Alicia Simmons - Colgate University - Faculty Directory

Colgate Directory

Alicia Simmons

Alicia Simmons

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Sociology & Anthropology, 422 Alumni Hall
p 315-228-7990


PhD, Stanford University
MA, Stanford University
BA, Hartwick College

Previous Position

Lecturer and Post-doctoral fellow in Sociology, Harvard University


Most broadly, my research focuses on the intersections of media, race and politics.  

In one branch of my research, I work with teams of Colgate student research assistants to conduct content analyses of national print and broadcast news reports. One project investigates why some cases of police killing an unarmed black person become national news stories, while others do not. Another project focuses on five highly newsworthy cases, and assesses the topics that the news reports when these incidents occur and the topics that are left uncovered. A third project narrows the focus to specific topics that are deemed newsworthy and charts how these topics are framed, meaning it explores which ideas are made salient to audiences and which are left uncovered. 

In another branch of my research, I rely on original and secondary survey data to explore how news exposure is related to audience members' racial attitudes and support for punitive criminal justice policy preferences. 

In a third branch of my research, I study social science methodology. One project compares survey data collected via different modes and sampling strategies in order to determine the viability of opt-in online panels for rigorous social science research. Another project uses a multi-method approach to unpack the meaning of survey questions designed to measure racial resentment. A third project uses a survey-based experiment to investigate the validity of a proposed alternative to the traditional racial resentment measures, the Explicit Racial Resentment index.


Social psychology; Race and ethnicity; Mass communication; Social control/crime/law/deviance; Public opinion; Research methods


Introduction to Sociology (SOCI 101)
Media Effects (CORE 170S)
Social Deviance (SOCI 320)
Black Communities (SOCI/ALST 321AX)
Race and Crime (SOCI/ALST 330AX)
Media and Politics (SOCI/FMST 375AX)
student video reports


Simmons, Alicia D.Forthcoming. "Cultivating Support for Punitive Criminal Justice Policies: News Sectors and the Moderating Effects of Audience Characteristics." Social Forces.

Simmons, Alicia D. and Lawrence D. Bobo. 2015. "Can Non-Full-Probability Internet Surveys Yield Useful Data?  A Comparison to Full-Probability Face-to-Face Surveys in the Domain of Race and Social Inequality Attitudes." Sociological Methodology. 45:1-31.

Simmons and Bobo Appendix

Simmons, Alicia D. 2012. "Crime News and Crime Views: The Relationship between Whites' News Exposure Patterns and Opinions about Criminal Justice Issues." Pp. 224-238 in The Harms of Crime Media: Essays on the Perpetuation of Race, Gender, and Class Stereotypes edited by D. L. Bissler and J. L. Conners.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Bobo, Lawrence D., Camille Z. Charles, Maria Krysan, and Alicia D. Simmons. 2012. "The Real Record on Racial Attitudes."  Pp.28-83 in Social Trends in American Life: Findings from the General Social Survey since 1972 edited by P. V. Marsden. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Recent Presentations

2016. "Implications of the Presidential Election: A Faculty Panel." Colgate University panel

2016. "The Media and Communications in the 21st Century." Colgate University panel

2016. "Whose Lives Matter: The Newsworthiness of Police Killings of Unarmed Blacks." American Sociological Association's Annual Meetings, Seattle, WA

2014. "From Freedom Summer to Ferguson: The Ongoing Civil Rights Movement." Colgate University's Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs panel discussion

2014. "Policing Black and Brown Bodies: Before and After Ferguson." Colgate University brown bag

Select Grants and Awards

2016. Torch Medal for Excellence in Teaching and Mentorship, Colgate University
2013. Mellon Technology in Teaching Grant, Colgate University (with Janel Benson, Mary Simonson, and Meg Worley)
2013. iPad Pilot Program, Colgate University
2008. Centennial Teaching Award, Stanford University
2007-2008. Gerald J. Lieberman Graduate Dissertation Fellowship
2006. Leila Arthur Cilker Fellowship and Award for Excellence in Teaching, Stanford University

Professional Experience

Program review consultant
Teaching consultant
Oral communications tutor


Institutional Review Board, Colgate University
Africana and Latin American Studies Council, Colgate University
Film and Media Studies Council, Colgate University