MSU faculty member and administrator named head of sociology department

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

Nicole Rader (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State professor of sociology Nicole Rader is the new head of the university’s sociology department.

With 14 years of service at MSU, Rader said she is “very excited about leading sociology into its next chapter and looking forward to working with faculty who are producing important and timely scholarship.”

Rader also has served for three years as associate dean of academic affairs in MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. 

“I plan to use my knowledge of undergraduate curriculum and programming and apply it to the excellent undergraduate programs in the areas of criminology, social work and sociology,” Rader said.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Rick Travis said Rader’s experience as associate dean gives her significant insight as she steps into the department head role.

“I am convinced we could not find a better person to help the department as it moves forward in expanding its research and scholarly activity, growing the graduate program and enhancing the quality teaching,” Travis said.  

“She is extremely well-acquainted with all aspects of the university and has excellent relationships with various people around campus that will be a benefit in her new role,” Travis said, noting Rader excels in integrity, organizational abilities and leadership.

“Perhaps, most importantly is the guidance she will bring to the graduate program. She has directed several dissertations to completion, has served as the graduate coordinator within the department and, more recently, has served on a university-wide task force that has rewritten the graduate handbook,” Travis said.

Rader joined the MSU faculty in 2005 after completing her Ph.D. in sociology at Southern Illinois University. Rader has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Central Methodist University and a master’s degree in criminology from Drury University.

She has served as the gender studies program director, chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and chair of the work life balance committee in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. 

Rader was named the Dean’s Eminent Scholar for the College of Arts and Sciences in 2015.  Her 2014 Carolina Academic Press co-authored book, “Fear of Crime in the United States: Causes, Consequences, and Contradictions,” also won a CHOICE Award in 2015.

She was named to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women that same year and earlier received the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award from Alpha Kappa Delta sociology society, 2012 Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award and the 2012 College of Arts and Sciences Kari and Phil Oldham Mentor of the Year Award.

Rader won the 2012 Manuscript of the Year for her co-authored work “Social Disorganization and Neighborhood Fear: Examining the Intersection of Individual, Community, and County Characteristics,” in the American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Her research and teaching interests focus on criminology, gender and qualitative methods. Her works have been published in a variety of sociological and criminological outlets such as Social Science Quarterly; American Journal of Criminal Justice; Sex Roles; Communication Research; Women and Criminal Justice; and Criminal Justice and Popular Culture.

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,200 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences or the Department of Sociology may be found at or

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