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Meet the Professors

Frederic Hutchinson
Instructor, Sociology

Specialties: Sociology of education, race and ethnic relations.

Teaching full time at CLC since: 2003; also led a CLC study-abroad trip to China and the first-ever CLC service learning trip abroad to Lima, Peru. Previously, he served as program associate in the office of intercultural relations at Lake Forest College; also was an adult education instructor in the City Colleges of Chicago and a fifth grade teacher in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Professor Hutchinson has given presentations at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association and the Adult Education Research Conference. Recently, he chaired a paper session at the Focal Group meeting of the World Education Research Association at The University of Edinburgh. His academic honors include the Trustees Fellowship at The University of Chicago and the Hoggsdon Award in Sociology at Georgetown University

Subjects taught at CLC: Introductory sociology, social problems and class, race and gender.

Education: B.A., Georgetown University; M.A., University of Chicago, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

Main goal in teaching: My main goal in teaching is to provide students the analytical skills necessary to be great students and contributing members of American democracy. Also, I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to help students navigate college and make decisions that will have a lasting impact on their lives and families.

Sonia Oliva
Instructor, Sociology

Specialties: Race, ethnicity and gender, immigration and the sociology of education.

Teaching full time at CLC since: 2011; previously, she was a full-time instructor at Northeastern Illinois University. Professor Oliva also taught at Daley College and at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She has authored or co-authored articles in several academic journals, on subjects including shared intellectual property and issues facing Latino high school students. She also has presented papers at the American Sociological Association and the Midwest Sociological Society.

Subjects taught at CLC: Introductory sociology, social problems and sociology of the family.

Education: B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Illinois-Chicago.

Main goal in teaching: I want my students to be able to recognize the extent to which society influences most of what we do and think but that we can also change the course of society. To achieve this goal I often provide a range of different examples and plan interactive activities to highlight this two-way process. Students live sociology every day; they just don’t know it.

Suzanne Pryga
Instructor, Sociology

Specialties: Social inequalities, particularly classism, racism, sexism and heterosexism; gender studies, particularly gendered educational inequalities and gender-based violence.

Teaching full time at CLC since: August 2007; previously, she was a full-time professor at Prairie State College and an adjunct faculty member at Joliet Junior College. Prior to teaching at CLC, Professor Pryga served as a gender equity consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education’s Building Fairness Program and as a community educator for a local sexual assault center. She has authored Fairness: A Guide to Gender Equity in Illinois Schools and was honored with the Woman in High Esteem Award from the American Association of University Women.

Subjects taught at CLC: Introductory sociology, social problems, sociology of the family; introductory gender studies as well as sex, gender and power.

Education: B.A. and M.A, DePaul University.

Main goal in teaching: As a sociology professor, my goal is to challenge students to look at the world from a global perspective, as well as to inspire and empower them in creating positive social change. I believe my students should be active participants in the learning process, and the material should be directly connected to their outside experiences. Before walking into my classroom, many students think sociology is just another boring general education requirement. At the end of the semester, I hope they leave with the belief that they can change the world!

John Tenuto
Instructor, Sociology

Specialties: Sociology of popular culture, including the cultural significance and history of “Star Trek,” 1970s and 1980s nostalgia culture, the Amish and genealogy.

Teaching full time at CLC since: 1998; Professor Tenuto has been nominated 10 times for Outstanding Full-time Faculty, receiving the award three times in 2014, 2013 and 2005. He has also received the Illinois Board of Education Student Advisory Committee Faculty of the Year Award. He has given dozens of public presentations and media interviews on the sociology of the “Star Trek” film and television shows. In addition, Professor Tenuto has given public presentations on the Amish and the late actor Ricardo Montalbán, a native of Mexico who became a film and TV star in America. His research has been featured on WGN News, Al Jazeera USA News, BBC Radio, Wired Magazine, Chicago Sun Times and USA Today. He was named one of “Star Trek’s” most influential fans by New York Magazine’s website.

Subjects taught at CLC: Introduction to sociology; social problems; humanities honors seminars; sociology of “Star Trek”; sociology of “Star Wars”; sociology of 1970s popular culture; various classes for Discovery and Explore programs.

Education: B.A. and M.A., DePaul University; M.A., Tiffin University.

What I do to engage students: Exploring science fiction or popular culture allows students to engage course material in a new way. Teachers need to make their lessons relevant, and utilizing genealogy and popular culture allows me to make connections for students to unfamiliar sociological theories by utilizing something they know (their family history; favorite TV shows, or movies) as a starting point.