Congratulations Jessica Collett - 2017 Sheedy Award for Excellence in Teaching Recipient

Author: Linnie Caye

It is a great pleasure to announce to the Notre Dame community that Jessica Collett, Associate Professor of Sociology, is the recipient of the 2017 Sheedy Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award, bestowed annually on a faculty member in the College of Arts and Letters, is named for the Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., a much-beloved former dean of the College. It recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching, informed by research, over a wide range of courses while employing innovative and creative teaching methods. For more information on this prestigious award, including a list of former winners, see:


Jessica graduated from Winthrop University with a BA degree in Sociology and History and a minor in Women’s Studies. She earned her PhD in Sociology in 2006 from the University of Arizona. Jessica was appointed an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Notre Dame in 2006, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012. She served as the DGS of Sociology from 2013-2016. She is also a Faculty Fellow in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, concurrent faculty member of Gender Studies, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, Environmental Change Initiative/GLOBES, and Poverty Studies.


Jessica is a social psychologist whose research seeks to generate and extend social psychological theory by working across theoretical and methodological domains. With her research she desires to further the field of social psychology but also enhance the world outside of the academy. Her research explores the profound effects of microsociological processes—small, everyday interactions—on individuals’ relationships, their selves, and inequality in settings such as family, schools, churches, and the workplace. In this work she draws largely from social exchange theory and symbolic interaction, two complementary social psychological paradigms. Her research has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, in Social ForcesSocial Science ResearchSocial Psychology Quarterly, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, to name a few. She is also a co-author of a leading textbook in her field, Social Psychology.


Jessica’s primary goal in teaching is to stimulate her students’ interest in sociology and to encourage them to recognize sociology’s unique perspective and its practical value. The letters written by those who nominated her and supported her candidacy for this award spoke eloquently of how she “gains energy from the ‘ah ha’ moments that her students experience on a regular basis” and how she exhibits a “mix of compassion, interest, creativity, and honesty that makes her an excellent teacher and mentor.” One undergraduate noted how Jessica never “shied away from difficult topics such as race, wealth inequality, and sexism,” and how, as a result of this, students were able to cultivate “the courage to address those issues as well.”


Please join me in congratulating Jessica on this achievement. And please mark your calendar for the Sheedy Award Ceremony, which will take place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, in conjunction with the annual Christmas faculty meeting and reception.




JoAnn DellaNeva


JoAnn DellaNeva, Ph.D.

Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies