Life as an Applied Sociologist – The "Secrets of Success"

Paul Mattessich, Executive Director, Wilder Research
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Paul Mattessich, Executive Director of Wilder Research, will present "Life as an Applied Sociologist – The 'Secrets of Success'."

PAUL MATTESSICH, who received his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Minnesota, will reflect on his career that has spanned almost 50 years as an applied sociologist. Paul spent most of that time as Executive Director of Wilder Research, an organization known globally for its research to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. He will describe the major activities of his career and then reveal some “secrets” regarding:

  • Balancing the principles of science with the interests and needs of policymakers, advocates, program developers and community leaders
  • Maintaining scientific rigor while speaking in the vernacular
  • Finding peers for insight and support
  • Publishing in scientific journals and alternatives
  • Finding interesting employment
  • Enjoying sociology!

About the Speaker

Paul Mattessich has served as executive director of Wilder Research since 1982. He enjoys building a research team (now about 80 people) from diverse disciplines, who work with others—locally, nationally, and internationally—to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Paul lectures frequently throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, especially on topics of organization and service effectiveness, collaboration/partnerships, and major social trends. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications. In 2017, he brought the Speaking for Ourselves study, conducted in collaboration with immigrant and refugee groups in Minnesota, to the international Metropolis conference in The Hague, The Netherlands. He has consulted for 20 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland with youth development and civic engagement organizations that promote democratic skills to bring communities together and to resolve conflict. The Community Indicators Consortium awarded Paul their 2018 Hall of Heroes award.

He has served on the boards of the Hamm Memorial Psychiatric Clinic and of Minnesota Community Measurement. He serves as the first Chair of the Community Oversight Board, and has helped to develop that group to promote best research ethics in studies conducted by the University of Minnesota. He teaches one course per year in the Department of Youth Studies, School of Social Work, at the University of Minnesota. He received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Minnesota.

Paul loves the theater and serves as chair of the Park Square Theatre board of directors. You will find him attending shows in Minnesota, New York, London, and elsewhere! You will also find him several times each week, at 5:00 AM, at the Midway Y, attempting despite all odds to maintain “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

In 2018, Paul published the 3rd edition of Collaboration: What Makes it Work. He hosts the Talking Through the Numbers podcast and has kept a blog since 2005.

The Sociology Workshop Series

The Sociology Workshop Series provides a forum for faculty and students to present work and work in progress across a wide range of substantive areas, theoretical perspectives, and research methodologies.

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