Instructor Eric Jorrey has been teaching sociology courses at COTC since 2015. His classes are available at the Newark and Pataskala campuses and online. He frequently publishes and presents research in sociology. Recent topics incluce ”Know Your Rights: DACA and DREAMers,” ”Giving Thanks: Myths and Realities of American Indian Issues and Rights,” and “Get Out the Vote!”. His research interests include social constructionism, racial and ethnic intergroup relations, juvenile delinquency, gender and crime, and marriage and family, among others.
Masters of Arts in Sociology from Bowling Green State University
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Ohio Northern University
What classes do you teach?
SOC-100: Introduction to Sociology
Students gain a scientific understanding of our social world and the impact others have on our day-to-day interactions. Topics include social organizations, crime and deviance, population demographics, politics, and stratification, among many others.
SOC-110: Cultural Diversity
Students gain an appreciation for the various ways that diverse communities interact with one another, both currently and historically. Topics related to race and ethnicity, gender, orientation, and religion are addressed.
How would you explain your field/academic area and what students can do when they graduate?
In my past syllabi, I have summed up my area with a quote from the sociologist Erich Goode, who states that an effective way to approach our field is “to make the familiar seem unfamiliar or the unfamiliar seem familiar,”
While I usually provide this class as a general studies requirement, a two-year degree can prepare students to continue on for an advanced degree, or translate to various other fields, including business, mental health, government research and opportunities within our criminal justice system.
How did you become involved in sociology?
When I was in high school, I loved seeing how individuals could engage in the same behavior, but be treated differently based on the social categories they belonged to. My grandmother always wanted me to go to law school, so I majored in criminal justice at Ohio Northern and planned to attend their law school after graduating. I wanted to practice criminal law, to either place guilty people in prison or keep innocent people free. However, the sociology courses I had to take opened a whole new experience for me — it showed me that rather than being reactive to harmful behavior, that you could analyze the causes and correlates of behavior and take proactive steps through evidence-based policy to make our communities a better place to live! I added sociology as a second major and knew I had found my academic calling, which I am probably more passionate about all these years later!
What do you enjoy most about teaching at COTC?
This is a hard question to answer, as there are so many rewarding experiences that are a part of the overall experience at COTC, but ultimately it is about my students — it is beyond rewarding when I can have them not only view their occupations, communities or even their own experiences in a new light, but experiencing that “ah-ha!” moment when the concepts we teach connect in meaningful ways with our students. I like knowing that my students have the ability to take the material from my class to make themselves more effective at their careers and in their community.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
This is another difficult question, but it would have to be hearing from former students and how the information that we covered in class helped them professionally after graduating — it is very rewarding to change the way someone can view our social world, or to hear that students are experiencing concepts from class in the predicted manner. A related accomplishment that I take great pride in is the way learning can increase exponentially — I love hearing how students are going beyond the classroom, to have meaningful conversations on these topics with their family members or co-workers.
What advice do you have for students?
Never hesitate to ask questions! It is always better to ask for help than to assume it cannot be given. I also think that being organized is critical for success — it can be easy to forget about an assignment or meeting, so planning your semester out is a significant key to success!
What interests, hobbies or talents do you have outside of the classroom?
I have been drumming for almost 30 years, so enjoy playing when I get a chance.
I also collect (and wear) shirts promoting fictional businesses from tv shows and movies (such as Latte Larry’s, Callahan Auto, or Del Boca Vista retirement community).
I am an avid Stephen King fan, collect all his books and movie adaptations, and could go toe-to-toe with anyone on trivia from the Stephen King universe!