Douglas Baer

Douglas Baer
Professor Emeritus

PhD (Waterloo, 1987)

Area of expertise

Political sociology

Political Sociology

Doug Baer is a Professor in the Department of Sociology, where he has been teaching since 2001.   He was Department Chair from 2001 through 2006. Previously, he taught for 16 years at Western University (Sociology), where he was Graduate Chair, and for 8 years in the Communications Department at the University of Windsor.  

Doug was President Canadian Sociology Association (then named the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association) in 2003-2004, serving a three-year cycle as President-Elect, President then Past President.   Probably as a result of this position, he served on numerous grant panels and committees in the first decade of the new millennium, including CFI and SSHRC.  

Doug teaches and does work in the area of quantitative research methods.   To help quantitative researchers at the University of Victoria undertake work with Statistics Canada data without having to make onerous trips to a centre at UBC, he founded the UVic Branch Research Data Centre in 2006. This was one of two branches which pioneered the concept, eventually leading to the establishment of similar branches across Canada. It is now the case that no major or even medium sized university is without either a full data centre or a branch. Doug has served in executive positions associated with the national data centre network.

Doug gives workshops and seminars internationally at two well-known centres.   He has been an instructor at the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods at the International Consortium for Political and Social Research (UVic is a member institution) for over 30 years, teaching advanced courses (mostly involving latent variable structural equation models).   More recently, he has been invited to give short course seminars in Switzerland, at the Global School for Empirical Research Methods (“GSERM”) at the University of St. Gallen. Previously, Doug gave workshops at various Canadian programs, including the now defunct SSHRC-funded SPIDA (Summer Program in Data Analysis) at York University.

Doug was actively involved in faculty associations both at Western University (where he was President as part of a three-year cycle) and UVic (where he was also elected president for two years).   Both at Western and at UVic, he was active during challenging periods that led to faculty unionization. In addition, in different ways, both organizations had major staffing shortages at the time he assumed the respective presidencies. Across 3 Canadian universities, Doug has served on 8 different negotiating teams (in 3 instances as Chief Negotiator).

Doug became President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia for a two year period ending recently, in 2016, at a time when the organization was dealing with major organizational changes and the departure of an Executive Director.

Doug’s research and publications have mostly been in what might widely be referred to as political sociology, with an emphasis on issues related to civic engagement and volunteering (but also with work on Canadian political party support and attitudes toward inequality).   He has been published twice in the top-rated American Sociological Review and once in the typically third-ranked Social Forces.


  • Quantitative Methodology
  • Social Inequality
  • Political Sociology
  • Immigration

Faces of UVic Research video

In this video, Douglas talks about his most recent research and the value of sharing expertise.


Baer, D. 2007. "Voluntary Association and New Social Movement Association Involvement in Comparative Perspective" ch. 3 (pp. 67-125) in Lars Tragardh (ed.) The State and Civil Society in Northern Europe: The Swedish Model Reconsidered. New York: Berghahn Books.

Baer, D. 2005. "On the Crisis in Canadian Sociology. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 30(4), 491-502.

Baer, D. 2004. "Educational Credentials and the Changing Occupational Structure" pp. 115-130 in J. Curtis, E. Grabb, N. Guppy, Social Inequality in Canada. 4th edition. Toronto: HBJ Canada.

Kierkus, C. and D. Baer. 2003. "Does the Relationship Between Family Structure and Delinquency Vary According to Circumstances?" Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 45(4), 405-429.

Curtis, J., D. Baer and E. Grabb. 2001. "Nations of Joiner: Explaining Voluntary Association Membership in Democratic Societies," American Sociological Review, 66(6), 783-805.