Faculty Profiles

Gail Thomas

Gail Thomas

Titles: Professor of Sociology

Title: Professor of Sociology

Arrival at Soka: 1998

Degrees: Ph.D., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC M.A., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill B.S., A & T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina

Research Interests: Sociology of Education with an emphasis on equality, race and gender and social class equity in schooling Alternative schooling for non-traditional students Areas in equality with a focus on empowering women and youth

"I have extremely high expectations of myself and of my students. I want them to actually excel and exceed me. I raise the bar very high."
Student Profile Photo

About Gail Thomas

Diversity Makes Us Rich

“The diversity here is what contributes to our richness. My aspiration is that every culture and subculture in the world would be represented here at Soka in a very real, authentic and embracing way. I also feel a commitment to exposing and sharing my experience and culture as an African American woman. My family and I often have students at our home for meals and deep dialogues and debates about culture, world events and life in general. We all enjoy and grow from these informal and more intimate encounters outside of class.”

Living Integratively

“We’re not in a world now where we can accomplish anything alone. We have to work collaboratively. Secondly, we’re in a world where we can’t be narrow-minded. We have to be able to think and live integratively and interdisciplinarily. At Soka, we have concentrations rather than majors, and it helps students accomplish that. Our goal is to foster global leaders for peace and students with compassion and a broad-minded conscious, respect, care and embrace of those different and less fortunate than themselves. The different interdisciplinary perspectives and views offered by our curriculum and professors contribute to this.”

Caring For Students

“What do I love about teaching? The students. I care deeply about Soka students and about young people in general; especially those that are struggling the most. I want to support and help them discover their unique talents and contributions, and become the best that they can be. I love it when I see the light bulb come on. I love it when we’re connecting, and what I love the most is mentoring, working elbow-to-elbow with a student.”

Beyond the Bubble

“I try to prepare my students to be global citizens by reminding them the importance of what is around them locally…to go beyond this beautiful Soka bubble. I recently took my class to a shelter for young women, and previously to a local alternative school for students who learn differently.  They need to see the connection between the local and the global. It also serves to remind them how fortunate we are to be in higher education, and that the purpose of education is to serve and empower others.”