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Southern Oregon University

Vincent M. Smith

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies

Department of Sociology & Environmental Studies

Taylor Hall 218

1250 Siskiyou Blvd.

Ashland, OR  97520

(541) 552-6802


Curriculum vitae (pdf)


Ph.D. 2011 – Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

M.S. 2004 – Environmental Science and Education, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 

B.S. 2001 – Biology – Plant Ecology, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO

Courses taught at SOU:

Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Science (ES 103)

Environmental Applications: Case Study Research (ES 310)

Sustainability and Natural Resources (ES 423)

Environmental Sociology (ES/SOC 420)

The Sociological Imagination (SOC 204)

Social Problems and Policy: Food and Nutrition (SOC 205)

Sociological Practice: Research Design and Writing (SOC 301)

Introduction to Social Research Methods (SOC 326)

Community Studies: Community-Based Research (SOC 310)

Sociology of the Family (SOC 312)

Food, Power, and Agriculture (SOC 425)

Research Interests

My research explores the complex coupled human-environment systems that shape the world in which we live.  I am currently looking specifically at food system design, community food insecurity, and the relationships between food policy and health.  I am also working on research with an undergraduate researcher exploring the nature of food purchasing decisions as they relate to local buying systems.  Overall, my research is driven by community and/or regional problem solving.  I partner with communities to understand socioenvironmental problems and then apply that research in decision-making contexts.  My work spans several traditional disciplinary boundaries including human ecology, environmental sociology, landscape ecology, agroecology, and human geography.

Though my research interests focus specifically around humans and the environment, I enjoy working with students from a wide range of sociological and environmental backgrounds.  I have advised undergraduate capstone research projects on topics as diverse as body modification to permaculture.  I am currently working with two undergraduate research assistants on collaborative research.  I welcome additional committed students with compatible research interests. 

In addition to my curent research interests I actively participate in the teaching and learning community at SOU through workshops, mentoring, and peer-assessment.  I also own and operate Silent Springs, a natural living community and marketplace, and I publish a daily blog on sustainability-related topics titled "The Organic Times."  My daily writing is referenced or shared on sites throughout the internet including widely read sites such as MSNBC and Natural Parenting.  I see blog media as an opportunity to translate sociological and environmental research for the public broadly in ways that are difficult through traditional publication formats.

Selected Publications, Presentations, and Projects

Smith, V.M., Greene, R., Silbernagel, J.M. 2012.  The Social and Spatial Dynamics of Community Food Production.  Landscape Ecology. December 2012, Forthcoming.

Smith, V.M. 2011. Growing Your Own. Wisconsin Garden Journal: Celebrating Our Past, Cultivating Our Future. University of Wisconsin Extension: Madison, WI. 

Smith, V.M., Silbernagel, J.M. 2011.  The Socioeconomic Value of Community Food Production: A Landscape Approach. (Presentation) United States Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology. Portland, OR.

Silbernagel, J.M., Smith, V.M. 2011. Spatial Narratives of the St. Louis River Estuary:  Connecting Science to Spatial Literacy and Stewardship.  (Presentation) International Conference on Great Lakes Research, Duluth, MN, 2011.

Smith, V.M., Behrens, A. 2010. Knowing You Make a Difference:  Community Food Security Assessment and Evaluation.  (Presentation) Community Food Security Coalition National Conference.  New Orleans, LA. 2010.

Smith, V.M. 2008. Environmental Belief Formation in Children:  A Tool for Environmental Education.  VDM Verlag Publishers.  Berlin, Germany.

For additional publications see my full CV