Web
Analytics
Zachary Neal | About me

Hi, I'm Zachary Neal...

–––––––

I'm an Associate Professor at Michigan State University. My research focuses on using the tools and theories of network science to explore urban phenomena at a range of scales, from the formation of social networks in neighborhoods to the evolution of economic networks between world cities. I am also interested in facilitating the use of research in general, and particularly in public education.

 

Education & Work

–––––––––––––

2016 – Present

Associate Professor, Psychology

Michigan State University

–––––––––––––

2014 – 2016

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Michigan State University

–––––––––––––

2009 – 2014

Assistant Professor, Sociology

Michigan State University

–––––––––––––

Ph.D. in Sociology, 2009

University of Illinois at Chicago

–––––––––––––

M.A. in Sociology, 2005

University of Illinois at Chicago

–––––––––––––

B.A. in Philosophy, 2001

University of Arizona

Editorships

–––––––––––––

American Journal of Community Psychology

Editorial Board, 2018 – Present

–––––––––––––

Evidence and Policy

Associate Editor, 2017 – Present

–––––––––––––

Journal of Urban Affairs

Managing Editor, 2015 – Present

–––––––––––––

Global Networks

Associate Editor, 2012 – Present

–––––––––––––

City and Community

Editorial Board, 2009 – Present

–––––––––––––

Metropolis and Modern Life Book Series

Editor, 2007 – Present

–––––––––––––

City and Community

Managing Editor, 2003 – 2009

Awards

–––––––––––––

Early Career Award, 2017

Society for Community Research & Action (SCRA), APA Division 27

–––––––––––––

Freeman Award, 2016

International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA)

–––––––––––––

Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2010

University of Illinois at Chicago

Research

–––––––––––––

Network Science

Social networks can be hard to measure, so I'm interested in how we can infer when two people have a relationship by looking at their "co-behaviors" using bipartite projections. For example, when can we infer that two scholars collaborate by observing that they co-author papers, or that two politicians have an alliance by observing that they co-sponsor legislation? I have also worked on developing new metrics for network characteristics like centrality and small worldliness.

–––––––––––––

Urban Studies

I'm interested in how networks shape everything that happens both in and between cities. In my work on urban networks, I've looked at both the micro-urban social networks between people in cities, and macro-urban economic and transportation (airline) networks between cities around the world. Much of this work has been in close collaboration with the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Group, and is summed up in my book The Connected City. I am also interested in the relationship between social cohesion and spatial segregation; can we build communities that are both strong and diverse?

–––––––––––––

Implementation Science

Researchers are pretty good as developing promising new ideas, but they're only helpful if we can also put them into practice, or implement them. The field of implementation science focuses on how we can make it easier to share evidence-based ideas with the people who can use them, and how we can make those ideas easier to use. I co-direct the Michigan School Program Information (MiSPI) project, which is focused on improving the dissemination and implementation of school-based programs using social networks.

Teaching

–––––––––––––

Network Analysis

I've taught courses on network analysis several times, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, so I've played with a couple different approaches. Sometimes it focuses on theory and method equally, while other times it is more focused on one than the other. And, sometimes it focuses on learning a specific software (e.g. UCINET), while other times it is software-independent and focused more on methodological concepts. Here are copies of syllabi for recent graduate (PSY992, Fall 2018) and undergraduate (PSY493, Spring 2015) offerings.

–––––––––––––

Agent-Based Modeling

I am a relative newcomer to ABM, but I love teaching it, so far only at the graduate level. My own ABM work, and my seminar on ABM, focuses in using simulation to build and test theory, following what Joshua Epstein calls the "Generativist Approach." The seminar uses NetLogo, and teaches ABM through a series of model-building projects which students present, then cast votes for "coolest" model and "most elegant" code. Here is the syllabus for a recent version of the course (PSY992, Fall 2017).

–––––––––––––

Urban Theory

Having initially studied urban sociology, in Chicago, how could I not occasionally teach about urban theory. When I teach these courses, I find it helpful to organize things around "Schools of Thought," starting with the Chicago School (a la Robert Park), then tracing the evolution of thinking through New Urban Sociology (Molotch), The LA School (Dear), and some other more recent intellectual strands. Here is the syllabus and reading list from a graduate-level version (GUSP970, Fall 2012).

 

Travel

–––––––––––––

I love to travel, usually for work, and usually with my wife and sometimes collaborator Jenna Watling Neal. Here are some photos of some of the places we've been recently.

 

What's Brewing?

–––––––––––––

Darkest Before the Light

Belgian Quadrupel

–––––––––––––

Everything but the Huevos

Oatmeal stout with coffee & chile

2018 Bell's Homebrew Competition Entry

–––––––––––––

Orange Krüsh

Kölsch with sweet & bitter orange peel

–––––––––––––

The Earl of Stout

Milk Stout with Earl Gray Tea

2017 Bell's Homebrew Competition Entry

–––––––––––––

Thai-m for Summer

Saison with Thai basil

In Vino Veritas

–––––––––––––

You can use the buttons below to check out what we've opened recently, and what we're waiting patiently to open.

© 2019 by Zachary Neal

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Amazon Social Icon