Welcoming Sociologist Sara Cumming

Sara Cumming joined the School of Social and Life Sciences this past fall. We’re thrilled to have her! Anna Boshnakova asked Sara to tell us a bit about herself.

Sara Cumming: “My goal as a sociologist is to build students’ critical thinking skills to help them better negotiate the world around them.”

Sara Cumming

Photo courtesy: Sara Cumming (Personal archive)

Sara Cumming comes to Sheridan with 8 years of teaching experience in post-secondary education. In her past teaching position Sara was nominated for an award for innovative teaching which recognized her zest for the process of education and her dedication to her students. Her interactive teaching pedagogy fosters an inclusive environment where students are encouraged to interact with the topics at hand in ways that best speak to their own learning strategies.

Sara’s passion for teaching was inspired by her belief that knowledge is powerful and can be life altering. Her trajectory into this career was not a linear path rather a long windy road with many steep hills.  She started her first university class as a young mother and by the time she finished her Bachelor’s degree in sociology she was the lone mother of two daughters.  It was during this time that Sara became enchanted with the discipline of Sociology.  The ability to link individual problems to broader public issues inspired Sara to interrogate the many types of social inequality which resulted in her obtaining a Masters in Social Justice and Equity Studies.  Sara went on to do her PhD at the University of Waterloo in the department of sociology under the social inequality stream.  She is planning on defending her PhD in the coming months.

Her doctoral work examined the lives of lone mothers residing in Toronto, Ontario, as they attempted to find employment, provide care for their children and fulfill the rules and regulations required by Ontario Works, Ontario’s social assistance program. Professor Cumming’s dissertation topic reflects her areas of interest as she teaches and publishes in the areas of gender, families, qualitative methods, social policy and social inequality. She has published articles on the Canadian welfare state, lone mothers’ experiences receiving social assistance and lone mothers’ resiliency. She has also published multiple chapters on class and inequality in introduction to sociology textbooks.

As Sara embarks on her career here at Sheridan she now has two daughters and two step-daughters who are between the ages of 12 and 19 who she credits for keeping her up-to-date with the student population.  She is currently teaching Introduction to Sociology and Human Relations at the HMC and Trafalgar campuses.  In both classes she has infused current media and technology as ways to get the students to interact with course materials in ways that speak to their everyday worlds. Sara looks forward to watching her students and Sheridan grow over the years to come.

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