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Professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Miami University

Rodney D. Coates is a public sociologist engaged in critical race, social justice, social movements, social policy, and practice. For Coates, being a public sociologist means that his work must impact the wider communities — both within and external to the university.

He has conducted bias training for school districts, municipalities, police, and universities. He works with local communities, corporations, and Miami University to establish pathways to progress for under-represented students in such fields as STEM, business, and law.

At Miami University, he was the driving force for creating the Miami-Cincinnati Scholars program, which provides full scholarships for underrepresented students going into STEM.

As a public intellectual, he is frequently featured in the national and local press, including the New York Times, MSNBC, CBS, and NPR. He is a published poet, essayist, and editorialist. His sunset photos have been featured on the covers of several books and multiple exhibits. These photos have also been the basis for the HOPE-endowed scholarship at Miami University for underrepresented students.

He has developed and taught various courses such as Introduction to Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Introduction to Social Justice, Critical Race and Post-Colonial Structures, Civil Rights and Social Movements, and Human Rights and Social Movements. His course on globalization, social justice, and human rights, which links universities from around the globe (including the United Kingdom, Moscow, Milano, Italy, Spain, and British Columbia), has received several awards and has been featured in published articles.

Coates developed a summer bridge program for scholar-athletes in their freshman year. This course, treating the athletes as if they were honors students, sets the expectations and curriculum to challenge them to perform way above what they believe they could ever accomplish. Increasing GPA and graduation rates have increased each year the program has been offered. In 2022 he received the Mid-America Conference Professor of the Year Award for this program.

Coates has a record of scholarship that spans three decades and includes numerous published peer-reviewed articles, books, book chapters, and collections. His books have won awards and charted new territory. He received the Association of Black Sociologists Life-Time Achievement Award, the American Sociological Association Career Award in Scholarship and Service, and the Society of the Study of Social Problems Outstanding Career Award in Scholarship and Teaching. He and his co-authors are revising their SAGE-published The Matrix of Race: Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality, having sold over 2,000 copies in its first two years since publication. It is currently being revised for the 2nd edition, slated for publication in January 2021.

Coates is a recipient of the 2021 College of Arts and Science's Distinguished Educator Award. His award presentation, "Critical Race Theory and the Search for Truth," is available for viewing.


  • –present
    Professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Miami University