Zach Goodell


BS in Psychology at VCU 1987
MS in Sociology at VCU in 1990
PhD in Public Policy and Administration at VCU in 2005


My area of focus is social psychology, aka micro-level sociology, aka the sociology of everyday life!


By way of example, my dissertation looked at how faculty in the social sciences perceive the nature and purpose of both academic freedom and tenure. Implications being that what a person believes to be real, becomes real, in it’s consequences (W.I. Thomas). If faculty conceptualize these concepts in a way that theyserve a social good – the pursuit of truth wherever it may take us (academic freedom), and to be protected from outside influence when pursing or disseminating the truth (tenure), then the larger social good can be realized. However, if faculty perceive academic freedom to be license to do whatever they want with respect to teaching or research, and tenure as simply job security for them personally, then these concepts will only serve the interests of the individual faculty member.

I also take teaching and learning very seriously. I spent fifteen years, from 2000 – 2014, helping to create and grow a Center for Teaching Excellence here at VCU. As a Co-Director, I worked with a great team of people developing programs and working with both individual faculty members, and departments, from a wide range of disciplines to strengthen the teaching and learning mission at VCU. I spent a considerable amount of time working with early career faculty, who although are experts in their respective subject matter, often receive very little formal training on how to teach their subject matter, much less how to design a course, or assess the effectiveness of their teaching. Course development, assignment development, and professional development are all very near and dear to me and I hope to be able to contribute my skills and knowledge in these areas for both the department, the university, and the community.

Courses Taught

SOCY 101 – Introductory Sociology

SOCY 402 – Sociological Theory

SOCY 340 – Self and Society

SOCY 303 – Sociology of Deviance