Sharon A. Priestley

Lecturer in Demography, Statistics and Evaluation
PhD – Sociology
Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work
Courses Taught: 

SOCI3018  Demography I  
SOCI6111  Demographic Methods 
SOCI3021 Demography II 
SOCI6112  Demographic Methods  
SOCI6115  Quantitative Data Analysis in the Social Sciences 

Research Interests: 

Fertility Change
Gender-Based Violence
Assessment of Family Planning Programs

Professional Affiliation(s): 

Caribbean Studies Association (CSA)  
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) 
Population Association of America (PAA)

Recent Publications: 

PhD Thesis – The Impact of Infertility on Fertility Change in Jamaica: 1960-2002

Teaching/Research Philosophy: 

The main aim of my teaching is to help students gain an understanding of the ways in which demographic processes affect population change on a global, national and individual level. The key to this is to foster critical thinking beyond the classroom environment, to utilize available technology to demonstrate how population change occurs, and to pass on the skill set necessary for measurement of population change. An essential aspect of this is recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of demographic study which is a useful approach to answering questions about local and regional population problems.
I encourage students to ask questions about the changes that they observe, and I often find that they uncover explanations but get stuck on finding solutions. It is also common to find that students do not see themselves as playing a role in unearthing answers to these problems, limiting the benefit of their studies to gaining labor market advantage.  Through my teaching and research supervision, I encourage discussion to draw out appropriate research strategies to investigate problems identified, and the use of scientific rigor along with an understanding of the research ‘subject’  to provide the answers we seek. I also encourage perseverance through a process that is daunting to many, but which is characterized by constant revision so that the final product is one of quality and which they can present with confidence.