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Sociology Department Mission

The Department of Sociology is comprised of professional sociologists and anthropologists dedicated to representing these two disciplines in the Wittenberg community. The facilities and resources of the Department are to be used in the pursuit of this task. Our primary tasks are those of instruction in our specialities, with the preservation, creation and dissemination of knowledge in our areas of expertise linked to instruction and consonant with it.

Sociology and Anthropology are the most general social sciences, both devoted to the analysis of society and culture as complex human phenomena. While the first goal of scholarship is understanding, our pursuit of knowledge is also guided by the need to address human problems and assist in the formulation and implementation of intentional policy to meet socio-cultural goals. Each faculty member is involved in research activities with the aim of discovery and preservation of knowledge about society and culture. In the most general sense, as teachers we seek to induct students into this quest. At minimum, we seek to provide students with the basis upon which they will be able to evaluate publicly relevant social scientific scholarship, such as that which is used in policy development or planning.

The scholarly approaches of both Sociology and Anthropology are taken by faculty in the department. Within the constraints of resources, both approaches are integrated in the curriculum of the department, with neither prejudice nor privilege granted to either.

The members of the department serve at least three distinct constituencies. First, we provide a Sociology Major for advanced undergraduate students. Second, we introduce our social scientific approach to a broad array of non-majors as part of their General Education program in the liberal arts and sciences. Third, acknowledging the increasing applicability of social scientific approaches to a wide range of questions, we serve diverse communities-- campus, local, state, national and international communities -- as resources for information and insight in the areas of our expertise.

We meet the third function through our research publications and presentations, consultancies, participation in community service, media appearances and the like. In all these activities, we take the role of teacher of the public as a high calling.

We meet the second function, serving the general education program of non-majors, by offering courses on the introductory level that introduce the major ideas, theories and concerns of our scholarly approach. Such introductory courses may be overviews of our fields, such as Introduction to Sociology or Cultural Anthropology, or they may be topically focused courses, such as Social Change or Sociology of the Family. We also serve the interdisciplinary major and minor programs on campus through courses with appropriate content such as Global Change (Global Studies), Gender and Society (Women's Studies) or Japanese Society (East Asian Studies).

Finally, the Department of Sociology provides a curriculum with which students may complete a major or minor in Sociology.

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