Samuel R. Lucas, Faculty Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Professor in the University of California-Berkeley Department of Sociology, and an affiliate of the University of California's Department of Sociology and Demography, has research interests in social stratification, sociology of education, research methods, and research statistics.


Sociology Department
University of California-Berkeley
410 Barrows Hall #1980
Berkeley, California 94720-1980


Lucas E-mail Policy


By Appointment


University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley Sociology

Sociology Faculty

Sociology Graduate Students

Sociology Staff

Berkeley Demography

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Institute for Research on Poverty

E-Mail Policy


--Students I already know who are not taking classes with me currently
I look forward to hearing from you in whatever way you find most convenient. If you use e-mail it may be helpful for you to remind me of how we met if we have not conversed in awhile.

--Students I already know who are taking classes with me currently
Please see your class notes concerning the e-mail policy for the class you are taking.

--Local Students I do not know
Berkeley students interested in exploring taking a class, working on a research project, or other possibilities are encouraged to use e-mail only to arrange a face-to-face appointment.

--Non-local Students I do not know
Students of other institutions interested in contacting me are encouraged to use the hardcopy address located on my main page, and to send me an old-fashioned letter outlining their questions and concerns. Please be sure to indicate a way for me to contact you.


Acquaintance? I look forward to receiving your note, however you prefer to send it.

Acquaintance I have yet to meet? I look forward to receiving your note, too. Please make a special effort in your e-mail to indicate why you are contacting me especially. If that is a tough case to make--and, I can't imagine it would be easy given the hundreds of scholars working on exciting topics--please send your query to me via hardcopy mail using the hardcopy mail address located on my home-page.


E-mail is a wonderful resource. However, it is also greatly transforming the conditions of work and non-work. Sociologists, exposed to Weber's iron cage metaphor, certainly recognize the positive and negative implications of technological change. But, paraphrasing Marx (roughly, I admit), understanding is one thing, but the point is to change it (back, in this case). I observe that many faculty suffer under an onslaught of e-mail, and struggle to figure out how to respond. Some simply do not respond, i.e., mail from those persons they do not already know is simply ignored.

Although an understandable response, this is unfortunate. When I had just graduated from college, faculty I did not personally know made themselves available to me. I have always been grateful to William Julius Wilson, Adam Gamoran, Dan Lortie, Bob Hauser, Nora Cate Schaeffer, Rob Mare, Gerald Marwell, Harriet Zuckerman, and many more, who answered my letters, opened their doors to me, and encouraged my development, simply because I asked. The only way to even attempt to begin to re-pay their generosity is to make myself available to others who approach me with a question and a desire to learn. If for no other reason, then, I certainly want to be available to students and others who seek to further explore the social world.

However, when I sought faculty assistance the costs, especially the time costs, of doing so were higher. One could not send, at the cost of a few keystrokes, one hundred or one thousand or ten thousand letters all around the nation or the world, seeking assistance. The drastic decrease in costs both allows the number of requests to outstrip anyone's ability to satisfy the demand, and makes it impossible for anyone to differentiate between those persons seeking their particular counsel and those sending the academic equivalent, well-meaning or not, of spam. The desire, of course, is to respond to the former, and ignore the latter.

Because I want to be available, but not overwhelmed, I have drafted this page which outlines my desires with respect to e-mail. I hope this will help you receive the assistance you seek.