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Sociology Mission and Vision

Mission Statement

The mission of the sociology program is to provide students with a broad and actionable education, applicable to a variety of career paths, that includes research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Sociology offers students a rigorous training to critically examine the social world, including groups, institutions, cultures, and interactions. We seek to train students interested in understanding social dynamics, conducting their own research, advocating for social justice, and addressing our society’s most pressing problems.

Vision Statement

In the sociology program, our vision is to support students on their path to becoming informed, well-rounded, and effective members of our society by providing them with a rigorous curriculum where they can see themselves and their future life trajectories represented. We believe that the skills provided by an education in sociology are a public good, and we hope our students go on to be the leaders of tomorrow, working for a more innovative, inclusive, just, and sustainable future.

Sociology Student Learning Goals

Sociology students will develop the following *concepts and competencies:

The Sociological Perspective: Five Essential Concepts

Goals and Essential Concepts Outcomes and Significance (Students will…)
The sociological eye Recognize key theoretical frameworks and assumptions upon which the discipline is founded and differentiated from other social sciences.
Social structure Articulate what sociologists mean by social structure and how structural forces affect human action and social life at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
Socialization Explain the relationship between self and society and how the self is socially constructed and maintained at multiple levels.
Stratification Identify how social structures create and reproduce different forms of social inequality in human society through specific processes, and interpret empirical patterns and effects of social inequality.
Social change and social reproduction Comprehend how social structures reproduce themselves across generations, but also how social change occurs in cultural, social, political, and economic terms.

The Sociological Toolbox: Six Essential Competencies

Goals/Essential Competency Outcomes and Significance (Students will…)
Apply sociological theories to understand social phenomenon Be able to identify how sociological concepts and theories relate to everyday life.
Critically evaluate explanations of human behavior and social phenomenon Possess a critical lens for understanding human behavior and society.
Apply scientific principles to understand the social world Articulate importance of evidence and scientific methods for explanation  of social phenomenon.
Evaluate the quality of social scientific methods and data Be able to identify the characteristics of high-quality data and methods in sociological research.
Rigorously analyze social scientific data Identify disciplinary standards for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of data.
Use sociological knowledge to inform policy debates and promote public understanding Use their sociological knowledge and skills to engage with and impact the world around them.

*These concepts and competencies were adopted based on the following article: Susan Ferguson. 2016. “The Center Does Hold: The Sociological Literacy Framework.”
Teaching Sociology 44(3): 163-176.

Courtney Irby - Associate Professor of Sociology

Department - Sociology & Anthropology