It’s been a busy year for the undergraduate program. In the fall, we officially launched our new Criminology major. Now the department offers majors in both sociology and criminology, as well as four minors and two micro-credentials. We scheduled a series of events to celebrate the launch of the new major: a career panel with professionals working in the field, film screenings, guest speakers and a crime and justice issues panel. Sociology and criminology undergraduate students played an active role in these events, helping to advertise them to their social networks and even co-organizing the panel discussion. These events brought our undergraduate majors together around critical issues surrounding crime and justice in the United States and in our community and also gave students specific guidance on how to get involved in issues they are passionate about as well as how to pursue careers in criminology.
Our undergraduate majors have had a busy year too. The students have interned at local prison reentry programs, with local and federal politicians and community programs for low-income children. Some department majors and minors studied abroad in London over the winter session with Debra Street, studying the Sociology of Food. Other students were studying abroad for the spring semester, and working in professional internships in London, before being recalled due to public health concerns. In all of their experiential learning activities, department majors put the concepts and skills they learned in their courses to work beyond the classroom.
The department’s undergraduate sociology club held discussion events this year on topics ranging from race in the discipline of sociology to the challenges of late capitalism to criminal justice reform. All club officers graduated this year and are moving on to their graduate studies, so the department is busy recruiting new students to take over the club leadership. The department has been fortunate to work with such a dedicated and hard-working group of students who have certainly enriched the community.
After moving classes online this semester to safeguard students and faculty during the height of the pandemic, we look forward to next year and we hope to be back in the classroom. We will continue to build experiential learning opportunities for our students. Our majors are growing and there is considerable energy surrounding our new programs. The Department of Sociology is an exciting place to be.