Twelve years of marriage, three kids, four cross-country moves…one happy (Clemson) family.

Meet Andrew Whitehead.

Title: Assistant professor of sociology

Years at Clemson: Four

What I do at Clemson: I teach sociology courses in the sociology, anthropology and criminal justice department. I also spend a good deal of my time conducting research. I primarily study religion in the United States. I am interested in how religion both influences and is influenced by various contexts. To do so I examine large-scale surveys of Americans and congregations. At Clemson, I also work with my colleagues in our department to serve our students and show them (and their parents) how useful a degree in sociology, anthropology and criminal justice can be. Finally, I am also the assistant director of the world’s largest online religion data archive, the Association of Religion Data Archives. The ARDA exists to democratize access to the highest quality data on religion, and also provides a lot of great interactive resources to make the data accessible to students, researchers and journalists.

What I love about Clemson: First, I really enjoy my students. I can say with all honesty that these are some of the hardest working, respectful, curious and fun students I have ever taught. Second, I appreciate my colleagues both in my department and those across campus. Given I am an early career scholar, I have benefited from the time my colleagues have taken to invest in me both as an academic but also as a person. In that regard, I love that Clemson is a place where high quality research is expected, supported, and rewarded, where excellent teaching is the standard, and where I can find a good work/life balance. There is more to life than our academic careers and I am thankful that Clemson is a place that recognizes that.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I wouldn’t say it is an accomplishment per se, but I’m most proud of my family. I find a lot of joy in the fact that my wife and I are happier and more in love now than when we first met, and this after 12 years of marriage, three kids, four cross-country moves, and all my idiosyncrasies! I’m extremely proud of my two boys (9 yrs. old and 3 yrs. old), who are both non-verbal and on the autism spectrum, for all they overcome and how they love and forgive so freely. And I am also extremely proud of my daughter, 7, for how she loves and cares for her brothers without a second thought and has such a joyful spirit.

Where I see myself in five years: Doing everything that I enjoy doing now, but hopefully with tenure.

Last thing I watched on TV: A shark documentary with my kids (for probably the 20th time). They love sharks!

Guilty pleasure: One guilty pleasure is listening to pop punk and emo bands from my high school and undergrad years at a somewhat excessive volume. If it’s too loud, you’re too old. Another is making awkward comments to people about my early-onset male pattern baldness.

One thing people don’t know about you: A couple years ago, I achieved a top 10 national time for my age group in the 50 meter backstroke. I really enjoy swimming both in the open water of the beautiful lakes of upstate South Carolina, but also at Fike on the main campus.

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