Elaine Howard Ecklund is a Rice faculty scholar at the Baker Institute, the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, professor of sociology, and founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University. An expert on institutional change, Ecklund is a sociologist who examines how individuals bring changes to religious and scientific institutions.
Ecklund is the author of four books published by the Oxford University Press and a fifth published by New York University Press. She has written more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles and numerous op-eds. She has received over $5 million in grants and awards from organizations including the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Her latest book is “Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion.” Ecklund's research has been covered in the national and international news media, including USA Today, Nature, The Wall Street Journal and Xinhua News.
She received a Ph.D. in 2004 from Cornell University, where she was the recipient of the Class of 2004 Graduate Student Baccalaureate Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service. Ecklund teaches classes at the graduate and undergraduate levels on research methods, immigration, sociology of science, classical sociological theory and sociology of religion. In 2011 she was named among the top 5% of junior faculty teachers at Rice University and in 2013 received the Charles Duncan Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.