Please Remain Seated

Here’s a guest column I wrote for our university newspaper about a troubling trend we are seeing on campus recently: graduates leaving their own commencement ceremony before it’s over. I’d love to hear from others about what they think and whether this is happening on other campuses too… Next week four thousand ISU students wearing […]

Racial Bias and Police Shootings: “The Mind of the Village”

Here is an episode from The Hidden Brain, of one of my favorite radio programs that uses social science and storytelling to explain the hidden patterns behind our behavior and beliefs (it’s also a podcast). In this segment the host explores the role unconscious racial bias might play in recent police shootings of unarmed black […]

“Hooking Up” on College Campuses

Here’s an alarming look at the “romantic” norms of contemporary college life.  Lisa Wade, sociologist at Occidental College, has done extensive research into the unspoken but powerful rules that govern the culture of casual sex on college campuses.  She is the guest on this episode of the “Hidden Brain” podcast.

Paying the Price: How the High Cost of College Impacts Students and Families

Here’s an episode from the “No Jargon” podcast that discusses the difficulty many students are having paying for their college education and how this impacts them and their families.  It also grapples with the prospects of realizing the American Dream when the surest path to upward mobility is prohibitively expensive. The guest on this episode […]

Why Do Men Catcall?

Here is a link to an episode of “This American Life” I heard recently that explores the phenomenon of guys catcalling women.  If you’ve ever wondered why some dudes whistle, shout at or even grab women they don’t know, give it a listen.  It’s both fascinating and a little disturbing especially in the context of […]

Drinking the Kool-Aid

On a recent trip to the grocery store my daughter spotted a colorful Kool-Aid display, strategically placed at the eye level of a five-year old.  I generally resist her demands to buy  everything she sees at the store but the product placement professionals are much better at this game than I am. In any case, […]

The Secret to Happiness…and Good Grades

  Awhile back I was listening to the Ted Radio Hour.  The guest was a Harvard psychologist, Dan Gilbert, an expert on happiness.  He wrote a widely-read book, Stumbling On Happiness, and was describing a common experience he has after people find out about his research.  They want him to tell them the secret to […]

Introduction to Sociology

The general goal of this course is to provide an overview of the field and to introduce some key sociological concepts and ideas.  However, the…

About The Main Drift

I started this blog because I believe the world needs more sociology. In a time when we are bombarded by an overwhelming stream of information,…

Ten Things You Should Know About College

I’m currently writing a book that examines the disconnect between popular beliefs about what a four-year college education is all about and what it actually means.  My goal is to help close this “college knowledge gap” so that students can get the most from their education.