Doug Klayman, PhD sociology ’98, is working to bring sociologists out of their offices and into the communities they study. “We are seen as being separated from the world we do research in, and I don’t see this as an advantage to a social scientist at all,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to do work where I’m involved, not only as a researcher, but as a sociologist in the community.”
Focus on Collaboration
After 14 years working for companies focused on federal grant research, Klayman formed Social Dynamics, a consulting company that works primarily with nonprofit and community-based organizations in the D.C. metropolitan area.
Now, he says, “I don’t just do research—I facilitate community groups and consult with nonprofit executives. Through my work, I try to empower people to think of themselves as agents of change for themselves and their communities. Socioeconomically disadvantaged people can come together and make a difference in their communities if they realize they have the power to do so.”
Bringing Public Sociology to AU
Since fall 2007, Klayman has taught the Department of Sociology’s public sociology seminar, which focuses on social marketing, community activism, and program evaluation. He is also the coordinator of the department’s MA concentration in public sociology.
Recently developed under a grant from the Sloan Foundation, the concentration emphasizes the hands-on, civic approach that has characterized Klayman’s recent work. “Public sociologists use their sociological training to become civically engaged, help solve social problems and improve social policies themselves,” he says. “It’s the concentration I would have wanted as a graduate student if it had existed back then.”