Dr. Valerie GunterAssociate Professor


Office Location

McElhaney Hall, 102-H


  • Michigan State University, PhD, Sociology
  • Texas A&M University, MS, Sociology
  • Southwestern Oklahoma State University, BA, Sociology/Psychology

Areas of Research and Teaching Interest

Social Theory, Scholarly Writing, Sociology of Knowledge, Environment and Society, Sustainable Communities, Political Sociology, Social Movements, Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Valerie Gunter's CV


  • SOC 320 Sociological Theory
  • SOC 337 Society, Globalization and Risk
  • SOC 352 Sociology of Religion
  • SOC 458 Political Sociology
  • SOC 452/552 Disability and Society
  • SOC 481 Special Topics: Community Studies
  • SOC 481 Special Topics: Environment and Society
  • SOC 709 Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • SOC 754 Social Inequality
  • SOC 765/865 Qualitative Research Methods
  • SOC 802 Classical Social and Organizational Theory
  • SOC 803 Contemporary Social and Organizational Theory
  • SOC 881 Special Topics: Advanced Qualitative Methods
  • LDRS 900 Dissertation Seminar


Val Gunter's teaching focuses on required undergraduate and graduate theory courses. Gunter has also taught the required dissertation seminar since its inception; her interest in scholarly writing is also reflected in her development of the undergraduate course SOC 300: Skills for Using Sociology in Your Career and Community. She has taught courses in qualitative research in the past, and is especially interested in qualitative data analysis, strategies for linking qualitative research with theoretical frameworks, and the use of mass media, popular culture, and historical/archival material in qualitative research. When she has time, Gunter teaches a variety of elective courses which reflect her interest in diversity and inclusion (sociology of religion, disability and society, social inequality), and political, environmental, and community sociology.

For the past several years, Gunter has been working on a dissertation proposal workbook which brings together insights gleaned from working with students in the dissertation seminar, serving on numerous dissertation committees, and writing a novel. A prospectus for this workbook, including substantial drafts of the first two chapters, was submitted for review to Sage Publications in July 2019. As part of this workbook, she is also pursuing inquiries into two separate topical areas as new lines of future inquiry: 1) generalized trust, and 2) placed-based identity. Gunter also has a long-standing interest in social constructionist approaches to human-environment systems. She currently serves on the University-Wide Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Department of Sociology's Undergraduate Education Committee. Gunter has a penchant for trying out new and innovative techniques in her classes.

Completed dissertations and theses chaired by this faculty member