The Department of Sociology had its beginnings in 1940 when the University offered a concentration in sociology. Since then, the Sociology Department has been committed to excellence in teaching, research and community service. We currently have over 350 undergraduate students taking Sociology as majors and more than 40 graduate students enrolled in the master’s degree program as well as in the joint-master’s degree program in Criminology with the Criminal Justice Department. The department’s mission to students is to help them to develop a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of complex social issues. That includes social inequalities, injustice, unequal distribution of wealth, poverty and the social macro forces behind these phenomena in an increasingly era of globalization and a transnational way of life. Sociology majors are well-grounded in both classical and contemporary theoretical frameworks. They must master the basics in both qualitative and qualitative research methods. Our rigorous and theory-driven curriculum is designed to teach our students to: 1) think analytically and critically about social structures and processes in a globalized environment, 2) to formulate sociological inquires and search for research-based solutions to society’s both persistent and new problems, and 3) to articulate a course of action.
Aside from their teaching responsibilities, Sociology faculty pursue academic research in many different areas of expertise, including crime, demographic change, deviance, education, family, globalization, heath and illness, labor relations, immigration, international border issues, race relations, social class, and mental health. Several faculty members have attained regional, national and international recognitions through their prolific scholarly work and funded research endeavors. Faculty members have also recently led or collaborated with researchers from leading research universities on projects of vast social and policy implications on topics such as undocumented immigrants, public health, community corrections and parole policies, and statistical strategies for sampling racial/ethnic minorities and other hard-to-reach populations. Faculty members have also engaged in intense community-oriented research focused on salient local and regional problems that make significant contributions to the local communities. Taking advantage of our geographical location, several faculty members focus on trans-border and trans-cultural research projects.
The Department also publishes Mobilization: An International Quarterly, a leading sociology journal. It is the premier journal of research in social movements and protest. This supports our emphasis on community-based service learning classes in our teaching program. The Department offers several courses in six broad areas: 1) Community Structure and Institutions, 2) Social Inequalities (encompassing race, class, labor, and healthcare), 3) Diversity and Change, 4) Crime and Control, 5) Microsociology, and 6) Research Methods.
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