Kerri NicollDr. Kerri Leyda Nicoll

Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


About Me

It is my core belief as both a teacher and a learner that every educational situation is an opportunity to challenge our perceptions about the world, as we encounter ideas and perspectives different from our own. In keeping with this belief, my primary goal as an educator is to facilitate not only students’ acquisition of knowledge but also their understanding of themselves as learners, thinkers, and members of a broader community. I work hard to get students engaged outside of the classroom, learning about – and experiencing - the local community and thinking about their role in the broader society.

My classes tend to be reading- and writing-intensive but also highly interactive, as I believe that both teachers and students are responsible for creating a classroom atmosphere that allows for genuine exploration and learning.

I love being a part of the MCLA community where I can work with students on their academic pursuits as well as their development as strong contributors to their community, society, and world!

Special Projects/Activities

I use community-engaged learning in a number of my courses, asking students to connect their classroom learning with practical experience. Some examples include one-on-one interviews with social workers (Introduction to Social Work), service learning in local community organizations (Introduction to Social Work), and leadership or and participation in local community organizing projects (Community Organizing).

In 2015, I completed the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Community Outreach and Civic Engagement Training, which helped me to form stronger connections with local community.

Research/Creative Interests

My research focuses on how low-income people in the U.S. perceive and experience the public policies designed to assist them. I use interpretive research methods to understand how people make choices about which antipoverty programs to use and what it is like for them to interact with those programs. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I draw on literature in Social Work, Political Science, Sociology, Public Policy, and related fields in an effort to bridge the experiences of real people and the conversations about poverty that occur in social and political arenas.

In addition to my research, I am deeply committed to engagement with the local community and efforts to link students with social justice work in the Northern Berkshires.

Contact Information

Office: Murdock Hall 310



Office Hours

Tuesdays 9:30-11:30 am

Wednesdays 12:00-2:00 pm

Murdock Hall 310



Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2014

M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania, 2007

M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary, 2001

B.A., Connecticut College, 1998


Courses Taught

SOWK 241 Introduction to Social Work

SOWK/SOCI 540 Social Work/Criminal Justice/Sociology Internship

SOWK/POSC 340 Inequality & Social Policy

SOWK 355 Community Organizing

SOWK 395 Poverty & Place