David Surrey, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology, Urban Studies & Anthropology.
Director of Faculty Development

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About Dr. Surrey

My formal training in Anthropology and Sociology has allowed me to investigate a variety of related topics. These topics include Globalization, desegregation, ethnicity , housing, urban history, education, evolution, the Vietnam Era, indigenous cultures, migration/undocumented – all my research is now Participation Action Research where the “subjects” are part of the research team. While these issues may appear to be diverse, to me the unifying theme is stratification of societies and structural discrimination. Each topic, and I have a hard time separating them, is connected by social forces at a local, national and international level.

I have been fortunate enough to do research with educators in Alaska and New Zealand, tenant organizers in New York City, educators and housing advocates in New Jersey and New York, undocumented workers, the Jewish Voice for Peace that fights for Palestinian equity, as well as Vietnam Veterans and Resisters. I have also been able to travel extensively I have been fortunate enough to do research with, not on, educators, tenant organizers in New Jersey and New York, Jewish and Palestinian activists for equity in the occupied territories as well as Vietnam Veterans and Resisters. My work has also taken me to Alaska (five summers), New Zealand, Egypt, Palestine/Israel, Cypress, Turkey, Finland, Estonia and most recently Japan. Reflections from these experiences are an integral part of my teaching, research and writing. More

Experience at Saint Peter’s University.

For the last 37 years, I have had the pleasure of serving Saint Peter’s, and by natural extension, urban Northern New Jersey and New York City in a variety of capacities: Director of Faculty Research, Director of the adult oriented Public Policy Program; Coordinator of the Hudson County 4 College Consortium; Acting Assistant Academic Dean; President of the Faculty Senate; President of the A.A.U.P., and Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Urban Education. Balancing these activities has always been my day job and true passion – teaching in the Sociology/Urban/Anthropology Studies Department where I am a full-professor and served as chair for 15 long years.

My consistent goal in all these positions is to connect to our urban, multicultural, environment for the twin purposes of setting the stage for a lifetime of learning and instilling in our students the ability to make the world a better place. Northern New Jersey is quite a change from my origins in Missouri but I would not trade my years at Saint Peter’s for anything – well maybe playing right field for the Atlanta Braves (if they moved back to Milwaukee) but nothing else. Well okay, world peace, but nothing else.

There are many things that I love about Saint Peter’s but when it comes right down to it, it has always been about our students. They represent the world. They come from the most privileged and the most impoverished backgrounds, with most in between. They come from all ethnicities, cultures and religions. Some enter the college academically ready for graduate school; others strive just to survive in their first-year classes. What we do best is work with all students so that when they leave they have reached the same standards. These standards include both academic success and the appreciation of who we all are. The College demands that the students learn in the classroom but we also have created an atmosphere where we all can learn from each other. Selfishly I continue to learn from all of our students and that is why I stay.

“Learn from the students as I guide them to course objectives.”

Career & Accomplishments


  • New School for Social Research, Ph.D.

  • Ohio Wesleyan University, B.A.

Administration Positions

  • Chair, Urban Studies/Sociology - 2002-2016

  • Title V. Director - 2010-2016

  • Director of Faculty Development - 2010-present

  • Director of Africana Studies - 2009-present

  • Interim Assistant Academic Dean - Spring 2004

  • Director, Institute for the Advancement of Urban Education - 1991 - 1999

  • Coordinator, Hudson County 4 College Consortium - 1989 1991

  • Director, Public Policy Program - 1984 1989

  • Director of Environmental Studies - 2017 - present

Elected Positions

  • Chair of Chairs - 2003-2009, 2011-2015

  • President, Faculty Senate - 2000-2002

  • President A.A.U.P. - 1993-1994


  • Saint Peter’s College Athletic Hall of Fame - 2010

  • George F. Johnson, Teaching Excellence Award - 2006

  • Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honor Society) - 2006

  • Order of the Cross Keys - 1993

  • The SPUR Society (Evening College Honor Society) - 1989


  • 27 Public and Private Grants