Sociology Department unveils new curriculum

October 4, 2012

By Emily Laidley ’13

Sociology is a rapidly evolving professional field and so the faculty at Bradley’s Department of Sociology is working hard to keep the curriculum dynamic and engaging for students.

This semester the Department unveiled a new curriculum that helps students to focus their studies. Dr. Jacqueline Hogan, associate professor and sociology department chair, said the curriculum now features three focus areas of study: Inequality and Social Justice, Health and Social Services, and Global Studies.

“Each student must choose one of them,” Dr. Hogan said. “Global Studies is about cultures around the world. Inequality and Social Justice examines things like economic inequality, racial inequality, and gender inequality. And Health and Social Services looks at workplaces, families, deviance and delinquency, and issues related to health and illness, among other things.”

Students will build their studies around one of these focus areas by taking at least two courses in their chosen specialty. However, Dr. Hogan said, students must also take at least one course from each of the other areas to have well-rounded, broad-based understanding of the discipline.

This is a change from the old curriculum under which students had only three core courses and fulfilled the rest of their credit hours through electives.

“Some students would choose to take almost all their classes in just one area, so they would get a very in depth look into just one area, and then others would take some courses in just about everything and come out with a wide breadth of knowledge, but nothing very deep,” Dr. Hogan said. 

The focus areas are not the only changes to the curriculum this semester. The Department also has a new professional seminar that provides students information needed to succeed as a sociology major: how to write, research, build a resume, look for and apply for grad school and more.

“Students take this as soon as they declare the major,” Dr. Hogan added. In addition there is a capstone seminar in which seniors develop individual research projects.

The changes are already paying off. Dr. Hogan explained that “students have been responding very positively so far. I think they like that it helps them have greater focus and they seem to really be enjoying the pro-seminar.”