Gate Staff Profile: Mark Edwards

Alexander Golden

Dean of Institutional Diversity and Associate Professor of Sociology Mark Edwards has known since his teens what he wanted to be when he grew up. His father had a degree in sociology and encouraged him to read.

While earning his doctorate at South Dakota University, Edwards studied marriage and sexual roles, but he was steered to deviant behavior and criminology. Members of the faculty at South Dakota told him that as a man he would have a hard time finding a position, because marriage and sexual roles was a field of sociology traditionally studied by women.

After finishing his doctorate, Edwards taught at St. Claude State in Minnesota for two years and at Westville in Massachusetts on teacher exchange. After teaching in Massachusetts he decided to leave the Midwest.

Edwards came to Colgate after reading job listings before a faculty meeting at St. Claude. A colleague there mentioned she had a friend at Colgate and could get him an interview; that friend was Rhonda Levine.

“During that time I interviewed for many jobs and was offered many jobs, but this was the job I wanted the most,” Edwards said.

Colgate University is the kind of school at which Edwards always knew he wanted to teach. He has been here for eight years.

At first he did not see himself as an administrator, but when the Department of Institutional Diversity was created three years ago Dean Weinberg felt Edwards would be the perfect person to run it. As Dean of Institutional Diversity, Edwards oversees college affirmative action and makes sure that Colgate will be attractive to prospective students from diverse backgrounds.

Although he enjoys being Dean of Institutional Affairs, teaching is his first love. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 1:20 are his favorite times of the week.

At age 22 Edwards gave his first lecture to a room of 225 students. Hearing 225 people laugh at your joke is one of the greatest feelings in the world, he said. From that moment, Edwards was bound to be a college professor.

Criminology is the study of what could cause someone to become a criminal. This is also the subject of his class at Colgate, SOAN 320: Social Deviance. Some mistakenly believe that criminology is the same as criminal justice; however criminology is interested in the causes of crime while criminal justice focuses on the consequences. Prostitution and pimping fall in the realm of criminology because in most places they are against the law.

His first book, If Only We Were White, is currently being finished and is to be published by the end of next summer. It is based on an interview with the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Arkansas.

. As an undergraduate, he interviewed 1200 prison inmates in Oklahoma. More amazingly, Edwards has been interviewing prostitutes for the past seven years. Inspired by a documentary about the sex trade in Eastern Europe, Edwards has traveled to Prague, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam, London, San Juan and two counties of Nevada where prostitution is legal. He hopes to travel to Thailand in the next year.