Dr. Colleen Greer

Photo of Dr. Colleen Greer


Office/Department: Sociology and Communication Studies, Department of

Location: Sattgast Hall 215 F

Phone: (218) 755-2829

Box #: 27

Email: colleen.greer@bemidjistate.edu


I grew up in Nebraska and spent a significant portion of my young adult life living in various locations in the state. As a child I learned to appreciate the history of the region and I was especially intrigued by the works of Willa Cather and the immigrant experience. Since my great grandparents immigrated from Germany, Ireland, and Czechoslovakia, her descriptions of life on the great plains helped me fill in the gaps where family stories left off. Coming from a working-class background, I did not immediately attend college, but started taking a few classes while working as a data entry clerk after high school. I was immediately hooked, and as a non-traditional student, married, with two kids, I found myself taking classes at various universities before completing my bachelor’s degree in sociology. I was fortunate to be able to attend graduate school at the University of Kansas, where I had terrific mentors and where I completed my master’s work in gender studies and organizations, and my Ph.D. with areas of specialization in social movements and change and ethnic group relations. I have been at Bemidji State University since 1999, as a professor, department chair, director, and for six years as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Currently, I am enjoying being back in the classroom and working with students on various projects, as well as serving as the Community Engagement Liaison and Partnership Coordinator. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to continue to connect with students, to serve the community, and to work with colleagues who are dedicated to learning and to sharing their research and insights with students and with the broader community.



Ph.D., Sociology, University of Kansas, 1998
M.A., Sociology, University of Kansas, 1991
B.S., Sociology, Kearney State College, 1986


Over the last several years I’ve taught the introductory sociology course, but most of my time has been spent teaching the gender courses for the minor and for sociology, particularly Men, Women and Society. My specialization in gender and ethnicity has also allowed me the opportunity to teach our Intersectionality course, where I lead students through material that examines the intersection of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, and abilities. The course calls for a deeper focus on the contextualized nature of inequalities and their outcomes. I’ve also had an opportunity to teach new courses, including Community Organizing for Social Change and a course on the sociology of health and medicine. As a scholar in the area of social movements and change, these new assignments have provided an opportunity to explore in more detail what it means to think, empathetically about community discourse, adaptability, and processes of change. I’ve also taught Social Theory, Social Psychology, Work and Careers, and various other courses that focus on culture and inequality.

Research Interests

My past research has involved examining gender issues related to work-life balance, and issues of equity on state university campuses. I’ve also worked with a colleague in computer science exploring ethical issues related to computing, and most recently we’ve obtained a grant from the Mozilla Foundation to pursue topics associated with Responsible Computing. Currently, I’m collaborating with colleagues on pedagogical considerations related to intellectual empathy and research on the development of compassion, as well as topics associated with community engagement.

Recent Work

Greer, Colleen and Marty J. Wolf. 2020. “Overcoming Barriers to Including Ethics and Social Responsibility in Computing Courses.” Collection of Papers as Proceedings, Ethicomp 2020: The Paradigm Shifts in ICT Ethics: Societal Challenges in the Smart Society.

Wolf, Marty J., Colleen Greer, Marsha Driscoll, Siri Anderson and Tammy Bobrowsky. 2013. “An Analysis of Higher Education Using Floridi’s Information Ethics. Collection of Papers as Proceedings, Ethicomp: The Possibilities of Ethical ICT.

Greer, Colleen and Debra Peterson. 2013 “Balancing Act? Cultural Representations of Work Family Balance in the News Media.” Sociological Spectrum 33:2.

Greer, Colleen. Motherhood, Deficiency In. 2008. In Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, Edited by: John Hartwell Moore. Detroit: MacMillan Reference USA.

Greer, Colleen. 2008. “Engaging Liberal Education.” Metamorphosis, Volume XXIII, Issue 1.