Before he was a member of Appalachian State University’s faculty, Dr. Kenneth Sanchagrin worked as an attorney and before that, a law clerk for a county prosecutor and public defender office.
In 2007 Sanchagrin received his Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law. The following year while working as an attorney, he realized it wasn’t what he wanted to do.
“I saw issues in the system,” Sanchagrin said. “I thought about how I could better participate.”
Sanchagrin decided he could better participate from the academic side. He received his Master of Arts in Sociology from The University of Iowa in 2010 and his Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology from the same university in 2014.
Since 2014, Sanchagrin has taught as an assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Sociology.
He teaches classes in criminology, sociology of American punishment, corrections and research methods. Most of his students are pursuing the Sociology (BS) Criminology, Deviance and Law major.
Sanchagrin conducts quantitative research exploring criminological theory, social network analysis and the legal profession. Topics have included how friends influence criminal behavior, intimate partner violence, substance abuse and the increasing number of incarcerated women.
Sanchagrin often refers to his studies in class because he finds that ideas mean more to students when there are numbers to back up interpretation of the data.
He said he wants his students to look at crime in a more informed and analytical manner.
He hopes that by teaching students to analyze all aspects of crime – for example, looking at more than just the media’s crime reporting – his students will see that crime isn’t as simple as it is sometimes perceived to be. And, by looking at crime from a sociological angle, students can come up with ways to change the criminal justice system.