Dr. Neil Quisenberry, Professor of Sociology
• Instructs sociology and criminal justice
• Joined the faculty in 2002
• 2013 Exemplary Teacher Award, given by
the United Methodist Church Board of
• Teaching interests: Principles of sociology,
criminal justice, deviant behavior, social
theory, juvenile delinquency, social
stratification research methods
• Research interests: Hate crimes, juvenile
delinquency, deviance, criminological
theory, distracted driving
Why do teenagers text message behind the wheel, knowing it is illegal and dangerous? Dr. Neil Quisenberry’s research shows that distracted driving, like other risky behaviors, is significantly related to low self-control. A paper he co-published concludes that college students who exhibit low self-control are also more likely to text, drink, or not wear a seat belt behind the wheel.
“Distracted driving has been a big news item recently, especially with all the major cell carriers joining the ‘It Can Wait’ campaign,” he said. “There are some interesting behaviors going on among adolescents. Even though 35 percent of teens agreed in a survey that they are likely to be killed if they text while driving, an astonishing 57 percent admit that they still engage in this behavior.”
Dr. Quisenberry thinks TV crime shows are contributing to the growing number of his sociology and criminal justice majors. He wouldn’t mind seeing this trend continue. “Most of my students won’t be working in high tech labs solving difficult cases in one hour, minus the commercials, but these shows do demonstrate what exciting and lively fields sociology and criminology can be.”
Known for classes that are entertaining as well as educational, he is known as an innovative and caring professor.
“At McKendree, it’s more than about teaching classes, it’s about joining a community.”
“I had hoped for this when I finished graduate school, and I got it when I joined McKendree,” Dr. Quisenberry said. “This is not something my colleagues usually experience, but if they come to McKendree, they will see it first-hand. I invited an author to come to campus a few years ago and he and I went out to lunch and dinner with my students. He spent a day with me in my classes and got to know me and my students quite well.
“He just sent me a copy of his new book and inside the front cover he wrote, ‘To the only Prof that I’ve ever met who does wake-up calls for his students.’ I think that just about sums up the McKendree experience.”
Learn more about McKendree University or the Sociology / Criminal Justice program.