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Rick Welsh Promoted to Professor at Clarkson University

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Clarkson University President Tony Collins has announced that Rick Welsh has been promoted from associate professor to professor of sociology in the School of Arts & Sciences.Welsh

Welsh received his bachelor’s degree in economics from The College of William and Mary in 1983, his master’s degree in food and resource economics in 1988 from the University of Florida and his doctoral degree in rural sociology in 1995 from Cornell University.

Welsh joined the faculty of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Clarkson in 2000 as an assistant professor of sociology. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2004.

His research interests focus on economic and social change and development with emphases on agriculture and food systems, the sociology of science and technology and environmental sociology. His research has been funded by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority among others.

His local research and outreach work includes interviewing and surveying North Country dairy farmers to measure their knowledge of, and attitudes about, anaerobic digester technology. He has also worked locally with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, the North Country Grown Cooperative and Gardenshare. In 2008 he was appointed to the St. Lawrence County Integrated Agricultural Task Force.

Welsh and his colleagues, Thomas A. Lyson and Steve Stevenson, co-edited a volume on Food and the Mid-level Farm: Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle published by MIT Press in 2008. In this volume the authors show that agriculture in the U.S. is dominated increasingly by very large corporate operations and very small direct market farms while moderate-sized farms disappear with negative economic and social implications for our food system and rural areas. Policy alternatives are offered to renew an agricultural middle-class and strengthen our food system in a number of important ways.

In addition Welsh and co-authors have published 26 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Agronomy Journal, Environment and Planning A, Social Forces, Social Studies of Science, Sociological Quarterly and Rural Sociology. He has delivered more than 50 conference presentations. He is also the author or co-author of numerous book chapters and reports prepared for government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Welsh has provided invited presentations to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council and the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy of the National Academies of Science.

He is currently the associate editor of Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems (formerly the American Journal of Alternative Agriculture) and is a publication advisor for Agriculture and Human Values. He is a member of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, the American Sociological Association, the Rural Sociological Society and the Society for the Social Studies of Science. 

Prior to coming to Clarkson, Welsh worked at Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development and the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture. He was also director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program at the University of Georgia. He served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines from 1983-1985.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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