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Arts and Sciences Learning Objectives

Sociology

Program Overview

The Department of Sociology teaches students to examine social interactions, institutions, and identities in a systematic way. Our varied courses show how our selves, our actions, and our relationships are shaped by society, and how they in turn structure and change society. Social class, race, and gender are of central concern, as are institutions such as the media, the law, the family, religion, medicine, education, the military, business, nonprofit organizations, science, and the arts. Our research and teaching strengths are in three broad areas: media, culture, and society; social inequalities and social change; and immigration, transnational communities, and globalization.

Our students learn theories and research techniques that are useful for understanding social structures and solving social problems. Critical and comparative analysis and the imagination of alternative visions of society are fostered. Sociology majors graduate with highly developed research and critical thinking skills that suit them well for graduate and professional school and for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, business, the law, communications, and research.

Learning Objectives

Students who graduate with a major in Sociology will have developed:

  1. a broad understanding of the historical and theoretical development of the discipline;
     
  2. an understanding of how to gather and analyze quantitative data;
     
  3. the skills to develop an original research question, design a project using qualitative data to study the question, and gather and analyze qualitative data to answer the question.
     
  4. an in-depth understanding of classical and contemporary sociological theories;
     
  5. the ability to examine social structures analytically and critically;
     
  6. an understanding of how social constructs such as gender, race, and class influence people's social positions and organize their daily lives;
     
  7. knowledge of how people change society by forming social movements and using the media;
     
  8. a comparative perspective on cultures, social structures, institutions, and practices;
     
  9. skills that integrate their coursework with field research or volunteer experience in the community;
     
  10. the ability to read and understand original research published by sociologists;
     
  11. the ability to produce a major piece of writing that reviews published sociological research, develops a sustained argument, and uses theory and research to support the argument.
     
  12. in-depth knowledge of a subfield in the discipline.

Assessment of Students' Achievement of the Learning Objectives

Graduating students must fill out Degree Checklist showing how they have fulfilled the requirements for the Sociology major. This form requires the signature of both the student's adviser and the chair of the department, both of whom shall review the student's accomplishments to determine that he or she has achieved the above learning objectives by completing the following:

  1. Sociology 1: Introduction to Sociology and Sociology 103: Survey of Social Theory, both of which provide a broad understanding of the historical and theoretical development of the discipline;
     
  2. Sociology 101: Quantitative Research Methods, in which the student learns to understand quantitative research and analyze quantitative data;
     
  3. Sociology 102: Qualitative Research Methods, in which the student learns to conduct and understand qualitative research by designing a study of his or her own and then gathering and analyzing data through systematic observation.
     
  4. Sociology 103: Survey of Social Theory, in which the student learns classical sociological theories such as those of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, and contemporary sociological theories such as those of Bourdieu and Giddens;
     
  5. electives, such as Sociology 20: Family and Intimate Relationships and Sociology 121: Sociology of Law, in which the student examines social structures in an analytical and critical way;
     
  6. electives, such as Sociology 30: Sex and Gender in Society, Sociology 110: Racial and Ethnic Relations, and Sociology 130: Wealth, Poverty and Inequality, in which the student learns how inequality is socially structured and how social constructs such as gender, race, and class influence people's social positions and organize their daily lives;
     
  7. electives, such as Sociology 40: Media and Society and Sociology 135: Social Movements, in which the student learns how people form social movements and use institutions such as the media to change society;
     
  8. electives, such as Sociology 50: Globalization and Social Change, Sociology 108: Epidemics, and Sociology 143: Sociology of Religion, in which the student learns comparatively about cultures, social structures, institutions, and practices;
     
  9. courses designated by the department as Sociology outside the Classroom, including Sociology 99: Internship, Sociology 102: Qualitative Research Methods, Sociology 111: Social Change and Community Organizing, Sociology 130: Wealth, Poverty and Inequality, and Sociology 184: Non-profits, States and Markets.
     
  10. electives numbered above 100;
     
  11. a seminar, numbered 180 and above, in which the student, usually a senior, writes a paper of about twenty pages that reviews the relevant sociological literature, develops a sustained argument, and uses sociological theories and research to support the paper's argument.
     
  12. completion of three thematically related courses, or completion of a departmental cluster in Media, Culture, and Society, or Social Inequality and Social Change.

Means of assessment. The faculty member who teaches the 180-level seminar used by a student to complete the concentration in Sociology, or who chairs a Sociology major's senior honors thesis committee, will complete and place in a departmental file the form titled Sociology Major's Achievement of Learning Objectives in a 180-Level Seminar or a Senior Honors Thesis. For students who complete both a senior honors thesis and a 180-level seminar, the thesis will be used for assessment. For students who complete more than one seminar, the last one taken will be used for assessment.

Early in the fall semester, the department will assess achievement of the department's learning objectives by examining the records of one-third of the majors who graduated the previous academic year. Each student will be evaluated by team of two: 1) the student's adviser and 2) the faculty member who gave the seminar used to complete the major, or the faculty member who chaired the major's senior honors thesis committee. If the adviser also taught the seminar or chaired the thesis committee, a second member of the department will be chosen to form the team.

The team will assess a student's achievement of the learning objectives by examining the courses the student completed, performance in those courses, and performance in the capstone experience, as evaluated on the form titled Sociology Major's Achievement of Learning Objectives in a 180-Level Seminar or a Senior Honors Thesis. The team will also consider responses on the form titled Self-Assessment: Sociology Major's Learning Objectives. The team will write a one-paragraph assessment of the student's achievement of the learning objectives. These assessments will be circulated to all members of the department and discussed at a departmental meeting.

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