Baylor > Sociology > Faculty Spotlights > Jerry Park
Jerry Park
Jerry P for profileDr. Jerry Park, associate professor of sociology, is driven to engage. He engages fellow sociologists both at Baylor and beyond through collaboration on projects and papers; he engages students in the classroom when he asks them reflect on social inequalities; he engages graduate students as he mentors them on publishing and academia; and he engages the general public with his fellow bloggers at "Black, White, and Gray" on the Patheos.com website. Dr. Park is passionate about issues dealing with racial stratification and the role of religion in America especially in diverse populations including Asian Americans.

Dr. Park received his undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in sociology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. By his senior year he had already gotten a taste for social science research and saw its utility not only in the scholarly community but in everyday communities like churches, ethnic organizations, and neighborhood associations. His main question at the time broadly asked: why do people believe what they believe? To that end he pursued graduate education (both his master's and PhD) at the University of Notre Dame in the department of sociology. He came to Baylor University in 2004 where he has been pursuing his scholarly interest of the intersection of race and religion.

Since 2010, Dr. Park's research interests have focused on the Asian American experience within the larger context of the sociology of religion. His research questions focus on social attitudes toward Asian Americans and Asian American social outcomes. While data on Asian Americans is limited, scholars can ask questions about the attitudes toward them by the broader public. He is also pursuing funding for a large survey of Asian Americans and their social outcomes. In addition, Dr. Park continues to work on an interdisciplinary collaboration on work, entrepreneurship and religion funded by the National Science Foundation.

While research remains his primary passion, it is fueled to a great extent by the opportunity to teach and write for a broader public. He regularly teaches the Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender inequalities to upper-division undergraduates, as well as graduate seminars on Culture, Identity and Religion; Race, Gender and Religion; and most recently how to write for publication in sociology. This latter class has been an important opportunity to formalize his ideas about mentorship in graduate study. As with many new PhDs, Dr. Park entered the tenure track experience asking many questions to colleagues and faculty across numerous institutions to understand how to navigate through the process. In doing so, he has increasingly become aware of the structural changes taking place in higher education teaching, research, and graduate training. Preparing the next generation of PhDs to be the best scholars remains a constant theme in his interactions with the students in the program.

While skeptical about blogging at first, Dr. Park has come to appreciate these short works as an opportunity to convey sociological research to an audience that is older than the typical undergraduate student. Through the use of news reports of recent events he can point to scholarship that illuminates the complexity behind the flashy headlines.

When not in the office, Dr. Park enjoys time with his wife, Christina, and catching up on the latest in popular media culture.