A Day in the Life:  Distinguished Professor Steven Messner

Steven MessnerDistinguished Teaching Professor Steven Messner, of the Department of Sociology is one of the country's leading criminologists. His many contributions to criminological theory and methodology have led to his being named a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology — the highest research honor in the field.

Recognized for Excellence in Teaching in 1992 and Excellence in Academic Service in 1996, Messner has also published an impressive body of work with great impact on the sociological study of crime and deviance.

Although teaching is his favorite thing to do, Professor Steven Messner, on this particular day, is busy with non-stop meetings. He typically begins his day very early, responding to requests and issues that never seem to end. Those issues range from requests for specific articles to problems with students' accounts.

Urban China Research NetworkAfter answering his emails, Professor Messner gets ready for a meeting with the Urban China Research Network, of which he is group member. The other members of the network are from different departments: Chris Smith in geography and planning, Jennifer Rudolf in history, Zai Liang in sociology, and Cheng Chen in political science. The group is working to launch a three week, six-credit study tour in China for UAlbany students. They brainstorm about names for the program that would be catchy for both administrators and students. They even quiz me and I am glad to be of some help with my suggestions! They also discuss finances, living styles, and other issues that they will need to include in their presentation to President Hall at a future meeting.

Candidate and Professor MessnerBefore lunch, Professor Messner and I get a chance to chat about things that he likes. He has taught at other schools, but really likes it here at the University at Albany. He finds support among his colleagues in his department and says they all collaborate and help each other stay positive. Other than school, some of his favorite activities are reading, cross country skiing and traveling for work and pleasure. He especially likes to go to New York City, since he attended and taught at Columbia University. "Because of my ties to NYC, I'm a very big fan of the Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and the Knicks."

Kelly McGeever and Professor MessnerThere are more meetings in the afternoon, including one with the secretary of the Faculty Senate and interviews with candidates applying for jobs in the School of Criminal Justice and the sociology department. Later, he attends a colloquium presented by Zai Liang, his colleague in the Urban China Research Network.



"I came to graduate school with the explicit hope of working for Dr. Messner. He's an enthusiastic, motivating teacher and has been a great mentor."


Kelly McGeever


He also meets with graduate student Kelly McGeever, who takes his class Macrosociological Perspectives on Crime and Delinquency (ASOC666).

While teaching his classes may be his favorite time of the day, Professor Messner, like other faculty, aims to balance that with the demanding work of class preparation, research, writing, and the numerous meetings that make up a typical day in his life.


Catherina Somai

Written and Photos by Catherina Somai, Freshman


Related Links:
Department of Sociology
Steven Messner

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