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In studying rural poverty, Bailey examines impact of agricultural technologies, policies on state residents


Conner Bailey with his two daughters Rachel (left) and Rebecca (right).

Conner Bailey with his two daughters Rachel (left) and Rebecca (right).

Profiles in Excellence is a feature presenting Auburn University faculty who have been honored by the university or nationally for the top level of achievement in teaching, research or outreach.

Auburn University faculty member Conner Bailey says he became concerned about the environment many years ago. Bailey's recent work as a professor has included social aspects of forestry and international work related to aquaculture and fisheries.

His first 10 years at Auburn University were spent examining the environmental injustices relating to the siting of solid and hazardous waste facilities in Alabama and the South.

Throughout his teaching and research, Bailey has encouraged students and faculty to look at things university researchers do that either foster or hinder a more fully democratic society.

In recognition of his success in his research and teaching, Bailey received the 2013 Auburn University Award for Excellence in Creative Research and Scholarship, the university's top research award. Bailey is one of two winners of the award for 2013; the other is Pradeep Lall in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

"This award recognizes not only the performance of a single researcher but the focus and style of research in which I have been involved," said Bailey.

Most of Bailey's work and research is focused on the sociology of natural resources and the impact of technology on both resources and people. The issues of hazardous and solid wastes helped shape his views on environmental injustices. Bailey said that these injustices often were caused by the perversion of science and the institutionalized relationships of power that shapes natural resources and environmental policy.

"This award recognizes that I play well with others," said Bailey. "I pursued my research interests with teams of faculty and students."

Much of his research over his career has been directed toward forestry issues, particularly those consisting of technological and ownership changes. Bailey says he thinks that these changes are what have added to a legacy of rural poverty in Alabama.

"I have pursued these research interests as part of interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students, and to these colleagues I owe an enormous debt," said Bailey.

A professor of rural sociology in the College of Agriculture's Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn, Bailey received his Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell University in 1980.

Bailey (left) on a boat during his trip to Brazil.

Bailey (left) on a boat during his trip to Brazil.

An authority in rural sociology, Bailey joined the Auburn faculty in 1985. Before that he worked at the Marine Policy Center at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management. Bailey is now married to Lisa Brouillette and has two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel. Bailey said his daughters and wife are his biggest inspiration.

"My two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel, who have grown into intelligent and good hearted young women, have inspired me with their love and the potential they represent. My wife, Lisa, did more than her fair share in helping create the conditions that made this possible and for that she, too, has inspired me," said Bailey.

Bailey is also a recipient of these three recent awards: the Distinguished Diversity Research Award, Auburn University, 2008; Excellence in Research Award, Rural Sociological Society, 2007; and the Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence, College of Agriculture, Auburn University, 2007. He also received teaching awards from the College of Engineering at Auburn in 1994 and 1998 and recently served as president of the Rural Sociological Society from 2011-12.

Bailey said what he likes best about Auburn is that most of the serious researchers he knows are equally committed to their teaching.

By Katelyn Sides, Office of Communications & Marketing

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Last Updated: Oct. 17, 2013

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