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Department of


Lisa M. Nunn, PhD

Associate Professor, Sociology

Lisa Michele Nunn joined the Department of Sociology at the University of San Diego in 2009.  Professor Nunn teaches largely in the Department’s Social Justice concentration.  Her research areas include: Sociology of Education; Organizations; Cultural Sociology; Gender and Sexuality; Identity; Visual Sociology; and Social Psychology.


Professor Nunn earned her B.A. in Literature and Theater from Whittier College in 1997.  She earned her M.A. in Sociology in 2005 and her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2009 from the University of California, San Diego.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Professor Nunn’s book, Defining Student Success: The Role of School and Culture (2014 with Rutgers University Press), investigates how both schools (organizations) and students (individuals) refine and adapt cultural ideas about academic success, and how this process perpetuates existing social inequality in educational attainment. From the same research project, Professor Nunn published “Classrooms as Racialized Spaces: Dynamics of Collaboration, Tension, and Student Attitudes in Urban and Suburban High Schools” in the journal Urban Education.

Professor Nunn has a forthcoming article in the Journal of LGBT Youth, titled "Wearing a Rainbow Bumper Sticker: Homophobia, Heteronormativity, and Heterosexual Privilege," that she co-authored with Sophia C. Bolt, a USD undergraduate student and sociology major.

Professor Nunn’s research also includes a 2010 sociological film, Excluded: Immigration Struggles of a Gay, Bi-National Couple, which has been presented at academic conferences and screened across the U.S. in multiple venues including LGBTQ resource centers, museums, universities, hich school gay-straight alliance meetings, and corporate development programs.  Excluded was an official selection of the 2011 Fallbrook Film Festival in Fallbrook, California. The entire 46-minute documentary-style film can be viewed free online at

Teaching Interests

Professor Nunn teaches Introduction to Sociology, Quantitative Methods, Social Institutions, Sexuality and Borders, Education and Incarceration (co-taught with Professor Fritsvold), and Sociology of Education.