Department Chair


Sociology News...

Announced on February 2, 2012, The Awards Committee of the Mississippi Historical Society, at its recent meeting, voted to present the Society's Willie D. Halsell Prize to Dr. Paul Murray for his article, "Father Nathaniel and the Greenwood Movement," which was published in the Fall 2010 issue of The Journal of Mississippi History.


Cheryl Posillico, a Siena College senior sociology major from Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, was honored at the meeting of the New York State Sociological Association Saturday. Her presentation, “Attitudes toward People with Disabilities,” was selected as the outstanding undergraduate paper delivered at the annual gathering of sociology faculty and students held at Siena College October 14 and 15, 2011.

Posillico’s paper demonstrated the positive results of involvement in Best Buddies, a program that matches people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and non-disabled individuals. Her conclusions were based on a survey that measured the attitudes of two samples of college students—those volunteering with Best Buddies and others with no involvement in the program.  Her research was conducted under the supervision of Siena Professor Paul Murray. 

Dr. Mathew Johnson '93, Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, and Director of the Office of Academic Community Engagement is the recipient of a new, $50,000 three-year grant from the Bonner Foundation ( ). The grant represents the Foundation's belief that the best strategic partner for growth and development of higher-level academic community engagement across the Bonner Network is Siena College.

The award and its accompanying letter recognize Dr. Johnson’s innovative model of service-learning and his proven ability to mobilize the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of our students for the good of our neediest neighbors and the social agencies that assist them. The award also pays tribute to the Siena community in which Dr. Johnson’s work has flourished, a community rooted in the Franciscan and Catholic heritage of service with the least of our brothers and sisters, a community that draws its inspiration from the saint who served God by ministering among the poor, the disabled and the disenfranchised.

The grant will contribute to the College’s efforts to become a national leader in the field of service, a key outcome of “Living Our Tradition,” Siena’s 2011-2015 strategic plan. It will bring to campus teams of faculty, staff, students and community partners from colleges and universities across the country for summer conferences on civic engagement. This, too, will assist the implementation ofour strategic plan by generating additional sources of revenue for the College. Finally, the grant will give Siena a place at the table of national organizations like the Association of American Colleges and Universities and in their timely conversations about the civic mission of American higher education.

In short, the Bonner Foundation award is both a well-earned distinction for Dr. Johnson and a welcome affirmation of Siena’s mission to build “a world that is more just, peaceable and humane.”

 Dr. Duane Matcha appeared during the Fox News story "State May Pay for Rapist's Heart Transplant" on April 21, 2011.