Michelle R. Worosz


Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology

(334) 844-5682 



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308A Comer Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 2006: Ph.D., Sociology, Michigan State University
  • 1997: M.S., Resource Development, Michigan State University]
  • 1992: B.S., Social Science, Multidisciplinary Program, Michigan State University


  • 2019-present: Professor, Auburn University
  • 2013-2018: Associate Professor, Auburn University
  • 2014-2021: Co-Director, Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Sociology
  • 2014-2019: Coordinator, Rural & Community Development Minor
  • 2011-present: Core Faculty, Auburn University Food Systems Institute
  • 2008-2013: Assistant Professor, Auburn University
  • 2009-2011: Core Faculty, Auburn University Food Safety Initiative
  • 2007-2008: Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
  • 2006-2007: Research Associate, Michigan State University


  • 2019-2020: Lead 21, Class 15
  • 2017: Project Team Award, Auburn University College of Agriculture
  • 2017: Best Paper Award, journal of Rural Sociology
  • 2016: Teaching Excellence Award, Auburn University College of Agriculture
  • 2014: AAES Director’s Research Award for Junior Faculty, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
  • 2013: Excellence in Instruction, Rural Sociological Society


  • North American College Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA)
  • Rural Sociological Society (RSS)



  • ROSC 3190 – Food, Agriculture and Society -This course is designed to provide undergraduate students with an introduction to the study of the agrifood system. The class conceptually divided into three sections:
    • The historical development of the agrifood system.
    • The large-scale and “conventional” sectors.
    • The small-scale and “alternative” sectors.

    Students are challenged to consider the relationship between the U.S. and the global agrifood systems; the forces that affect the structure and increasing bifurcation of the agrifood system; and the ways in which they personally interact with the agrifood system and communities therein.

  • ROSC 4930 – Directed Studies in Rural Sociology: Agrifood Systems]
  • ROSC 4960 – Special Problems in Rural Sociology and Community Development: Sustainable Agrifood Systems
  • ROSC 5650/6650 – Sociology of Natural Resources and the Environment -This course is available to both advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Conceptually, the course focuses on the social construction of natural resource and environment problems including, but not limited to:
    • Discourse including framing and the role of the media.
    • Governance including the role of science and power.
    • Production and consumption including resource dependence.
    • Risk and disaster including the barriers and constraints to community resilience.

    At the core of the course is a semester-long case study, rooted in content analysis, which provides students with an opportunity to focus on the application of course concepts, theories, and approaches to explore and to analyze a “real-world” natural resource or environmental problem.

  • ROSC 7960 – Special Problems in Rural Sociology: Sociology of Food and Agri-food System – Drawing on classic and contemporary literature, this course is designed to provide a graduate level introduction to the sociology of food and agriculture.  Similar to RSOC 3190, it focuses on the historical development of the U.S. agrifood system; its contemporary structure and connection to the larger global agrifood system; and the human and nonhuman actors that bring agrifood products into being, into the market, and into the hands and mouths of consumers.




  • Denny, R.C.H.,* M.R. Worosz, and N.L.W. Wilson. The importance of governance levels in alternative food networks: The case of red meat inspection rulesRural Sociology (DOI: 10.1111/ruso.12103).


  • Johnson, T., N.L. Wilson, M.R. Worosz, D. Fields, and J.K. Bond. Commodity Highlight: Sweet PotatoesVegetable and Pulses Outlook, VGS-354-SA1. Economic Research Service, U.S.


  • Worosz, M.R. and D. Stuart. Invited. Food safety and the structure of the agrifood system. Pp. 103-120 in Rural America in a Globalizing World: Problems and Prospects for the 2010s, edited by C. Bailey, L. Jensen, and E. Ransom. West Virginia.
  • Wilson, N.L.W. and M.R. Worosz. Zero tolerance rules for food safety and qualityFood Policy, 45: 112-115.


  • Prevatt, C., J. Novak, W. Prevatt, M.R. Worosz, K. Balkcom, W. Birdsong, B. Gamble, and J. Howe. A return-risk analysis of Southern row-crop enterprises and the sod-based rotationJournal of Agribusiness, 31 (1 & 2): 35-45.
  • Stuart, D. and M.R. Worosz. The myth of efficiency: Technology and ethics in industrial food production.Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 26(1): 231-256.


  • Stuart, D. and M.R. Worosz. Risk, anti-reflexivity, and ethical neutralization in industrial food processing. Agriculture and Human Values, 29:287-301.
  • Worosz, M.R. and N.L.W. Wilson. A cautionary tale of purity, labeling and product literacy in the gluten-free market.  Journal of Consumer Affairs, Summer:288-318.
  • Denny, R. and M.R. Worosz. Meat inspection regulations: The federal – state relationship. Pp. 170-180 in Empowering Underserved Farmers and Rural Communities by Changing Legislation, USDA Eligibility Requires, and Program Delivery, edited by T.M. Hargrove, N.O. Tackie, R. Zabawa, and W.A. Hill. Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL.


  • Bain, C., E. Ransom, and M.R. Worosz. Constructing credibility: Using technoscience to legitimate strategies in agrifood governanceJournal of Rural Social Sciences, vol 25(3):160-192.


  • Worosz, M.R. The Mobile Bay Research Project: An experiment in collaborative learning about the social construction of environment and natural resource problemsSouthern Rural Sociology, vol 24(3):51-76.


  • Knight, A.J., M.R. Worosz, and E.C.D. Todd. Dining for food safety: Consumer perceptions of food safety and eating outJournal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, vol 33(4):471-86.


  • Kennedy, J., M.R. Worosz, E.C.D. Todd, et al. Segmentation of U.S. consumers based on food safety attitudes. British Food Journal, vol 110(7):691-705.
  • Rudy, A.P., C.K. Harris, B. Thomas, et al. The political ecology of SW Michigan agriculture, 1837-2004. Pp. 152-205 in Agrarian Landscapes in Transition: Ecological, Social and Conservation Effects, edited by C. Redman and D.R. Foster: Oxford University Press.     
  • Worosz, M.R., A.J. Knight, and C.K. Harris. Resilience in the red meat sector: The role of food safety policy. Invited paper, Agriculture and Human Values, vol 25(2):187-191..
  • Knight, A.J., M.R. Worosz, M.K. Lapinski-Lafaive, et al. Consumer perceptions of the food safety system: Implications for food safety educators and policy makers. Food Protection Trends, vol 28(3):27-32.
  • Worosz, M.R., A.J. Knight, C.K. Harris, et al. Barriers to sustainability in the specialty red meat sectorSouthern Rural Sociology, vol 23(1):170-207.
  • Knight, A.J., M.R. Worosz, E.C.D. Todd, et al. Listeria in raw milk soft cheese: A case study of risk governance in the United States using the IRGC framework. Pp. 179-220 in Global Risk Governance: Concept and Practice Using the IRGC Framework, edited by O. Renn and K. Walker: Springer Press.


  • Knight, A.J., M.R. Worosz, and E.C.D. Todd. Serving food safety: Consumer perceptions of food safety at restaurantsInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol 19(6): 476-84.
  • Todd, E.C.D., C.K. Harris, A.J., Knight, and M.R. Worosz. Spinach and the media: How we learn about a major outbreakFood Protection Trends, vol 27(5): 314-21.


Agriculture, Food, & Environment

Please reach out by email for project requests.

  • Gulf of Mexico in the Media Project
  • Mobile Bay Watershed Project
  • The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Project


  • Food Safety Governance