Michael D. Gillespie is Associate Professor of Sociology at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, which he joined after completing his Ph.D. at Western Michigan University.
Dr. Gillespie has the distinguished honor to teach the required applied statistics course in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology. This course, for which students most often only enroll because it is a program requirement, is therefore met with much anxiety and skepticism by Sociology and Criminal Justice majors. However, integrating statistical literacy with a pirate, props, M&M chocolate candies, and real world applications, Dr. Gillespie develops for his students a critical eye toward social statistics that, in hopes, lives and breathes outside of the classroom.
Inspired by bell hooks, Paulo Freire, and Parker Palmer, teaching sociology and statistics with a critical pedagogical orientation is an opportunity, not an impediment, to combine his passions for education, statistics, and sociology. Working with a diverse group of students who have their own biography, struggles, and passions is inspiring. When these worlds collide, as Carl Sagan writes, ‘something incredible is waiting to be known’.
Also to these ends-- reflecting his commitment to the whole life of the students—Dr. Gillespie serves as the coordinator of the departmental internship program, the faculty coordinator of the Faculty Fellows Initiative, is an adviser for the EIU Hunger Action Team, is an honored (and honorary) member of EIU’s chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary, and serves as an allied faculty member in the Women’s Studies Program.
Sociology 3630: Statistical Analysis of Social Data
Sociology 4131: Sociology of Poverty and Social Welfare
Sociology 4900: Current Issues in Sociology
Sociology 2830: Family and Society
Ph.D. (Western Michigan University, 2010)
M.S.W. (University of Michigan, 2003)
B.A. (University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2001)
Midwest Sociological Society
Society for the Study of Social Problems
American Association of University Professors
Currently, Dr. Gillespie is conducting a multi-year study of the food insecurity and associated academic, social, and health risks of EIU students. College students, in our present era, are often asked to bear much of the burden of attempting to complete their college degrees while also attempting to maintain a standard of living of subsistence and resilience; Dr. Gillespie's focus is to unwrap the level of risk of not having access to a healthy, adequate, stable source of food and potential impacts on the students' college experience.
As a scholar activist, he is currently looking at such conditions in the East-Central Illinois region, using government data and geographical mapping techniques to educate stakeholders about the incidence of poverty, inequality, and food insecurity in Coles County and surrounding areas.
In general, Dr. Gillespie’s research focuses on the historical and contemporary circumstances of poverty and food insecurity at the national, state, and local levels. His previous research compared trends in assistance programs for poor persons and families with other social, economic, and political conditions over time, and follows how policies and procedures generate and perpetuate social inequalities.