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Faculty and Staff Profile

Catherine Mobley

Professor of Sociology
Internship Coordinator

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
University of Bath, England 1990

B.A. Sociology
Clemson University 1984

 Courses Taught

Introduction to Sociology
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 research covers a variety of topics and has been funded by several agencies, including the National Science Foundation, United Way of Pickens County, Greenville Health Systems, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the Clemson University Restoration Institute. A key concept and practice that defines her scholarship is “integration.” This characteristic is reflected in: (1) her strong record of empirical research and applied, community-based research, often resulting in a unique blendingof the two approaches; (2) the intermingling of the sociological perspective with other disciplinary perspectives,as evidenced by her collaboration with colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines; and (3) the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods in both her empirical and applied research endeavors. For example, in June 2018, Dr. Mobley was actively involved as a Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator or Evaluator, on four projects funded by the National Science Foundation. For one of her most recent projects, as of March 2018, Dr. Mobley is serving as Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation project "Explaining the Choice, Persistence, and Attrition of Black Students in Electrical, Computer, and Mechanical Engineering.” This mixed-method project will take place at two historically black colleges and two predominantly white institutions. The project is investigating four research questions: (a) Why do Black students choose and persist in, or leave ME, EE, and CpE? (b) What are the academic trajectories of Black ME, EE, and CpE students? (c) How do these pathways vary by gender and institution-type? (d) What institutional policies and practices promote greater retention of Black engineering students? Dr. Mobley is currently preparing a book proposal "Career Pathways in Sociology for the 21st Century and Beyond" the to expand perceptions about career possibilities for sociology majors. In 2014, Dr. Mobley was honored with Clemson University's Class of '39 Award for Faculty Excellence, an award endowed by the Great Class of 1939.

 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 76 dissertation or thesis committees for graduate students from a variety of disciplines.

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 30 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, 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:

Main, Joyce, Michelle Camacho, Catherine Mobley, Catherine Brawner, and Susan Lord. 2018. “Technically and Tactically Proficient: How Military Leadership Training and Experiences are Enacted in Engineering Education.” Forthcoming, International Journal of Engineering Education.

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, Catherine Brawner, Joyce Main, Susan Lord and Michelle Camacho. (2017). “Entering the Engineering Pathway: Student Veterans’ Decision to Major in Engineering.” Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Conference, Columbus, OH, June, 2017. (Paper received the “Best Paper Award” from the Military Veterans and Constituents Committee of the ASEE.)

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.

Yates, Adam, Ye Luo, Catherine Mobley and Erin Shealy. 2015. “Changes in Public and Private Environmental Behaviors by Gender: Findings from the 1994 and 2010 General Social Survey.” Sociological Inquiry, 85(4): 503-531.

Mobley, Catherine. 2015. “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, first published online May 18, 2015 doi:10.1177/0013916515586058

Mobley, Catherine, Catherine Brawner, & Russell Long. 2014. “Looking Upstream: Identifying and Describing the Entry Points into Engineering Transfer Pathways.” Published in the Proceedings of the Frontiers in Engineering Annual Conference. Madrid, Spain, October.

Brawner, Catherine and Catherine Mobley. 2014. “Motivations and Experiences of Older Transfer Students in Engineering.” Published in the Proceedings of the Frontiers in Engineering Annual Conference. Madrid, Spain, October.

Mobley, Catherine, Cindy Lee, John Morse, Jeffrey Allen, and Christine Murphy. 2013. “Learning about Sustainability: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar in Biocomplexity.” International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 15(1): 16-33.

Mobley, Catherine and William Kilbourne. 2013. “Gender Differences in Pro-Environmental Intentions: A Cross-National Perspective on the Influence of Self-Enhancement Values and Views on Technology.” Sociological Inquiry. 83(2): 310-332. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2012. 00431.x

Mobley, Catherine, Catherine Brawner, and Erin Shealy. 2013. Work in Progress: First-Generation Engineering Transfer Students: A Qualitative Study of Social and Cultural Capital. The Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference, October 23-26, 2013, Oklahoma City, OK. DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2013.6685118.

Sharp, Julia L., Catherine Mobley, Cathy Hammond, Cairen Withington, Sam Drew, Sam Stringfield, and Natalie Stipanovic. 2012. “A Mixed Methods Sampling Methodology for a Multisite Case Study.” Journal of Mixed Methods Research 6(1): 34-54.

Giacalone, Katie, Catherine Mobley, James Witte, Calvin Sawyer, and Gene Eidson. 2010. “Survey Says: Implications of a Public Perception Survey on Stormwater Education Programming.” The Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, 146(1): 92-102.

Mobley, Catherine. 2011. “Diversity, Service-Learning and Social Justice: Finding Common Ground through Mindful Service-Learning.” Pp. 83-103 in Trae Stewart and Nicole Webster (Eds.), Cultural Dynamics and Tensions in Service Learning. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Mobley, Catherine, Wade Vagias, and Sarah DeWard. 2010. “Exploring Additional Determinants of Environmental Behavior: The Role of Environmental Literature and Environmental Attitudes.” Environment and Behavior, 42(4): 420-447.

 Honors and Awards

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.