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(Posted 3-9-00)
News Service Contact: Laurie Gengenbach, 336-334-5371
Dr. David Pratto


GREENSBORO — Dr. David Pratto, head of the Sociology Department at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was presented with the Distinguished Contributions to Sociology Award by the North Carolina Sociological Association at its annual meeting in Raleigh Feb. 18.

The award cited Pratto for his commitment to research, education and public service. The author of a book, book chapters, and numerous journal articles, Pratto is most widely recognized for examining how children fare when raised in homes where both parents have full-time jobs. His research helped dispel a myth prevalent in the 1980s that held working women responsible for some of society's ills. Research he conducted with other sociologists showed that grades and emotional development of so-called "latchkey" (selfcare) kids did not differ from that of children raised in more traditional homes.

The award also recognized Pratto's commitment to applied sociology. His interests are varied and wide-ranging, addressing issues in criminal justice, toxic waste disposal, water usage and health care as well as the family. He has completed more than 20 technical reports for area organizations and has had contracts or grants from numerous foundations, government, health care and religious organizations in North Carolina. He has also served as a consultant or researcher for many area organizations over the past 30 years. In 1974, he became the first male member of the Greensboro League of Women Voters.

Some of the local organizations to which he contributed research in the 1990s include Courtwatch of North Carolina, Triangle Computer Users Group, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, the Kellogg Foundation, the City of Greensboro and the County Commissioners of Guilford County and Forsyth County.

Pratto also served as editor of "Family Forum," the newsletter of the Family Section of the American Sociological Association.
His contributions to UNCG have been substantial. He has served as secretary and chair of the UNCG Faculty Senate and chaired or served on approximately 80 university committees throughout his tenure.

Pratto says his career has made him increasingly optimistic about the future of American society. "I see the possibilities, and they're very great," he said. "The family is still very much a core of America. Societies change and undergo modifications, but it really takes a lot to kill a society or a way of life. There's a certain kind of resilience that can't be dictated by politics, religion, economics or educational organizations. I'm saying, ‘Leave us alone, we'll do what we have to do and do it right, instead of letting institutions dictate what we should and shouldn't do.'"

Pratto joined the faculty of UNCG in1969. He has been elected head of the Sociology Department twice, and was recently elected to serve another two years. He has taught 17 courses, and chaired or served on numerous thesis committees. Pratto received his Ph.D.from the University of Colorado.


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