Dr. Ryan Kelty is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Prior to serving on the faculty at USAFA, Dr. Kelty served on the faculty at Washington College (Chestertown, MD) for 9 years during which he served as department chair for three years. He began his academic career teaching and mentoring cadets for three years at West Point. He is an award winning teacher and scholar with areas of specialization in military, sociology social psychology, environmental sociology, and a methodological focus on survey methodology. Dr. Kelty has designed and taught 15 courses, including Environmental Sociology, Death & Dying, Sociology of Religion, Armed Forces & Society, Sociological Documentary Filmmaking, Internet & Society, Social Inequalities, Research Methods, and Sociological Theory.
Dr. Kelty’s military sociology research focuses on diversity issues in the Armed Forces, the effects of civilian contractor integration on military personnel, mental health effects of military deployment, and the role of military service across the life course. He has consulted with numerous national and international defense organizations such as the NATO research group on Military and Civilian Personnel Work Culture and Relations in Defence Organizations and the Executive Panel for the Chief of Naval Operations (on full integration of women). His environmental sociology research foci are on competing resource uses (mining and fishing in rural Alaskan communities) and the intersection of environmental degradation and national security. Dr. Kelty is co-editor of Private Military and Security Contractors: Controlling the Corporate Warrior (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), and Risk-Taking in Higher Education: The Importance of Negotiating Intellectual Challenge in the College Classroom (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Dr. Kelty’s commitment to service focuses on issues of inequalities and social justice, both within his community and in his service work at his various institutions. He has worked on issues of poverty, food insecurity, environmental inequality and sustainability, aging in place, and support for students with special needs.
My teachers at UMD Sociology were critical in helping me develop strong research skills in analytic thinking, clear oral and written argumentation, and quantitative methods. This strong academic preparation was matched with incredible attention, feedback and professional socialization from my mentors. I remember fondly the supportive, collegial environment Professors David and Mady Segal created through hosting monthly military sociology seminars at their home to allow students to share work and get feedback and guidance on papers, presentations and job opportunities. Collectively, my experience provided a clear roadmap for my career focusing on teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, and in developing a research agenda that has been able to contribute to understanding diversity/equality in military organizations and environmental issues – and provide actionable policy implications to inform positive change.