Stephen Sweet

Professor, Sociology
School: School of Humanities and Sciences
Phone: 607-379-1415
Office: Muller Faculty Center 211, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Work, Family, and the Life Course


Ph.D. Sociology, University of New Hampshire. 1994.

MA. Sociology, University of New Hampshire. 1988.

BA. Psychology, State University of New York at Potsdam. 1985


I have a passion for teaching students not only about social processes, but also the skills needed to apply sociological perspectives to their lives and communities.   My work on advancing high quality teaching includes editing the journal Teaching Sociology from 2014-2019, as well as in the Handbook of Teaching and Learning in Sociology (2023) that I edited with Ithaca College colleague Sergio Cabrera

At Ithaca College, I teach a variety of courses, including introduction to sociology, sociology of work, and work-family.  Students in my classes research their home towns using data from the U.S. Census, they study family dynamics and the life course with in-depth interviews of their own family members, and they research their future careers using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By making sociological research relevant to student lives, I try to reveal how culture and social structures influence life chances and choices, as well as the power individuals have to humanize social relations. 

Much of my research focuses on the tensions individuals experience as they manage job and family responsibilities, examining adaption throughout the life course.  In my most recent books Changing Contours of Work: Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy (2021 Sage with Peter Meiksins), The Work Family Interface ( 2014 Sage), and Work and Family Policy: International Comparative Perspectives (2012 Routledge), I reveal chasms that separate workers from meaningful, stable, and economically rewarding careers.  Included in my publications are the ways that individuals, grassroots organizations, employers, unions, governments, and the international community can contribute to refashioning an economy that better serves the interests of working families.  I serve as the Executive Officer of the Work and Family Researchers Network, an international organization with over 500 members. 

My ongoing research on teaching involves a National Science Foundation funded project The Curriculum Mapping Toolkit for Sociology, disseminating and assessing a rich variety of resources that enable departments to advance their programs in accordance with the recommendations of the American Sociological Association.

Access to a Sage web video on my appraisal of how sociologists study work and opportunity can be found at,AAADbGWsArk~,5UmEqOPE2FJrPbMV8iB4XSPDtj6hz95g&bctid=bd-sociology-inte-ssdsow-AA04760