Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior, ranging from individuals to interpersonal relationships to large-scale social change. Sociologists not only attempt to understand social behavior, but they also seek to change it through, for example, involvement in social policy, planning, or program evaluation.
The mission of the Department of Sociology is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of how our lives are shaped by a variety of social phenomena such as social institutions, groups, interpersonal relationships, and, in particular, inequality in modern society. We seek to build student success by combining an interdisciplinary and liberal arts context with concrete analytical skills in research methods, statistics, and critical thinking. Such skills equip our students for a variety of professional roles in business, non-profit, and governmental sectors. In short, our students learn how to study and explain social behavior as well as how to critically evaluate common assumptions about society.
The 2016 induction ceremony for Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), the international sociological honor society, was held on March 31, 2016. AKD recognizes junior or senior sociology majors ranked in the top third of their class based on GPA. Congratulations to 2016 inductees Toby A. Comstock, Sara Connor, Courtney L. Corcoran, Amelia M. Garcia, Julie Giaimo, Penny Glena, Madelynn Emily Gray, Benjamin Haskell, Haley Huey, Julieanne Lush, Megan M Murphy, Chris-Dé-Vaun R. Parker, Michelle R. Powderly, Amanda Roberts, Leah Grace Staley, Melissa Szurgyi, Nicole A. Wheeler, and Robyn Leigh Wohlers for a job well done!
Senior Sara Connor was also named the 2016 Department Scholar for outstanding academic achievement in sociology.
Pina Valle Holway ('08) joined the faculty at University of Texas, San Antonio as an Assistant Professor of Demography in Fall 2015. Pina completed her Ph.D. in Sociology with a specialization in demography at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Prior to being hired at San Antonio, she was a post-doc at the Population Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin.
Dr. Amy Guptill partnered with Dr. Andrea Ciliotta-Rubery of the political science department to offer an exciting new summer course on food entitled, "The Food System: Community & Politics." For two weeks in August 2015, students explored the industrial, alternative and emergency food systems through a series of readings and field trips to sites in and around Monroe County, NY.
Dr. Tara Tober joined the sociology department in fall 2015 as our newest Assistant Professor of Sociology. Dr. Tober was previously a visiting instructor in the department, teaching introductory sociology and courses on globalization, and work and organizations. She will also teach the required sociological theory course starting in spring 2016. Dr. Tober comes to us with a PhD in sociology from the University of Virginia, where she completed research on collective memory in Ireland.
Dr. Guptill was elected to serve as Executive Director of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS) for 2015-16. AFHVS is an interdisciplinary organization focused on agriculture, rural studies, and food studies. They host a joint annual meeting with the Association for the Study of Food & Society in June.
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