Like all the departments at Wittenberg, the Sociology Department arranges a great many curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students to extend and apply their background in sociology. This could be a study-abroad program or an internship. Or it could be reading a paper at a student research symposium. Exploring a field outside the classroom is often the most memorable part of an undergraduate education.
Professional Development & Scholarly Achievement
Colloquia Series: Each year the department sponsors several speakers on sociological and anthropological topics. Often, presenters are nationally and internationally known experts. Wittenberg faculty members also frequently give presentations on their research, especially that carried out while on sabbatical leave.
Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honorary: Wittenberg University is the home of the Sigma of Ohio chapter of AKD. Students with a major or minor in sociology become eligible after completing four courses in sociology and must have both a 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.0 GPA in Sociology.
The T. Edwin Boling Sociology Scholarship Award: The Sociology Department presents an award each year to the outstanding graduating senior major. Two recent recipients are nearing completion of doctoral degrees in sociology; others have gone on to careers or graduate programs in social service and social policy fields.
As part of the major in sociology, students are required to complete a senior thesis under the supervision of the "Senior Thesis Professor" and a "Primary Reader" who has a related scholarly interest. The thesis is seen as a capstone experience for majors in that it allows them both to explore research and analytical skills that they have learned earlier and to develop these skills with direct application. In addition, in the process of research and writing, the student develops new skills for the analysis that grow out of the first-hand research tasks. Finally, the thesis process allows the department to assess how well it is doing in preparing students for critical and creative thinking, and for professional or allied careers using their major.
The topic of thesis research is chosen in consultation between the student and the faculty. Hands-on empirical research is encouraged, sometimes using available data sets -- including those developed through the surveys carried out in the Research Methods course in the department -- and sometimes requiring the full initiation and carrying out of data gathering in the form of a survey, participant observation project, content analysis or other research method.
Senior theses are completed largely during the fall semester of the sociology students' last year at Wittenberg. However, revision tasks normally run into the spring semester, and a presentation of the research paper in a student conference format is carried out in the middle of spring semester. The Senior Thesis Presentation is one of the programs in the departmental colloquium series, so an audience made up of students, faculty and local guests has an opportunity to hear about the studies carried out by the senior majors.
Outstanding and accomplished majors are encouraged to seek to earn department honors in Sociology by preparing a Senior Honors Thesis in place of the regular Senior Thesis. The honors thesis is more extensive and requires completion of a more complex and detailed research paper comparable to those found in journals in the discipline.