Karen Daugherty

Associate Professor of Sociology


  • Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Sociology (1987)
  • Certificate in French Studies, Centre d’Enseignement du Francais (1984)
  • Certificate of Biblical Studies, Worthington Bible Institute (1978)
  • B.S., Columbia University (1971)
  • B.A., Houghton College (1969)
  • M.A., The Ohio State University (1977)
  • M.S., The Ohio State University (1994)

Courses Taught

  • Diversity in the Workplace (Degree Completion Program since 1997)
  • Principles of Sociology (since 1998)
  • Introduction to Marriage & Family Studies and Culture & Family
  • Gender Relations
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Social Problems  and  Families in Poverty
  • Senior Capstone – Sociology Seminar
  • Race, Gender & Environment
  • Culture, Faith & Creation (Sociological Theory)

Professional Memberships/Associations

  • Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing Honor Society)
  • The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (CBHD)
  • The Disaster Research Center (DRC), University of Delaware
  • The 56th Institute for Spirituality and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
  • The Association of Christians Teaching Sociology (ACTS), now Christian Sociological Association (CSA)
  • Curriculum Transformation Workshop (Alfred U.) and Annual Saturday Alumni Seminar

Professional Experience/Achievements 

Soon after our family moved to Houghton from Africa, a sociology professor asked if I would teach a course in Houghton’s degree completion program. That was the beginning of 20 wonderful years of teaching motivated nontraditional and enthusiastic on-campus students. It’s a pleasure to teach where liberal arts courses and Christian faith are valued, which serves well our students who want to make a positive difference in the world.

For three years during graduate school I was a research associate at The Disaster Research Center, which was founded at The Ohio State University by two sociology professors. I conducted field research at large-scale disasters such as floods, hurricanes, plane crashes and explosions for federally funded Emergency Medical Services (NIH) and Mental Health Services (NIMH) Studies.

My research experience at the Disaster Research Center prepared me to do oral health research in the Central African Republic (CAR) which was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) Dental Unit, Geneva, Switzerland. The study, “Oral Health Behaviors and Beliefs: A Basis for Oral Health Care in Africa,” included survey data from the WHO Dental Disease and Treatment Assessment Tool and qualitative data from 100 interviews about oral health behaviors and beliefs. This study fulfilled requirements for my Ph.D. in sociology and provided invaluable information for the dental nurse training program during the 11 years we lived in the CAR.

As a graduate student I taught nursing concepts to small groups of students in hospital settings and sociological concepts to large classes of 80 students. As an Instructor at the School of Nursing (OSU) I introduced nursing students to community health concepts at a Native American Social Services Center. While in CAR, I taught public health in French to Central African nurses.

Teaching Philosophy

I get excited about sociology because I want to understand the beauty, complexity and challenge of life with diverse humans. Sociological concepts help me make sense of my life experiences. I was conceived in China; traveled to the USA when my Mom was eight months pregnant; was born in Fillmore, NY; and, from the time I was three months old, grew up in Haiti. I’ve lived in Houghton, Haiti, New Jersey, Florida, New York City, Ohio, France, Central African Republic and, since 1996, once again in Houghton.

I think of the classroom as a laboratory for collaborative learning where students and instructor are encouraged to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate material from readings, discussions and other forms of media. I expect it to be a safe place to ask questions, share ideas and explore connections between the sociological imagination and faith. To think sociologically opens a window to see in a new way with the possibility of a broader, deeper perspective.

Research Interests

  • Diversity
  • Global issues
  • Human and organizational response to disasters and catastrophes
  • Illness prevention and wellness
  • Concept of forgiveness


  • “Health and Wellness: A Global Perspective.” HC Alumni Presentation at Alumni Weekend, 1997.
  • Penn-York Annual Undergraduate Student Research Conference, with HC students presenting.

Other Interests/Hobbies/Enjoyments

I like to speak French, Haitian Creole and Sango; travel; and do photography & painting. My spouse and I enjoy hosting homestay high school students from China, Korea, Vietnam, Nigeria, and more.

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