Iowa State University names new Sociology department chair

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Chester Britt, dean of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, has been named chair of the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University.

Chester Britt

Britt will begin his duties Aug. 1. He will succeed Paul Lasley, who is returning to faculty after leading the department since 2002. Lasley also chaired the Department of Anthropology, which will be led by a professor-in-charge who has yet to be named.

Britt said the department is in a great position to elevate its national and international profile and build and develop the undergraduate and graduate programs based on its focal areas: human dimensions of agriculture, criminology and criminal justice and social inequality.

“I think there is great potential for creating new academic opportunities for sociology undergraduate and graduate students that not only link these three thematic areas, but also facilitate interdisciplinary linkages with other academic fields at ISU,” Britt said.

Britt earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Arizona in 1990, a master’s degree from Washington State University in 1986 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1984. He previously served as chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Arizona State University and has held faculty positions in the sociology departments at Penn State University and the University of Illinois.

He is a member of the American Sociological Association, the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He is the author of numerous journal articles and was the editor of Justice Quarterly from 2005-2007.

ISU’s sociology department is jointly administered by the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Contacts: Chester Britt, Sociology, (617) 373-4529, Ed Adcock, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, (515) 294-2314, Laura Wille, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communications, (515) 294-7742,