Area of Study
Email Address

Appointed to the faculty in 1981, Dan Chambliss, the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, has written numerous articles and books, including How College Works (2014), with Christopher Takacs ’05, which received Harvard University Press’ Stone Prize for outstanding book on education and society. In 2018, the American Sociological Association awarded Chambliss its Prize for Scholarly Contributions to Teaching and Learning Teaching. His interests include higher education, formal organizations, social psychology, and research methods. He holds a doctorate and master’s degree from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from the New College of the University of South Florida. Chambliss has directed the Mellon Foundation Project for Assessment of Liberal Arts Learning and Hamilton’s New York City Program, and chaired the Sociology Department and the Committee on Gender Equity in Athletics.

Recent Courses Taught

Sociological Theory
Seminar in Sociological Analysis
Self in Society
Classics of Modern Social Thought

Research Interests

Higher education, organizations, social psychology, comparative research methods


  • Winner, American Sociological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching, 2018
  • Winner, American Sociological Association Section Prize for Scholarly Contributions to Teaching and Learning, 2015
  • Winner, Harvard University Press Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for best book on Education and Society, for How College Works, 2014
  • Teagle Foundation Assessment Scholar, 2007-
  • Principal Investigator, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants totalling $880,000, Hamilton College Project on Assessment of Liberal Arts Education, 1999-2010
  • Eliot Freidson Prize in Medical Sociology, American Sociological Association, 1998
  • Book of the Year Prize of the U.S. Olympic Committee, 1991
  • Hamilton College nominee, Council for Advancement and Support of Education Professor of the Year award, 1991
  • Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas, January-June 1990
  • Fulbright-Hays Lectureship, University of Iceland, fall 1989
  • The Theory Prize of the American Sociological Association, 1989
  • Medical Sociology Dissertation Prize of the American Sociological Association, 1982
  • Research associate in experimental psychology, Arizona State University, Summer 1977
  • Honorable mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program, 1976, 1977
  • Honorable mention, Danforth Graduate Fellowship Program, 1976
  • Herbert H. Lehman Fellowship in the Social Sciences, 1975

Selected Publications

  • How College Works, with Christopher G. Takacs (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).
  • Making Sense of the Social World: Methods of Investigation, with Russell K. Schutt (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press/SAGE, March 2003).  
  • Beyond Caring: Hospitals, Nurses, and the Social Organization of Ethics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996 [2nd printing, 1998; issued as e-book, 2013]).
  • “The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers,” Sociological Theory, Spring 1989.
  • Champions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers (New York: Wm. Morrow and Company, 1988).
  • “Making Theories Out of Water,” invited essay for Steven Kleinknecht, Antony Puddephatt and William Shaffir, Ethnographies Revisited:  The Stories Behind the Story (Routledge 2009).
  • “A Neglected Necessity in Liberal Arts Assessment: The Student as the Unit of Analysis.” Posted September 2007.  LiberalArtsOnline. Reprinted in Chris Schreiner, ed., Handbook of Research on Assessment Technologies, Methods and Applications in Higher Education, 2009. (Hershey, Pa.: IGI Global).
  • “The Flawed Metaphor of the Spellings Summit.”  Posted April 5, 2007.  Inside Higher Ed.
  • “Frame Analysis,” in George M. Ritzer, ed., The International Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2004).
  • “Doing What Works:  The Mundanity of Excellence in Teaching,” in The Social Worlds of Higher Education: Handbook for Teaching in a New Century, eds. Bernice A. Pescosolido and Ron Aminzade (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 1999).
  • “What Should We Teach?” review essay, Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 28, No (January, 1999).
  • “Is Bioethics Irrelevant?” review essay, Contemporary Sociology, Volume 22, No. 5 (September 1993).
  • “The Ethnography of Morality, the Morality of Ethnography,” review essay, Medical Humanities Review, fall 1993.
  • “What Phenomenology Can Do For Nursing,” review essay, Medical Humanities Review, spring, 1991.
  • “Why Not Read the Best?” review essay, Contemporary Sociology, May 1985.

College Service

  • Mellon Foundation Project for Assessment of Liberal Arts Education at Hamilton College
  • Hamilton in New York City Program
  • Chair, Department of Sociology
  • Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Gender Equity in Athletics
  • Chair, Dean of Admissions Search Committee
  • Planning Committee
  • Academic Council
  • African-American Studies Committee
  • Committee on Academic Standing
  • Staff supervisor for social sciences
  • Health Professions Advisory Committee
  • Research consultant to Board of Trustees Admissions Committee
  • Human Subjects Research Review Board
  • Assistant coach, varsity swimming team, 1981-89
  • Editor-in-chief, Hamilton Social Science Review, 1985-88

Professional Affiliations

American Sociological Association

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Yale University
M.A., Yale University
B.A., New College of the University of South Florida

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