Professor of Sociology


Ph.D. University of California, Irvine


Dennis Downey has been a member of the Sociology Program at CSUCI since 2007, and served as Chair of Sociology and Anthropology from 2013 to 2020. His research addresses social movements and social changes associated with issues of diversity. He is particularly interested in the strategies and organizational forms developed by leaders, and movement phases outside of the peaks of mobilization. Much of his current research focuses on human relations organizations, both historical and contemporary. He is also active in pedagogical research, and was recently awarded a Carla Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant from the American Sociological Association to assist with initiatives designed to address quantitative literacy among his students.

Dennis regularly teaches core courses across the curriculum – from Introduction to Sociology to the Capstone course, in addition to basic and advanced methods courses. He also particularly enjoys teaching a course on Social Movements. He is a strong proponent of Community-Based Research and integrates CBR projects into his courses when possible. Since 2011, he has been the Faculty Director for CI’s Center for Community Engagement where he promotes service-learning and all of the benefits that it has to offer.

Dennis enjoys long romantic discussions about quantitative literacy with his wife, Brooke, who recently completed her doctorate in Math Education. When he has time, he enjoys playing traditional Irish music on the wooden flute and bodhrán.

Representative Courses Taught

  • SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 202 Introduction to Research Methods
  • SOC 310 Research Methods
  • SOC 352 Social Movements
  • SOC 499 Sociology Capstone


Social Movements; Civil Rights; Human Relations; Community-Based Research; Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

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