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Ronald Althouse, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology, Emeritus

Dr. Althouse is a professor emeritus of sociology and director of the Survey Research Center at West Virginia University. He also served as chairperson of the department from 1989 through 2001. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota. 

Dr. Althouse’s research and publications have focused on worker’s risk and worker’s health, dealt with statewide health care delivery, and assessed rural health systems. He has extensive research and consulting experience in the mining industry including mine rescue and recovery, mine management processes, as well as safety and miner health. His NIOSH published study of occupational stress among underground coal miners remains a key research monograph on psycho-social aspects of miners work relations and conditions in the United States. In addition to studies about present day conditions affecting the safety of underground coal workers, Dr. Althouse has written about coal management’s responsibilities for significantly improving mining operations and making mines safer places to work. More recently, Dr. Althouse has contributed to the literature on athletic participation, and is committed to efforts focused on social justice in sports. Collaborative research on discrimination in sports has contributed to publication of highly regarded studies on racism in collegiate athletics, particularly the African American athlete’s experience.

As director of WVU's Survey Research Center, he has consulted on an array of statewide problems and university projects, covering issues as diverse as the well-being of West Virginia’s children, citizen expression of environmental risk, understanding vision health among the elderly, and changes in the court’s responsibility for dealing with child abuse and neglect. Dr. Althouse’s more than two decades of experience ensures a broad range of contacts with the mining industry and health care delivery organizations and provides knowledge of conditions affecting the well being and participation of people in non-metropolitan areas and rural communities.  

Courses Taught

  • SOCA 301 Sociological Theory& reader
  • SOCA 304 Complex Organizations
  • SOCA 333 Work and Work Places
  • SOCA 511 Survey Research Methods
  • SOCA 522 Constructing Sociological Theory