion Research, American Statistical Association, Southern Sociological Society, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction and Alpha Kappa Delta.

For additional information, contact Wilson at 252-328-4897 or wilsonk@ecu.edu.