About Dr. Perez

I’m an associate professor of sociology with specializations in environmental justice, health and illness, and the sociology of risk. I was trained in quantitative survey research and secondary data analysis, but developed skills in mixed-methods research approaches in recent years that include field observations and focus groups. A unifying theme throughout my career is the entwined configuration of health, risk, and society, with a focus on environmental and health issues through constructionist and social justice frameworks. Currently, my research focuses on perceptions of green infrastructure (“greening”) and processes of community change and environmental gentrification in South Wilmington, DE (Sponsored by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program with funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] Office of Sea Grant, U.S. Department of Commerce, under NOAA grant number NA22OAR4170094).

As a core member of the South Wilmington Planning Network (SWPN) and the interim chair of the Southbridge Neighborhood Action Plan (SNAP) sub-committee on the environment and climate change, I spend considerable time working with Southbridge community members and other stakeholders on issues that include hazardous exposures, flooding and sea-level rise, and community changes due to development-driven revitalization.

Other research that I have done in recent years includes preferences for buyouts in two disadvantaged, overburdened communities with legacy contamination in New Castle, DE (owner-occupied householders – Owner-Occupied Householders and non-resident owners – Non-Resident Owners) and perceptions of the interaction of historic flooding and brownfields in Southbridge, Wilmington, DE. I am continuing to develop research threads related to managed retreat/relocation from climate change impacts and environmental burdens, as well as historical processes of intensive zoning (many of these issues I summarize in the DE Master Naturalist). I also write about issues related to sociology of diagnosis, medicalization, and pedagogical trends in higher education.

In my 18th year as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UD, I regularly teach introductory sociology (Honors and non-Honors). Further, I have significant experience teaching quantitative sociological research methods, social statistics, and data analysis, and recently have focused on teaching courses that I created (Sociology of Diagnosis SOCI375 and Environment and Health SOCI335). In fall 2022, I created and taught a new course for the UD Honors College called “Deconstructing Definitions: The Medicalization of Society” as part of a new initiative to serve incoming Honors undergraduates. I also offer other core courses in the department (e.g., Sociology of Risk and Environmental Sociology), while regularly doing invited lectures to STEM courses at UD, bringing the lens of social and environmental justice to the disciplines of soil chemistry and related others. My courses range in format from face-to-face to online, and I am always striving to improve on course delivery and content in innovative ways that connect the classroom to the local DE community and my research.

I am a core faculty member at the Disaster Research Center (DRC), a faculty affiliate of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), and also serve as a Policy Fellow for the Center for Community Research and Service (CCRS). I take pride in professional and university service, committing a significant amount of time to numerous initiatives and offices around UD’s campus that includes serving on UD’s Institutional Review Board and University Faculty Senate, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), UD’s Continuing-Track Caucus, as well as the American Sociological Association’s Taskforce on Contingent Faculty.

I welcome feedback on my scholarly work and professional activities.

My (mostly) current CV is here.

Perez CV Dec 2023

Contact me at:

victorp at udel dot edu