June 5, 2023

Schleef Wins Topher Bill Award for Faculty Service

Debra Jo Schleef, professor of sociology, has been recognized with the J. Christopher Bill Outstanding Faculty Service Award for her contributions to the University as well as her involvement and leadership in the community. The award was presented at the University’s opening faculty meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25.

A member of the UMW faculty since 1999, Schleef embodies the spirit of selflessness at the heart of this award. An astounding number of people nominated her: 13 in total, including senior and junior colleagues within and beyond her department, and indeed beyond her own college, according to Laura Mentore, outgoing chair of the University Sabbaticals, Fellowships, and Faculty Awards Committee.

Mentore quoted from one nominating letter signed by every member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology: “In keeping with her (Schleef’s) character, her moral sensibilities, and the ethical imperatives of her discipline, she has always been eager to roll up her sleeves and help us to collectively make Mary Washington a better place for students, faculty, and staff, and an institution that more effectively fulfills its mission and promise. Her active engagement does not stop at the college gates. She has also been an eager and consistent participant in service activities in the Fredericksburg community and in her discipline’s community of scholars.”

Schleef earned a Ph.D. (1997) and an M.A. (1991) in sociology from Northwestern University, and a B.A. (1988) in sociology from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, where she graduated summa cum laude. Her recent research focuses on the composition of the Hispanic community in the greater “New South,” including demographic trends, the impact of immigration on the area, and Latino efforts to adapt to their new home. Schleef is co-author, with H.B. Cavalcanti, of Latinos in Dixie: Class and Assimilation in Richmond, Virginia.

She is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Southern Sociological Association, and the Law and Society Association. She is the recipient of two Mary Washington Faculty Development Grants and a Jepson Fellowship. Schleef is an authoritative source on the sociology of law, occupations and professions, professional education and socialization, elites, race/class/gender and Latino migration and assimilation in the American South.

The selection criteria for the award stipulates that the recipient must have served a minimum of seven years as a member of the Mary Washington teaching faculty and must have been heavily and consistently involved in a variety of service capacities, including departmental, university-wide and community service. Nominations may be submitted by any member of the teaching faculty, staff or student body of the university.





  1. Lynda Allen says

    Congratulations Debra! A well deserved honor!

  2. Wanda Wallace says

    This is such an amazing honor! Congratulations to you! It makes me even more honored to be a part of the department.

  3. Congratulations!