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Sociology Welcomes New Faculty

Mark Suchman

Top Researcher on Management and Organizations Appointed Professor of Sociology at Purdue

A top researcher whose work includes studying law and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley is the latest recruiting success in the Moveable Dream Hires program. Mark Suchman has joined the Purdue University faculty in the College of Liberal Arts as a professor of sociology. Suchman also serves as executive director of the American Bar Foundation.

“We are fortunate to have Mark join the Purdue faculty,” said David A. Reingold, senior vice president for policy planning and the Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts. “His papers on organizational behavior are among the most cited articles in the management literature. His research will create impact and help us emerge as a leader in liberal arts scholarship.”

Suchman comes to Purdue from Brown University, where he led the Sociology Department’s Work, Organizations, and Economy Program and directed the Organizational Studies academic track. He has studied law and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, business disputing practices, and patient privacy in the American healthcare system. His research on how legal conditions create, or foreclose, opportunities for innovation and technological change has been supported by major grant-giving organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His work has been featured in several scholarly journals, including Law & Social Inquiry, the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and the Academy of Management Review.

“Mark Suchman is truly a dream hire for us in the Sociology Department at Purdue,” said Distinguished Professor of Sociology Robin Stryker. “With his body of theoretically innovative and influential law and organizations scholarship that is widely cited by social scientists, legal scholars, and scholars of business and management alike, and his concurrent position as executive director of the American Bar Foundation, Mark brings great added prestige and positive visibility to our law and society program. We look forward to collaborating with him and with the ABF to provide exciting new opportunities for our faculty and students.”

The talent-based Moveable Dream Hires program is piloted by the deans and provost to attract high-performing, top-caliber faculty to Purdue even when the topic-based openings in a given year do not match the moveable talent. It complements typical topic-based faculty searches across the University and enables the recruitment of faculty who may not be actively on the job market. These recruits are tenure-track or tenured faculty.

“Both as a sociologist who studies law, innovation and entrepreneurship and as the executive director of the American Bar Foundation, I'm thrilled to be joining Purdue's outstanding sociology faculty,” Suchman said. “Purdue has an excellent community of scholars who study not only the legal organizations that create and enforce our laws, but also the non-legal organizations — businesses, schools, healthcare providers — that shape how those laws affect our daily lives.

“The ABF, for its part, is the world's premier research institute for the interdisciplinary empirical study of law, legal institutions, and the legal profession,” Suchman said. “Although the ABF's offices in downtown Chicago are two hours away from Purdue's main campus in West Lafayette, I hope that my role at each will help to bring the two closer together both institutionally and intellectually. Purdue and the ABF offer a unique blend of complementary strengths that can enrich not only my own work but also the work of my new colleagues, collaborators and students in both locales.”

Suchman received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He earned his A.B. in Sociology from Harvard University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Prior to his time at Brown, Suchman served as a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has also served as program director at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure; chaired the American Sociological Association’s sections on Sociology of Law and on Organizations, Occupations, and Work; and led the Graduate Student Workshop of the Law and Society Association.

“I'm particularly grateful to Linda Renzulli in Sociology, Dean David Reingold in the College of Liberal Arts, and ABF President Jimmy Goodman for making this partnership possible,” Suchman said. “I'm eager to do everything that I can to deepen and broaden that connection in the coming years. Boiler up!”