Academic ProgramsTeaching and LearningResearch and Creative ActivitiesUniversity and Community ServicesSpecial Accomplishments

Introduction

Mission

Curriculum

Assessment Plan

Learning Goals

Data

Self-Study

 

 

    Learning Goals

    What do students in sociology learn?
    How do students in sociology learn?

Students in sociology learn how to do social science research and how to apply the sociological imagination and perspective to their own lives, to the lives of their families and neighbors in the Sacramento region, and to the larger society and global community.

Sociology majors learn what the sociological perspective is - a special way to look at, analyze, and understand the world they live in - by taking courses that deal with social inequality, individual and group interaction, and analytical perspectives on how groups, the society, and the global world are constructed, work, and change.

Majors also learn a set of research skills that allow them to know how to critically think so they can formulate research questions, search for source material, do bibliographic seraches in libraries and on the internet, design and carry out a research project, collect and analyze data using statistics and computer software programs, and coherently write a research report.

The following program goals and learning expectations provide more specific information about what sociology students learn. Many of the learning goals listed below were adopted from Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major (1990) and from Program Review and Educational Quality in the Major (1992) published by the Association of American Colleges.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Expectations
1: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on the discipline of sociology and its role in contributing to our understanding of social reality.

The student should be able to

  • describe how sociology differs from and is similar to other social sciences and give examples of these differences; and
  • apply sociological imagination, principles, and concepts to her/his own life.
2: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on the role of theory in sociology.

The student should be able to

  • define theory and describe its role in building sociological knowledge;
  • compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations;
  • show how theories reflect the context in which they are developed; and
  • describe and apply basic theories or theoretical orientations.
3: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on the role of evidence and quantitative and qualitative research methods in sociology.

The student should be able to

  • identify basic methodological approaches and describe the general role of methods in building sociological knowledge;
  • compare and contrast basic methodological approaches for gathering data;
  • design and complete a research study; and
  • critically assess a published research report.
  • understand and apply basic statistical tests sociologists often use.
4: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to have basic computer skills necessary to find, communicate, create, and apply sociological knowledge and information.

The student should have the ability

  • to use computerized and on-line data bases to find published research;
  • to use the internet to communicate to others and to find information; and
  • to use standard software packages, such as SPSS, to analyze data.
5: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on basic concepts in sociology and their fundamental theoretical interrelations.

The student should be able to define, give examples, and demonstrate the relevance of culture, socialization, stratification, social structure, institutions, and differentiations by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and social class.

6: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on how social structures operate.

The student should be able to demonstrate

  • how institutions interact in their effects on other and on individuals;
  • how factors such as population or urbanization affect social structures and individuals; and
  • how culture and social structure vary across time and place.
7: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on reciprocal relationships between individuals and society.

The student should be able to explain

  • how the self develops sociologically;
  • how societal and structural factors influence individual behavior and the self's development;
  • how social interaction and the self influences society and social structure; and
  • how to distinguish sociological approaches to analyzing the self from psychological, economic, and other approaches.
8: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on the internal diversity of American society.

The student should be able to

  • describe the significance of variations by race, class, gender and age; and
  • understand appropriately how to generalize or resist generalization across groups.
9: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to study, review, and reflect on the place of American society in the global world and community.

The student should be able to

  • understand that local happenings are shaped by events occurring miles away and that their life and the lives of others are to an increasing degree being affected by events and processes everywhere, that they are experiencing an emerging global form of social life;
  • understand and critique the Eurocentric-U.S. pattern and conception of globalization and development;
  • understand that politics, economy, law, labor, culture, communications, and social movements have become globalized; and
  • understand that they live in an interdependent and unequal society and world.
10: The sociology major at CSU Sacramento will be expected to think critically.

The student should be able to

  • move easily from remembering through analysis and to synthesis and evaluation;
  • recognize underlying assumptions in theoretical orientations or arguments;
  • identify basic premises in particular arguments; and
  • present opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses on various issues.
11: The sociology major at CSUS will be expected to have the writing skills necessary to communicate effectively with persons whom they encounter in their work, civil obligation and personal life.

The student should be able to

  • write a clear and concise report of the findings from sociological data analysis; and
  • write a clear and concise sociological analysis and account of a social event, topic, issue, or problem.
    How Do Students In Sociology Learn?

Most faculty state on the syllabus of each course they teach what the learning goals and expectations are for that course. Knowing the learning expectations of each course and of the sociology program in general helps students to focus on the key ideas, concepts, and knowledge they are expected to learn. In addition, students in the sociology department encounter a variety of teaching and learning styles and homework assignments.

Students are required to write in most classes. Writing assignments vary. Some are the traditional term paper. Others involve writing a "one minute" paper summarizing what was learned from a particular lecture, or writing drafts of project proposals, field notes from observations, take-home and in-class essays, and small group writing projects.

In sociology students will also encounter a variety of tests: the traditional multiple choice exam, announced and unannounced quizzes, in-class and out-of-class exams, and oral presentations. They will be expected to engage in debates, do participant observations outside of class, use the computer to analyze data and engage in statistical analysis. In some classes they will view films and videos and write answers to questions based on them. All students will take a lab in statistics and research methods where specific assignments will be given that involve the application of ideas and concepts to problems. They could also be asked to develop a research file of relevant information, such as newspaper and academic articles on a particular topic, or be assigned a visual sociology project where they must bring photographs to class that illustrate a sociological concept or idea. They may also be asked to interview research subjects or members of their family or a member of a community-based organization.

One of the key learning assignments is doing an original research project over two semesters. This involves formulating a research question, designing the research project, gathering original data or using an existing database, analyzing and interpreting data, writing the report, and presenting it publicly. This assignment represents the capstone experience for the sociology major. This project is meant to provide the major at the senior level with an opportunity to integrate three key learning expectations: knowledge about sociological theory and the sociological perspective, skills in research methods, and knowledge about a substantive area - crime, education, poverty, religion, race and ethnicity, and so forth.

 

California State University, Sacramento