Sociology Faculty

Sociology faculty members bring versatile academic backgrounds and plentiful professional experience to the classroom. With dedication to teaching and passion for the subject, professors guide students through hands-on learning and academic coursework.  

Dr. Tennille Nicole Allen

Professor, Department Chair
(815) 836-5799

2009 Ph.D. Northwestern University
2001 M.A. Northwestern University

Tennille Nicole Allen, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Lewis University. She is also the director of both African American and Ethnic and Cultural Studies. Her primary teaching and research interests are in the intersections of race, class, gender, identity, and place. She is the author of works on social networks, food inequities, the sociological contributions of Zora Neale Hurston, as well as African American intimate relationships, and African American cultural and creative practices. Her current research centers African American girls and women living in Joliet and Chicago as they understand and create resilient and resistive practices in their lives. She also engages and teaches experiential learning courses in community-based participatory research in communities in Joliet and Chicago.  

Dr. Thomas Brignall, III

Associate Professor
(815) 836-5371

2001 Ph.D Western Michigan University

Dr. Brignall specializes in the sociology of social change, multicultural studies and technology in society. Dr. Brignall is the author of two forthcoming books about the Internet's impact on society. He enjoys helping students develop, present and publish their research.

Dr. Jennifer Tello Buntin

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Director, Center for Community Research & Education
Director, Latin America & Latina/o Studies Lewis University
(815) 588-7087

2010 Ph.D., University of Chicago
2001 M.A. University of Chicago
1996 B.A., University of Oklahoma

Jennifer Tello Buntin is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Latin American and Latina/o Studies program at Lewis University. Her research and teaching interests focus on the Latinx experience in the U.S., international migration, social inequality and the intersectionality of race, class and gender. Before starting her position at Lewis University, she was a visiting assistant professor at the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University and held teaching positions at North Central College and the University of Illinois-Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago in 2010.

Dr. Carlene Sipma

Assistant Professor
(815) 836-5334

2013 Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago
1997 M.A. San Diego State University
1988 B.A. University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Sipma teaches courses which examine race, gender, and social class inequities, the causes and outcomes of violence, restorative justice and peacemaking, and inequalities in the criminal justice system. She is an alumnus of Loyola University Chicago where her dissertation research explored the reentry experiences of formerly incarcerated men returning to a suburban city from prison. Before coming to Lewis, she was a Research Associate at the George Washington University School of Medicine studying the impact of breast cancer on families and a Visiting Professor of Sociology at North Central College. was a Research Associate at the George Washington University School of Medicine studying the impact of breast cancer on families and a Visiting Professor of Sociology at North Central College.

Her research interests include race, poverty and place, First Generation college students, cultural survival and social/environmental activism of indigenous peoples, and the economic, environmental, and post-civil war structural violence experiences of the Maya of Guatemala.

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