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Welcome to PCC!

My name is Dr. Kim Smith and I love exploring how the world works, the many ways that societies are changing, and different solutions to social problems.  I have taught sociology at PCC since 1996, including: Introduction to Sociology; Social Change; Social Problems; Introduction to Environmental Sociology; Sociology of Gender; Social Movements; the Community Service and Action Seminar; and Cooperative Education, to support our valuable internship programs.

My teaching philosophy is “educate ~ empower ~ engage!”  I believe strongly in applied learning and hope that sociology can educate and empower students to examine tough topics, explore ways to be change agents, and realize that they can make a difference in their communities.


I grew up in California and went to Whitman College, in Walla Walla, WA, where I received a B.A. in sociology, minoring in French and economics, and was an exchange student in France.  I attended graduate school at Indiana University, in Bloomington, IN, where I received an M.A. and Ph.D., in sociology, with specialities in environmental sociology, social movements, and international environmental policy, from the top-ranked School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In addition to teaching, I have served as PCC’s Service-Learning Coordinator, the Teaching Learning Center Co-Director, providing staff and faculty development for the college, and the Summer Sustainability Institute Coordinator, funded by the National Science Foundation.  I am currently the Sociology Faculty Department Chair and am enjoying supporting our instructors, sociology program, and social science pathway.

I also support the Sustainability Leadership Council at PCC and co-founded the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN), which was recognized as a Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE), by United Nations University and UNESCO, and help mentor other RCEs in the U.S.  There are now over 170 RCEs around the world!  Let me know if you are interested in sustainability opportunities.

Outside in nature, looking at my phone.

Sociology is a wonderful discipline that allows us to reflect on and understand the world around us and our roles within it.  Thinking like a sociologist can help you gain the skills to study how our social contexts and society shape us.  With all that is going on in the world, I hope that our sociology classes will help you find new ways to explore society and the many social changes happening around us.

I wish you a successful and meaningful experience at PCC!

Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions: