Skip to main content

Lori McVay, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Poling Center Third Floor
Back to Faculty


Dr. Lori McVay received her Ph.D. in sociology from Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in July 2011. She has been teaching at Spring Arbor University since 2012 and has taught a variety of courses, including Introduction to Sociology, Gender and Society, Urban Sociology and Marriage and Family. The focus of her research is rural women and leadership.
A native of West Virginia, Dr. McVay studied music business in Nashville, TN at Trevecca Nazarene University. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she moved with her husband, Jeff, to Pasadena, CA (just outside Los Angeles). She worked in undergraduate admissions at Azusa Pacific University from 2002 to 2006 while completing her master’s in organizational leadership. Following this, Dr. McVay entered the doctoral program at Queen’s University and moved with her husband to Northern Ireland. They lived in Ireland from 2006 to 2008, during which time their son, Jack, was born. Dr. McVay’s family moved to Michigan in 2008.
In 2013, her Ph.D. research was published as the book “Rural Women in Leadership: Positive Factors in Leadership Development.”
Dr. McVay spends most of her spare time hanging out with her family and reading books and comics. She also leads worship and facilitates a life group at her church.
“My ideal classroom is one in which the students and I learn from each other. I love exploring the ways in which sociology intersects with faith and our everyday lives!”


  • Ph.D.: (Sociology) Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2011
  • M.A.: (Organizational Leadership) Azusa Pacific University
  • B.S.: (Music Business) Trevecca Nazarene University


“Rural Women in Leadership: Positive Factors in Leadership Development” (CABI, 2013) This book was launched at the XXV Congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology in Florence, Italy – July, 2013.
Chapter: “Rural. Women. Leaders. Identity formation in rural Northern Ireland” in “Cosmopolitan Rural Gender Relations: International Perspectives on Rural Development” (CABi, 2017). Edited by Sally Shortall and Bettina Bock.
Chapter: “Gender and Leadership” in “International Handbook of Rural Studies” (Routledge, 2016). Edited by Mark Shucksmith and David L. Brown.