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Erin Mchenry-Sorber, Ph.D.

mchenry sorber

Dr. McHenry-Sorber has been an assistant professor in Higher Education at West Virginia University since 2014. Prior to coming to WVU, she worked as an assistant professor at Wilkes University. Her research centers on the internal and external structures and contexts that influence rural schools and communities and their relationships. She has authored papers in the Peabody Journal of Education, the International Journal of Inclusive Education, the Journal of Rural Social Sciences, and Leadership and Policy in Schools. The former publications focus on rural school-community conflict and the politicization of rural community identity. The latter publications investigate the gendered risks and opportunities in Marcellus Shale gas boomtowns and the experiences of rural school leaders in a Marcellus Shale community. Dr. McHenry-Sorber has presented at numerous conferences, including the annual meetings of the National Rural Education Association (NREA) and the American Educational Research Association. She won the NREA Howard A. Dawson Best Research Paper Award in 2016. She serves as a consulting editor for the Journal of Research in Rural Education, as chairperson of the advisory board for The Rural Educator, and as a member of the NREA Higher Education/Research Committee. Her courses include Higher Education Curriculum/Reform, Diversity Issues in Higher Education, Higher Education Policy and Politics, Leadership and Organizations, Women and Gender Issues in Higher Education, and Qualitative Research Methods. She obtained a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the Pennsylvania State University, a M.Ed. from Harvard University in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy, and a B.S. Ed. From Bucknell University in Secondary Education and English. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. McHenry-Sorber taught high school English and middle school reading and worked as a school district grant writer. 

Academic Degrees

Ph.D. Educational Leadership
The Pennsylvania State University, 2011

Masters of Education
Harvard University, 2003

Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Arts
Bucknell University, 2001

Associate Degree, Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Pennsylvania State University, 1999

Research Interests

  • Rural schools and communities
  • Rural leadership
  • Local educational politics
  • Educational policy
  • University-rural school/community collaboration

Teaching interests

  • Higher education
  • Qualitative research methods

Selected Publications

McHenry-Sorber, E., & Hall, D. (Eds.) (2018). Diversity in Rural Educational Leadership. Special Issue, Journal of Research in Rural Education, 34 (Introduction, 1-5).

Moffa, E., & McHenry-Sorber, E. (2018). Learning to be rural: Lessons about being rural in a teacher preparation program. The Rural Educator, 39(1), 26-40.

McHenry-Sorber, E., & Budge, K. (2018) Revisiting the rural superintendency: Rethinking guiding theories for contemporary practice. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 33(3), 1-15.

Schafft, K.A., McHenry-Sorber, E., Hall. D., & Burfoot-Rochford, I. (2017). Busted amidst the Boom: The Creation of New Insecurities and Inequalities within Pennsylvania's Shale Gas Boomtowns. Rural Sociology, Online first publication, 1-29.

Hall, D., & McHenry-Sorber, E. (2017). Politics First: Examining the Practice of the Multi-District Superintendent. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 25(82), 1-29.

McHenry-Sorber, E., & Provinzano, K. (2016). Confronting rapid change: Exploring the practices of educational leaders in a rural boomtown. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 16(4), 602-628.

McHenry-Sorber, E., Schafft, K.A., Burfoot,-Rochford, I., & Hall, D. (2016). The masculinized work of energy development: Unequal opportunities and risks for women in Pennsylvania shale gas boomtown communities. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 31(1), 1-23.

Foote, E., Ascott, K., & McHenry-Sorber, E. (2016). Development, implementation and evaluation of a novel fourth year interprofessional clerkship. Medical Science Educator, 26(4), 569-573.

McHenry-Sorber, E. (2014). The power of competing narratives: A new interpretation of rural school-community relations. Peabody Journal of Education, 89(5), 580-592.

McHenry-Sorber, E., & Schafft, K.A. (2014). ‘Make my day, shoot a teacher’: Tactics of inclusion and exclusion, and the contestation of community in a rural school-community conflict. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(7), 733-747.



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