Guest Writer: Emily Cunningham
Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Tammy Reedy- Strother is the chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work, Criminal Justice and Family Science.
She earned her bachelor’s in math and sociology and her master’s in sociology from Marshall University before going on to earn her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Kentucky. Reedy-Strother also obtained a graduate certificate in women’s studies from UK.
Tell me about your family life.
I’m married to Dr. Eric Strother, who is a musicologist and music theorist and who also graduated from Marshall and UK. He teaches here part-time, and we have two sons, ages 8 and 10.
What are some hobbies you have and some ways that you spend your time?
I like to spend time with my family and friends as well as read all sorts of things, do a variety of puzzles, some crafts, and right now, we are making Christmas candy and cookies for friends.
I lead a Christian women’s prayer and accountability group and have for several years. My husband and I also like to watch sci-fi and disaster movies and University of Kentucky football and basketball games. I also love Christmas movies and music, but only at Christmas time.
We are also very involved in our kids’ activities. We coached their soccer team in the fall and are set to start coaching basketball next month. They are very active in children’s ministry at church, and we volunteer with that as well. Church and our faith have always played an important role in our lives, and I’m thankful we can provide opportunities for that for our kids.
When I was a teenager, I was a member of a clown ministry and performed for a few years in that, and I’ve worked in kids’ ministry, both paid and now as a volunteer, for many years. My husband and I met in our mid-teens at church camp and participated in campus ministries together in college and after, and we believe our faith is the best legacy we can leave our boys.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be an astronaut for a while, and then I wanted to be a professor. I have no idea why, but I remember distinctly that it sounded like a great path.
What all do you teach here at AU?
I teach many sociology courses—intro, social problems, stratification, organizations and institutions, sociological theory, gender and society, and a class in the honors program, justice and the good society. I’m also a co-coordinator of the women’s studies minor and oversee some of the capstone projects for that.
How did you end up here?
It was completely a God thing—I had never heard of AU but inquired about another job I had heard was coming open.
That search committee chair said that position was actually closed but asked if I had looked on the American Sociological Association website at the job posts. I hadn’t, but promptly did so and found this position, and it was like it had been written literally for me.
I had every specialization required as well as all preferred, and I had all of the experiences and other qualifications listed as well. I applied, was soon invited for a campus interview and was offered the position a couple of days later. My husband and I prayed about it, and I accepted the position later that week.
While I hadn’t heard of AU specifically before that post, I had heard of the Church of God in the course of my research on women in ministry because the church has ordained women since its inception. I have also found a lot of support for my research here at AU, which is very meaningful to me as a scholar and a member of the AU community.
Have you worked at any other schools?
Yes, I taught introductory classes while in graduate school at Marshall and then as an instructor immediately after graduating. I also taught at the University of Kentucky as a teaching assistant and then as a part-time and full-time instructor in both the Department of Sociology and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.
At UK, I primarily taught classes in social statistics and research methods through the sociology department, as well as classes on social inequalities and gender through sociology and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. I also worked as a researcher and data analyst for the Appalachian Center at UK.
How do you like it here at AU?
AU is a special place, and Anderson has become our home. My boys were babies when we moved here, barely 1 and 3, and don’t remember living anywhere else. We have friends here and a wonderful church family, and AU is such a big part of our sons’ lives as well.
What are some of your favorite things about AU?
I will probably give the same answer as most others: the people, my colleagues and friends, our students and the others who make AU so special. I’ve been involved in higher education since I was an 18-year-old first year student, but AU is different from other places I’ve been, and it’s because of the people. God is clearly at work in many lives here and is doing great things. I want to continue to be part of that.
Did you ever think you’d end up here at AU?
Not AU specifically, primarily because I had never heard of it, but I always wanted to teach at a small, liberal arts university and just felt that was the type of environment where I could invest the most in meaningful ways. In fact, it seems like God was preparing me for AU well before it came on my radar, and I’m thankful to be here and to get to work