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James E. Coverdill

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Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor

Dr. James E. Coverdill, Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Sociology (view Dr. Coverdill's Meigs video) has been at the University of Georgia since receiving a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University.  One main prong of his research explores the ways culture, social organization, and place (especially the rural/urban divide) intertwine to shape the work and training of surgeons.  This research is grounded in fieldwork with surgeons in a teaching hospital and multiple rounds of mixed-methods data collection (questionnaires and follow-up interviews) that expand on the fieldwork.  A string of articles and a recent book, Why Surgeons Struggle with Work-Hour Reforms (Vanderbilt University Press, 2021), capture this strand of his research.  Another prong his research explores labor markets, and especially the work of headhunters (labor-market intermediaries who are paid by employers to find and recruit job candidates).  His book, High Tech and High Touch:  Headhunters, Technology, and Economic Transformation (Cornell University Press, 2017) reflects his long interest in labor markets.  An emerging project explores chronic shortages of health care personnel in rural areas in the United States.  He is currently probing the efforts of some surgical residency programs to encourage residents to consider rural practice, how residents interpret and respond to those efforts, and how surgeons experience rural practice.   

  • Ph.D., Sociology, Northwestern University, 1991
  • M.A., Sociology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1985
  • B.A., Philosophy and Sociology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1981
Selected Publications:
  • Coverdill, James E. et al.  2018.  "The Promise and Problems of Non-Physician Practitioners in General Surgery Education:  Results of a Multi-Center, Mixed-Methods Study of Faculty."  The American Journal of Surgery 215(2): 222-226
  • Coverdill, James E. et al.  2018.  "Assessing the 16 Hour Intern Shift Limit:  Results of a Multi-Center, Mixed-Methods Study of Residents and Faculty in General Surgery."  The American Journal of Surgery 215(2):326-330.
  • Coverdill, James E., and William Finlay.  2017.  High Tech and High Touch:  Headhunters, Technology, and Economic Transformation.  Ithaca, NY:  Cornell University Press. 
  • Coverdill, James. et al.  2016.  "Professionalism in the Twilight Zone:  A Multi-Center, Mixed-Methods Study of Shift Transition Dynamics in Surgical Residencies."  Academic Medicine 91(11):S31-S36.
  • Coverdill, James E., and William Finlay.  2014. "Contingency Headhunters:  What They Do -- and What Their Activities Tell Us About Jobs, Careers, and the Labor Market."  The Oxford Handbook of Job Loss and Job Search, edited by Ute-Christine Klehe and Edwin A. J. van Hooft.
  • Coverdill, James E. et al.  2011.  "Fatigue as Impairment or Educational Necessity?  Insights into Surgical Culture."  Academic Medicine 86(10):S69-S72.
  • Coverdill, James E., Carlos A. López, and Michelle A. Petrie. 2011. "Race, Ethnicity, and the Quality of Life in America, 1972 - 2008." Social Forces 89(3):783-806.
  • Coverdill, James E., et al.  2010.  "A New Professionalism? Surgical Residents, Duty-hour Restrictions, and Shift Transitions." Academic Medicine 85(10):S72-S75.
Of Note:
  • 2008. Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Georgia.
  • 2002-2005. General Sandy Beaver Teaching Associate Professorship, University of Georgia.
  • 2000. Richard B. Russell Teaching Award, University of Georgia.
  • 1996. Special Sandy Beaver Teaching Award, University of Georgia.
Events featuring James E. Coverdill
MLC 148

The Sociology Department warmly invites all recent or pending graduates – Fall 2015, Spring 2016, or Summer 2016 – and their guests to join faculty and staff for our Sociology Graduation Event.  

The event will be held on Friday, May 13th (the same day as spring graduation), from 2:30 to 3:30 in the Miller Learning Center (MLC), room 148.…