Skip to content

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

Catherine Mobley

Professor of Sociology
Internship Coordinator/Career Advisor

Office: Brackett 130H

Phone: 864-656-3815

Fax: 864-656-1252

Vita: View

Educational Background

Ph.D. Sociology
University of Maryland 1996

M.S. Policy Analysis and Development
University of Bath, England 1990

B.A. Sociology
Clemson University 1984

Courses Taught

Introduction to Sociology
Professional Development for Sociology Majors
Environmental Sociology (Environment, Technology, and Society)
Social Problems
Policy and Social Change
Field Placement/Internship (Undergraduate and Graduate)
Evaluation Research (Graduate)
Biocomplexity/Sustainability (Interdisciplinary Graduate-level Seminar)


Dr. Mobley's areas of expertise include retention, attrition and diversity in STEM education; hunger and food insecurity; environmental sustainability; and medical sociology.

Research Interests

While at Clemson, Dr. Mobley has been actively engaged with interdisciplinary collaborations and grant-funded research, serving as PI, Co-PI, Evaluator or Associate Investigator/Research Associate on numerous research proposals. She has been involved with nearly 40 grant-funded projects, receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the United Way of Pickens County, and the Clemson University Restoration Institute. Dr. Mobley has also served on nearly 80 dissertation or thesis committees for graduate students from a variety of disciplines.

Her most recent project, funded by the National Science Foundation in July 2022 (“Developing a Framework for Assessing Identity Development, Retention and Success of STEM Social and Behavioral Scientists (STEM-SBS): The Case of Sociology” - $867,066; 07/01/22–06/30/25; Co-PI, Dr. Chloe Bird), will investigate the identity development of sociologists.

Dr. Mobley's intellectual accomplishments and contributions have benefitted from her quantitative and qualitative research skills, as well as her ability to combine research methods in particularly innovative ways. Several publications have been primarily quantitative, utilizing a variety of analytical techniques, including hierarchical linear modeling, sequential regression, and analysis of variance. For her qualitative research endeavors, Dr. Mobley has conducted content analyses of agency and policy documents and analyzed transcripts from in-depth interviews and focus groups. Dr. Mobley has recently been involved in projects that integrate qualitative and quantitative methods in unique ways to explore the principal research questions guiding the investigations. Her research on the sociology of education focuses on the characteristics and processes of student educational pathways and transitions, particularly in the engineering disciplines. This research area integrates several subfields, including policy analysis, organizational sociology, social psychology, and evaluation research.

Most recently, she and her colleagues have explored the development of the educational and professional identities and transitions of engineering majors, including transfer students in engineering, student veterans in engineering and Black students in engineering. She and her colleagues are developing a conceptual framework for explaining student transitions that incorporates the structure, content and timing of transitions, the degree of flexibility allowed for these transitions, and the institutional and political factors that shape the transition process. She is also applying these frameworks and methodological approaches to studying the educational and career pathways of sociology majors.

Dr. Mobley has more than 35 years of experience conducting evaluations, developing surveys (traditional and web-based), conducting in-depth interviews, and moderating focus groups. A Clemson University alumna, prior to her arrival at Clemson University for her tenure-track position, Dr. Mobley worked or consulted for a variety of organizations, including the RAND Corporation, the U.S. Department of Education, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Planning Research Corporation, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Research Publications

Partial List:

Mobley, Catherine. 2021. “Building Bridges and Broadening Horizons through Interdisciplinary Public Sociology.” In Leslie Hossfeld, E. Brooke Kelly, and Cassius Hossfeld (Eds.), Routledge International Handbook on Public Sociology (pp. 104-117). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mobley, Catherine, Catherine Brawner, Susan Lord, Joyce Main, and Michelle Camacho. (2019). “Digging Deeper: Qualitative Research Methods for Eliciting Narratives and Counter-Narratives from Student Veterans.” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. doi: 10.1080/09518398.2019.165944.

Mobley, Catherine, Joyce Main, Catherine Brawner, Susan Lord, and Michelle Camacho. 2019. “Pride and Promise: Identity Intersections of First-Generation Student Veterans in Engineering.” International Journal of Engineering Education, 35 (1A): 35-49.

Mobley, Catherine and Catherine Brawner. 2018. “‘Life Prepared Me Well for Succeeding’: The Enactment of Community Cultural Wealth and Transfer Student Capital by First-Generation Engineering Transfer Students.” Community College Journal of Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/10668926.2018.1484823.

Mobley, Catherine, Julia L. Sharp, Cathy Hammond, Cairen Withington, and Natalie Stipanovic. 2017. “Career Planning and Development and School Engagement: A Comparison of CTE and Non-CTE Participants.” Career and Technical Education Research, 42(1): 57-75.

Gillispie, Melinda, Catherine Mobley, Lynette Gibson, and Arelis Moore de Peralta. 2016. “Perceptions of and Preferences for a Mobile Health Clinic for Underserved Populations: Results of Five Focus Groups.” GHS (Greenville Health System) Proceedings, 1(2) November: 97-104.

Brawner, Catherine and Catherine Mobley. 2016. “Advising Matters: The Experiences of Engineering Transfer Students at Five Institutions.” International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(6): 2446-2459.

Mobley, Catherine. 2016. “What Matters When Explaining Environmentalism at the Watershed Level: Who You Are, Where You Live, What You See, or What You Perceive?" Environment and Behavior, 48(9): 1148-1174. DOI: 10.1177/0013916515586058

Honors and Awards

Recipient of the Excellence in Scholarship Award, South Carolina Sociological Association, February 2022.

Recipient of the Senior Researcher of the Year Award for the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, 2019.

Recipient of Class of '39 Award for Faculty Excellence, awarded to one faculty member per year, 2014.

Treviilian Professor, College of Business and Behavioral Science, Clemson University, 2015-2018.

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences | 116 Edwards Hall