Dr. Debra Swanson, professor of sociology at Hope College, has been elected vice president of the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA).

The office is a two-year commitment.  During a year as vice-president-elect she will organize the research sessions for the organization's spring 2009 annual meeting, which will be held in Dearborn in April.  During the following year as vice president she will be responsible for the overall planning of the conference, including selecting the theme and keynote speaker.  The 2010 conference will be held in Chicago, Ill., and will be held jointly with the Midwest Sociological Society with more than 1,600 sociologists in attendance.

Her election to the vice presidency is the second time that the NCSA has honored her this year.  During the group's most recent annual meeting, held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in March, she received the NCSA's "John F. Schnabel Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award."

Swanson has been a member of NCSA for 15 years and has been active in the organization's teaching section.  She has made several presentations on teaching during association meetings through the years, and will be the featured keynote speaker during the 2009 conference.

Swanson joined the Hope faculty in 1989 as a visiting instructor of sociology.  Following a one-semester leave she returned as an assistant professor of sociology in the fall of 1994.  She was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and full professor in 2006.

She has taught courses including "Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems," "Sociology of Gender," "Race and Ethnic Relations," "Social Movements," "Research Methods," "Data Analysis," "Social Stratification," and "Criminology I" and "Criminology II," in addition to courses in the First-Year and Senior Seminar programs.  Among her other service, she is a member of the college's Teaching Enhancement Workshop Committee, which she currently serves as director.

Swanson's scholarship includes articles in numerous professional journals as well as a variety of presented papers and addresses.

She has been conducting research on motherhood with Dr. Deirdre Johnston of the college's communication faculty.  Their most recent publications include a research study on work-family balance and a book chapter in "Family Communication," published by Allyn Bacon.  Their articles have twice been named finalists for the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research - in the top 100 in 2003, and in the top 20 in 2007.

Swanson graduated from Hope in 1983 with a major in sociology.  She completed her master's and doctorate, both in sociology, at Catholic University of America in 1988 and 1995 respectively.

The NCSA seeks to further the development of sociology as a scientific and scholarly discipline.  The NCSA has more than 300 members from a territory including eastern Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; Michigan; Ohio; western Pennsylvania; West Virginia; and Ontario, Canada.