Office: 3139 - Blair
Michael Gillespie's Vita
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. 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 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, combining his passions for education, statistics, and sociology with a group of diverse students who have their own biography, struggles, and passions. When these worlds collide, as Carl Sagan writes, ‘something incredible is waiting to be known’. Entering the classroom is not just an effort to teach, but to connect with the social and educational needs of his students. Meeting students where they are as experts in their own lived experience—as no one enters the classroom as a blank slate—necessitates connecting with students as social human beings; that is, with respect to who they are as people and students.
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 coordinator of the Faculty Fellows Initiative, is the adviser for the newly formed 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.
Dr. Gillespie’s research focuses on the historical and contemporary circumstances of poverty and food insecurity at the national, state, and local levels. His work compares 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.
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. This has lead to the development of the Coles County Poverty Data Project, a repository of graphical data and information on poverty in Coles County, and the surrounding region. More information is available at: http://colescountypovertydataproject.wordpress.com/
For more information, please visit the Speakers Bureau Webpage.
Family Poverty; Welfare Programs; Applied Research