Summer Roberts, Ph.D.Summer Roberts, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Social Sciences
Library 263
Bluffton campus

Gerontology Certificate Coordinator | Co-Director of USCB's Quality Enhancement Plan


Ph.D., Florida State University, Sociology, 2013
M.S., Florida State University, Sociology, 2010
B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, Public Policy, 2006

 I find sociology exciting because I can spend my days exploring so many different aspects of social life. Our discipline gives students the opportunity to truly become engaged citizens. I love how our discussions, in class or one-on-one, lead to students’ “ah-ha” moments, as they critically examine the world around them.

My interests in both teaching and research focus on intersections of aging and gender from a social psychological perspective. Some of my favorite courses include Sociology of Aging, Individual & Society, and Sociology of Death & Dying. However, I also enjoy teaching Introductory Sociology and a wide variety of upper-level courses, both face-to-face and online. One of my teaching goals is creating an interactive classroom, regardless of the mode of delivery, so I am constantly working with new technology that allows students to share their perspectives and engage with each other. The scholarship of teaching and learning is a research interest of mine, and I am involved with OpenStax out of Rice University and the USCB library on projects examining the use and outcomes of Open Educational Resources (OER). My other on-going qualitative research focuses on how social location and planning for the future relate to older adults’ subjective views of successful aging, and I received a RISE Award from the University of South Carolina to support this research in 2018.

Together with faculty in sociology, psychology, human services, and nursing, I developed a Gerontology Certificate program at USCB. This interdisciplinary certificate allows students from any major to focus a portion of their coursework on gerontological issues and complete an internship in an aging-related field, ultimately better preparing them for careers addressing the needs of our “graying” society. I am serving as the coordinator for this certificate program, and I look forward to working with many of our students who are interested in the broad field of aging.

I am also serving as co-director of USCB’s 5-year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for SACS COC. We are instituting a campus-wide program to enhance students’ learning by providing inspiration and opportunities for community engagement at all levels of learning. Our QEP is designed to improve and expand experiential learning on our campus, but it will also transform the culture of USCB by inspiring by students and faculty to contribute to the needs of our community.


 "'I Hope I Go Out of this World Still Wanting to Learn More': Identity Work in a Lifelong Learning Institute," with Anne Barrett. 2018. Journal of Gerontology: Series B, Psychological and Social Sciences.

"Older People as Cyber-Sexual Beings: Online and Internet Dating," with Sue Malta. 2017. Addressing the Sexual Rights of Older People: Theory, Policy and Practice.Routledge.
"Online Dating in Middle and Later Life: Gendered Expectations and Experiences," with Anne Barrett. 2014. Journal of Family Issues 35(3): 411-436.

"Greeting Card Analysis: Gendered Constructions of Love and Parenthood," with Anne Barrett. 2013. Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology.
"Gender-Typed Behaviors and School Adjustment," with Koji Ueno. 2010. Sex Roles 63(7-8): 580-591.

Recent Presentations

"Revitalizing a Gerontology Certificate Program Never Brought to Life." Southern Gerontological Society, Asheville, NC, April 2017.

"Connections between Lifelong Learners and College Students." Southern Gerontological Society, Charlottesville, VA, April 2016.

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Using Free, Online-Format Textbooks.," with Melissa Bamford. Southern Sociological Society, New Orleans, LA, March 2015.

"Race, Gender, and Class in Lifelong Learning Institute Ads." Southern Sociological Society, Charlotte, NC, April 2014.