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Sociology & Social Work Faculty


Abby Fuller, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology
Chair, Dept. of Sociology and Social Work
Abby's Homepage


B.A., Peace and World Order Studies, Colgate University, 1982

M.A., Ph.D., Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1995

I joined the department in 1996, coming from graduate school in Colorado. I teach courses in research methods, racial-ethnic and gender inequality, social stratification, social movements, and cultural anthropology. My research looks at different aspects of U.S. movements for peace and social justice, and at the junction of social and political activism and academia.

I have two daughters, Scout and Leo, and two sons, Jack and Beau. My partner, Neil Wollman, is a former psychology professor who is now a full-time activist. In my spare time (when I have any), I like to read just about anything, listen to the news on NPR, swim, visit my parents and sisters in Massachusetts, and work on my garden and house.

Abby teaches:
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
SOC/SOWK 222 Social Research Methods
SOC/SOWK 228 Racial, Ethnic, & Gender Group Inequality
SOC 275 Practicum in Sociology
SOC 311 Cultural Anthropology
SOC 328 Social Movements
SOC 345 Class, Status, and Power

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Brad Yoder, PhD, MSW
Professor of Sociology and Social Work


B.A., Sociology, Goshen College

M.A., Social Work, Indiana University

Ph.D., Social Work, The Ohio State University

Brad teaches:
SOC 223 Deviance and Social Control
SOC/SOWK 233 Social Welfare as an Institution
SOC/SOWK 244 Criminal Behavior and the Criminal Justice System
SOWK 275 Practicum in Human Services (criminal justice placements)
SOC 335 Sociology of Family
SOC/SOWK 340 Youth and the Juvenile Justice System
SOWK 350 Policy and Practice Issues in Social Welfare
SOWK 366 Social Service Policy
SOWK 477 Synthesizing a Professional Identity: Social Work Practice III

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Barb Burdge, PhD, MSW
Associate Professor of Social Work

Social Work Program Director

Social Work Field Instruction Coordinator
Barb's C.V.


B.A., Psychology (Music minor), Indiana University, Bloomington, 1994
M.S.W., Indiana University, Indianapolis, 1998
Ph.D., Social Work (Gender Studies minor), Indiana University, Indianapolis, 2013

I came to Manchester University in 2003 and felt immediately at home. I have several years of direct social work practice experience in the fields of child welfare and mental health. My current areas of interest include diversity education for social justice and social work practice with the LGBT community.

In my life outside of campus, my partner, Marsha, and I are restoring a Civil War-era home that has been in my family for more than a century. We recently had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I love to travel, too, and have spent time in many parts of the U.S. plus Paraguay, Argentina, Poland, Germany, Mexico, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. My next international journey will be to Italy. Spending time outside is important to me, so I go camping several times a year, bicycle and swim often, and work long hours in my yard. I am an animal lover, too. We have an Australian shepherd and two stunning horses.

Barb teaches:
SOWK 275 Practicum in Human Services (general placements)
SOWK 375 Integrating Theory and Practice: Social Work Practice II
SOWK 475 Field Instruction
SOWK 476 Field Instruction Seminar
FYS (First Year Seminar) Out of the Ordinary:  The Lives of Sexual Minorities

GNST 125 Introduction to Gender Studies

PSYC 110 Introduction to Psychology

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Robert Pettit, PhD
Professor of Sociology and Social Work
Robert's C.V.


B.A., Religion and Philosophy, Baylor University, 1967
Master of Theological Studies, Religion and Society, Harvard Divinity School, 1969
Ph.D., Sociology, Columbia University, 1986

My academic and intellectual path from where I began to where I am now was a long and winding road. At various times in my life I have considered careers as a "spaceman" or astronomer, an imagineer for Walt Disney Studios, or a college teacher of English, philosophy, or Christian social ethics. (Is it any wonder that I encourage students to explore across the liberal arts in search of their own hearts' desires?). Although I had two undergraduate courses in sociology, I must painfully admit that I found them to be terminally boring and irrelevant (a response I work hard to prevent in my own students). It was not until my second year of graduate theological studies that I discovered the pleasures and challenges of a sociological perspective (reading works by the sociologist Peter Berger), and I was hooked from then on.

If there are any threads of continuity that run through my sociological interests, they might include: (1) I am unceasingly intrigued at how humans construct and maintain socially shared meanings, especially concerning sexuality, gender, family, and religion. (2) I have an abiding fascination with popular culture, examining how it reflects the most commonly shared attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge of our society (for better or worse!).

Perhaps the most unusual course I teach is a January term course, "Disney and American Culture." In this class I follow the lead of anthropologist Richard Fjellman, who has written: "Not only does an analysis of WDW [Walt Disney World] require some attention to its political, economic, social, and cultural context, but that context itself--a particular version of America--relies in many ways on the stories told to millions of people by the Walt Disney Company. To explain WDW, then, is to explain a good deal about twentieth-century America." My class and I spend a week and a half on campus in intensive reading and discussion, then a week in Walt Disney World. Yes, we have fun, but I'm confident that my students would assure you that this is no "Mickey Mouse" course, but rather a challenging academic exploration of our society's values and social structures.

I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with my wife, Christen (pastor at Peace United Church of Christ in Fort Wayne); our two daughters, Tess (student at Franklin College) and Brynn (full-time student at Fort Wayne Ballet); our son, Grayson (student at Peace Montessori School in New Haven); one geriatric cat, Moses; and a fearless miniature dachshund, Maisie.

Robert teaches:
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
SOC 230 Aspects of Popular Culture (including Disney and
American Culture, American Culture and Politics Through Film,
The Sixties)
SOC 240 Sociological Theory
SOC 305 Self and Society
SOC 333 Sexuality & Gender in Society
SOC 347 Sociology of Religion
SOC 440 Senior Seminar

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Cheri Krueckeberg, MDiv, MSW, ACSW
Associate Professor of Social Work
Director of the Gerontology Program


B.A., Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
M.Div., McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL
M.S.W., Loyola University, Chicago, IL

Prior to coming to Manchester in 2004, I worked over 25 years in human services, primarily in Illinois (Chicago and Champaign-Urbana) and Washington, DC.  In my early 20s, it was a life-changing experience to live in the Philippines for two years, the beginning of a deeper search for social justice and a world with more compassion.

In work, I have done outpatient therapy, directed a shelter for homeless families on Chicago’s south side, worked in home-based services, as chaplain at Cook County Jail, counseled adult and adolescent sex offenders and survivors of assault, and worked as clinical supervisor and training director in a large residential treatment center for troubled teens. With elders, I’ve worked in many ways – support staff for S.U.S.I. (Seniors United for Social Improvement) on Chicago’s South Side, counselor for elders in inpatient psychiatric center after suicide attempts, facilitator of reminiscence groups for older women, counselor for elders with chronic or terminal illness, and with grandparents who were primary caregivers for their grandchildren.

Special interests in social work and gerontology are many:  social and economic justice, healthcare reform, cross-cultural relations, poverty, prevention, conflict transformation, reminiscence and life review, brain health, effective counseling with challenging clients, interventions for anxiety and depression, spirituality, advocacy for elders of color and older women, intergenerational relationships, and exploring the vast potential of elders to contribute meaningfully to society.  I’ve taught yoga to delinquent youth, at MU, at a nearby retreat center, and am faculty advisor to the campus Namaste Yoga Club.

Outside of work I enjoy time with my large family (mostly around Fort Wayne), swimming, gardening, yoga, weaving and spending time in nature.  I did much care for my elderly father for many years before his death, which was quite meaningful.  I love to travel, especially to New Mexico and northern Michigan, and loved a recent trip to Ireland to learn more about peace-building and about my own heritage. I volunteer on the boards of ECR (Education for Conflict Resolution) and the Garber Simmons Senior Center in town, where I have taught yoga since spring of 2007 (my oldest student was 91!) 

I love meeting so many interesting students at this university, and helping them grow, learn, and live out their dreams.  There has been much opportunity here to teach and work with colleagues about things I care about.  Every day is a new adventure in growth toward more knowledge and compassion.

Cheri teaches:
SOSC 102 Human Conflict
SOWK 110 Service, Empowerment, and Justice: Introduction to Social Work
SOC/SOWK 220 Social Gerontology
SOWK 274 Becoming a Skilled Helper: Social Work Practice I
SOWK 275 Practicum in Human Services (gerontology placements)
SOC/SOWK 371 Advanced Gerontology
SOWK 334 Human Behavior in the Social Environment
SOWK 350 Policy and Practice Issues in Social Welfare (health care)
FYS (First Year Seminar) Body, Mind, Spirit:  Insights and Practices from East and West

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