About Joseph S. Werlin
Professor Joseph Werlin (1900-1964) is a founding faculty member of the Department of Sociology at the University of Houston from its inception in 1934 until his death, March 30, 1964.
Dr. Werlin's approach to sociology was influenced by famous pioneers in the field at the University of Chicago and by his own doctoral pursuits in history. While he taught classic courses in sociology, his particular interest was to engage students in understanding those forces — historic, ethnic, demographic and cultural — which give shape to the social and political characteristics of societies. He often used the phrase "cultural understanding" to describe his vision.
During the 1940s, Dr. Werlin became increasingly concerned with the problems of Mexican-Americans in Texas and the serious misperceptions which existed between the two neighbors, Texas and Mexico. In 1943, with financial help from a Houston philanthropist and friend, M.M. Feld, he met with administrators at the National University of Mexico to explore possibilities for an accredited summer study program for teachers and university students. With vital participation by Rosella Werlin, the first University of Houston International Study Center in Mexico was launched in the summer of 1944. Attracting more than 70 participants in the initial season, the program combined sightseeing and other tourist interests with lectures by university educators, government officials and social service administrators as well as required course work in social history and Spanish. Beginning in 1947, the popular study programs were expanded to include similar university-affiliated programs in Guatemala and Cuba, where they continued successfully until 1953.
Dr. Werlin's enduring interest in Mexico, in particular, was expressed in innumerable ways during his 30-year career at the University of Houston. He logged more than 30 trips to Latin American countries, most frequently to Mexico. For many years, he taught a course he developed called "Contemporary Mexico," which was, to his knowledge, the only such course offered in American universities. He spoke frequently on Mexico, Guatemala and Cuba to civic organizations throughout Texas and served on the Houston Board of the Texas Good Neighbor Commission. He authored articles on Mexico in the Yale Review, South Atlantic Quarterly, Proceedings of the Texas Academy of Science, and on other Latin American-U.S. concerns in Houston newspapers. He obtained scholarship support through the University for students from Mexico and Guatemala, several of whom remained in contact with the Werlin family until Rosella Werlin's death, in 1985.
In 1951, Dr. Werlin received the “Distinguished Visitor's Medal” and diploma from the Government of the Federal District of Mexico.
In spring of 1960, Dr. Werlin took a semester leave from teaching in order to concentrate his energies on a book, not completed, to which he gave the working title Today’s Mexico. His personal collection of background materials and books numbered 1,500 volumes. That collection resides at Brigham Young University.
Joseph S. Werlin Sociology Faculty Award to Promote Latin American-US Cultural Understanding
Forty years after his death, the Joseph S. Werlin Sociology Faculty Award to Promote Latin American-US Cultural Understanding Endowment was established by Ernest Pyle Werlin, son of Joseph and Rosella Werlin on behalf of his siblings, Herbert H. Werlin and Joella Werlin, his wife, Eloise, and daughters, Michele and Danielle. The award, says Ernie Werlin, “is a vigorous way of expressing my father's vision.” The award has generously supported faculty research that promotes Latin American and U.S. cultural understanding. Recent recipients of this award include:
|2012-2014||Dr. Xavia Karner|
|2010-2012||Dr. Amanda Baumle|
|2008-2010||Dr. Jarron Saint Onge|
|2006-2008||Dr. Joseph Kotarba|
|2004-2006||Dr. Nestor Rodriguez|
Joseph S. and Rosella H. Werlin Memorial Scholarship
The Joseph S. and Rosella H. Werlin Memorial Scholarship has generously provided scholarships to University of Houston undergraduates who pursue graduate studies in sociology at the University of Houston. Students are nominated by the Department Graduate Studies Committee from those admitted for the following semester. Recent scholarship recipients include:
|Spring 2012||Tommi Ross|
|Spring 2011||Kenneth Powers|
|Ginni Van Katwijk|
|2006||Kathryn M. Nowotny|
Joseph S. Werlin Fund Award
The Joseph S. Werlin Fund Award has generously provided support to further graduate studies in sociology through various awards to assist with thesis and internship binding, support for student travel to conferences, and other program needs. Application for these awards can be made to the Department Graduate Studies Committee as the need arises. While there is no deadline for these awards, students are expected to apply prior to incurring the expense for which they are seeking the award. Recent recipients of this award include:
|Fall 2011||Heather Cox|
|Summer 2011||Yi Ren|
|Spring 2011||Ryan Belli|
|Fall 2010||Tamara Cobb|
|Isolina Maria Sanchez|
|Summer 2010||Laura Achenbaum|
|Spring 2010||Sarath K. Menon-Chembottil|
|Fall 2009||Jill Oliver|
|Spring 2009||Colleen Ireland|
|Spring 2008||Jennifer Fackler|
|Spring 2007||Christina Herrera|
|Fall 2006||Amity Overall Laib|
|Spring 2006||Kelly Ballenger|
|Guenevere Lee Mead|
For more information about student awards, please contact:
Dr. Stella Grigorian, Graduate Advisor
Department of Sociology, University of Houston
473 Philip G. Hoffman Hall
Houston, TX 77204
Phone: (713) 743-3960
Fax: (713) 743-3943