Faculty Spotlight: John Markert

If you were a student at Cumberland University over the past 30 years, chances are you have attended at least one of Associate Professor Dr. John Markert’s sociology courses.

Dr. Markert assumed his current position at Cumberland in 1989. Throughout his career, he’s taught courses and conducted research focusing on media sociology. While he didn’t initially anticipate entering academia, Dr. Markert’s interest in sociology topics emerged at a young age.

“When I was a freshman in college, I had a very good teacher who turned me on to the subject,” Dr. Markert said. “Sociology sort of clicks with my approach to the world. My area is media sociology. We learn about society through different lenses such as movies or TV shows.”

Over the span of his career at Cumberland, Dr. Markert has earned the respect of students and colleagues, according to Dr. Eric Cummings, Dean of the School of Humanities, Education and the Arts.

“When I first started here, I asked people who the best teachers at CU were, and Dr. Markert’s name often came up as the leading candidate,” Dr. Cummings said. “When I speak with alumni, he is frequently asked about, and I know that he has made an impact on his students.”

Prior to arriving at Cumberland, Dr. Markert received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1984. He served as the founder and principal researcher of The Markert Group, which provided proprietary market research to a range of companies. Dr. Markert spent 20 years working in social services.

Additionally, Dr. Markert has made many contributions to publications and research in his field of media sociology. He has written and published several books, including: “Publishing Romance: The History of an Industry, 1940s to the Present,” “Hooked in Film: Substance Abuse on the Big Screen,” “Post-9/11 Cinema: Through a Lens Darkly,” and “The Social Impact of Sexual Harassment: A Resource Manual for Organizations and Scholars.”

“Dr. Markert’s impressive run of publications has been an important component of the university’s scholarship for years,” Dr. Cummings said. According to Dr. Markert, his research allows him to incorporate his findings into the classroom.

“Being in academia keeps me up with the current research in my field. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Cumberland, as compared to some of the other higher education institutions, is that I can go in any direction that I happen to get excited about at any specific time,” Dr. Markert said. “So my studies have been very broad-based. Most of the topics that I’ve dealt with in research are similar to the courses that I’ve taught. So the research strengthens my teaching structure.”

Scott Lawrence, a former student of Dr. Markert and the Vice President for Advancement at Cumberland, describes his experience with Dr. Markert as deeply impactful.

“I first met Dr. Markert as a student in his introductory Sociology course, and I was fascinated by the manner in which Dr. Markert views the world,” Lawrence said. “I greatly enjoyed his classes and took as many of them as I could during my time at Cumberland. Dr. Markert instilled in me the initiative to be curious about the world around me and to define my own views on life and business.”

After 30 years at Cumberland, Dr. Markert announced he will retire after the 2019 Spring semester. However, his work will always be valued at Cumberland.

“Dr. Markert has been an integral part of our faculty, and while we are sad he is retiring, we are grateful for the experience and knowledge he has provided to the Cumberland community,” Dr. Cummings said.

Dr. Markert is currently working on his next book “Making Music in Music City,” which he plans to complete in June 2019 and has been interviewing people in the music business for the last three years collecting information for the book.