Monte Bute is an associate professor of sociology at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota, where he has taught for 30 years. His opinion essays appear on the editorial pages of daily newspapers in the Twin Cities. Bute also frequently testifies on higher education issues before the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. He served as action coordinator for the Inter Faculty Organization, the union for 4,000 professors at Minnesota state universities.
His teaching and research interests include social theory, public sociology, teaching and learning, social power, protest and social movements, and political theory.
Monte began teaching at MetropolitanState as a community faculty member in 1984. He finally finished a long-delayed B.A. at the university in 1991. After a 20-year career as a community organizer, he realized that his next mission in life was teaching. To fulfill that calling, Bute began graduate school rather late in life. Professor Bute has been a prolific writer over the years, publishing 80 articles in scholarly publications and the popular press. Monte frequently gives public talks, having made over 90 presentations at academic conferences and community events.
Monte Bute is, first, a master teacher. As a social scientist, he has taught thousands of students and delights in the challenge of reaching each student. At times, he employs a provocative teaching style in his interactive classes. His passion for teaching extends to all levels of university students, from freshmen to graduate students.
Bute received the Faculty Excellence Award in 2011 from the College of Arts and Science. In 2010, he named the Alumnus of the Year of Metropolitan State University. Sociologists of Minnesota (SOM) gave Monte the Distinguished Sociologist award in 2004. Bute has received Metropolitan State University’s Outstanding Teacher award and the Excellence in Teaching award. The Minneapolis Community and Technical College, the Jobs Now Coalition, and the Job Training Partnership Association have also given Bute awards.
Professor Bute is a past president of both Sociologists of Minnesota and the National Council of State Sociological Associations (NCSSA). Monte has been the editor of Sociograph, associate editor of the Sociological Imagination, and a member of the editorial board of Contexts, a journal of the American Sociological Association. He has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.
Like many of his students, Monte came to both academic life and sociology by a rather circuitous route. Majoring in American studies and European humanities, he dropped out of college in 1967 and landed in Berkeley and the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Bute then spent the next two decades on the barricades of social change, working as a grassroots organizer and independent scholar for organizations representing the unemployed, tenants, welfare recipients, union members, and students. He served on the Governor’s Poverty Commission in 1986-87 and was the lead author of A Poverty of Opportunity: Restoring the Minnesota Dream.
Having become a social scientist by the seat of his pants, Bute adheres to Alfred Schutz’s distinction between scholarship aimed at the “expert” and scholarship directed to the “well-informed citizen.” Monte’s intellectual activities for the past 45 years have been devoted to communicating with the well-informed citizen.