Cheryl Crane, Ph.D.

“Sociology combines content and tools to critically examine our surroundings, exposing the systems and practices that create and perpetuate inequalities. The spark of learning that occurs as students connect policies and programs to socially constructed challenges is infectious!”


Assistant professor, sociology

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Louisville – Louisville, KY
  • M.A., University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
  • B.A., University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

Year Joined Franklin



I research inequalities in families and mothering, how the intersections of race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexualities, and family structure influence privilege and marginalization in society, and the ways that groups create social change.

Why should I study sociology?

A comprehensive view of society is essential for understanding of the world in which we live. The liberal arts challenge students to develop this perspective and to employ it to assess their surroundings. Students learn how to think critically and deeply, not just what to think. As sociologists, we seek to understand how societies are organized and how this contributes to varying outcomes for diverse groups. Exposing and examining the relationship between institutions and power reveals the role people play in construction and perpetuating inequalities. These findings inform policies and practices that can reshape society in more equitable ways.

Why study at Franklin College?

Through coursework and internships with nonprofits, policy-makers, and other institutions, Franklin College students combine a liberal arts education with the sociological imagination. This equips them to convert abstract concepts, experiences, and outcomes into tangible applications and evidence-based solutions for social problems. These powerful skills translate into robust opportunities in the professional world.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Professional Experience

In Washington State, I worked as the research assistant for the Dean of Instruction at a local college and then the researcher for weekly business newspaper. In Colorado and Kentucky, I held various administrative and leadership roles (e.g., programming, development, advocacy) in nonprofit organizations. I’ve continued to combine these experiences through contact work as an independent evaluator for nonprofit outcomes, maternal support, and college completion.

Selected Scholarship

Crane, Cheryl and Karen Christopher. Forthcoming 2018. “‘Parenting like a white person?’: Race and Maternal Support among Marginalized Mothers.” Advances in Gender Research.
Hughes, Bob, Ed.D., Amy Hitchcock, M.A., Julianna Chen, M.A., Lindsey Kafer, M.A., Cheryl Crane, Ph.D. 2017. “Project Finish Line: Final Report.” Presented and submitted to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington.  Project Finish Line. A comprehensive, mixed-methods evaluation of the use of completion coaches to boost student success by four community colleges in Washington State. Final report presented to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (funding agency).
Crane, Cheryl. 2015. The Best Intentions: A Program Evaluation of Mama to Mama’s Prenatal/Postpartum Wellness and Peer Support Groups Program.  A formative program evaluation of programming for new and expecting mothers in at-risk communities.  Mixed methods analysis incorporated parenting self-efficacy; post-partum wellness; and sense of community instruments; pre- and post-test topic-based surveys; and extensive participant observation. Final report and recommendations submitted to organization and Medicaid contractor (funding agency).

Selected Presentations

Presenter: “‘Parenting like a white person?’: Race and Maternal Support among Marginalized Mothers.” 2018 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociology Society. Baltimore, Maryland.
Panel organizer and presenter: “Do community programs make ‘better’ mothers?.” 2016 Annual Winter Meeting of the Sociologists for Women in Society. Memphis, Tennessee.
Presenter: “The Best Intentions: ‘Helping’ at-risk mothers.” 2015 Annual Winter Meeting of the Sociologists for Women in Society. Washington, D.C.
Presenter: “Women, Birth, and Resistance: Emerging Research.” 2014 Annual Winter Meeting of the Sociologists for Women in Society.  Nashville, Tennessee

What Students Say

“Dr. Crane gives her students the opportunity to be autonomous learners! She encourages us to think independently and to learn beyond the classroom. I think my favorite thing about her is the support she offers to her students. Her support for us is strong, unwavering, and abundant.” – Taylor McElwain,  ’19

About Me

I moved around the US quite a bit growing up. My family moved every two to three years, and then I kept moving after I was on my own. Last summer, my family and I moved into our new home in Franklin—my 25th home. I’m looking forward to staying put for a long time!