Advising: Given its flexible course requirements, the Sociology program relies on good advising to ensure that students' needs are being met. Working with their advisor, majors and minors in Sociology craft an individualized program of study, which may include up to two internships and two independent study courses. A new program, Junior Advising, prompts students to think about employment and graduate and professional school options during the Fall of their Junior year.
Student Organizations: The Culture Club is the campus organization of Sociology majors and minors founded in 1994. With new officers elected every Spring, the group sponsors speakers, the annual Alumni Career Day, social service projects, parties, and other student-initiated events throughout the year. Last year, three students who were presenting research at the Midwest Sociological Society meetings in Des Moines, Iowa rehearsed their talks at a Culture Club get-together. Alpha Kappa Delta, an international honorary society for outstanding majors and minors, inducts new members twice a year.
Social Science Research Lab: With the department now located in the new Center for the Liberal Arts, Sociology students have access to a new computer lab devoted primarily to survey research. Equipped with data bases on CD-ROM, statistical packages, software for data collection, a phone bank, and lab assistants to answer questions, the lab allows students to test their ideas against real data at their own pace.
Chicago Urban Semester: Students interested in urban life or just seeking to broaden their horizons often enroll in the Chicago Urban Semester during their Junior year. The semester involves a core course, a seminar, an independent research project, and an internship. Students live in group apartments with fellow students from a dozen liberal arts colleges in the Midwest.
Internships: Illinois Wesleyan was one of the first liberal arts colleges in Illinois to allow internship experiences to count for college credit some 50 years ago. Today the majority of Sociology majors intern at a local social service agency or business organization. To receive credit, students must keep a daily journal of sociological observations, undertake an organization analysis, and complete an approved project utilizing their research skills. For more information on the exciting internship opportunities available, visit the Action Research Center's webpage.
Senior Seminar: A required course for graduation, Senior Seminar can be a revealing introduction to one's future professional life. For the past ten years, Senior Seminar has been devoted to evaluation research. In this type of research, students are commissioned by a local social service agency or government office to study the effectiveness of a program. Meeting weekly with their instructor, students design and conduct the research, then run statistical tests on their findings. The final report is presented orally to graduating Seniors and the faculty and in writing to the sponsoring agency.
Honors Research: As an alternative to Senior Seminar, students may enroll in Honors Research. To receive Honors credit, students must design a research project, select an advisor to supervise it, and recruit a group of faculty to read and respond to the final paper. Students undertaking Honors Research usually work two semesters on the project.
Postgraduate Education: About two-thirds of Sociology graduates from Illinois Wesleyan continue their education after college, usually after acquiring employment experience in their chosen profession. Although some enter Ph.D. programs in Sociology in order to pursue an academic career, most enter professional programs in social work, law, criminal justice, business, social policy, and public service. Opportunities for postgraduate education are posted on the department's bulletin board.