Reflections on Assessment Data
For more information, please contact the Chair of the Departments
Assessment Committee, Charles Varano at firstname.lastname@example.org
The departments new majors represent the emerging diversity
in California, nearly half are nonwhite. Most come from the
immediate Sacramento area. Many are first generation with higher
education. Most have majored in another area before switching
to sociology. As measured by GPA, there is a tendency for a
bimodal distribution among the new majors. Forty percent indicate
they have a 3.00 GPA and above, while a substantial minority
have below average GPAs (2.50 or below). Only about 1 in 10
has a high GPA (3.40 or above). Most will work while students
and a third of them will be working more than 25 hours per week.
Most have had a least one college level English and math course,
but only a third had taken three courses in English.
They choose sociology as a major because of their interest in
studying and helping people, because they enjoyed their first
course in sociology, because they want to understand their place
in a global and international world and because they had heard
good things about the department. As far as career goals, nearly
half want to teach or do some type of counseling/social work.
Only 5 percent expressed an interest in doing research.
The department will need to be mindful of the low interest in
research, since 9 of the departments required core courses
deal with statistics and research methods. There may be a clash
between what students want from sociology and what the department
requires, especially with respect to the statistics and methods
sequence. Another item that may need to be discussed with new
students more systematically in the future are possible careers
options with a major in sociology. If most of these students
want to go into teaching or counseling/social work, these students
will need to be directed and advised accordingly.
Graduating seniors indicate that they are generally very pleased
with the major, with faculty, and with various aspects of the
sociology program. Three-fourths of them could briefly write
about a memorable learning experience they had, and all described
an important strength in the department. Eighty-five percent
felt that the required course sequence provided them with an
integrated curriculum. Eighty-five percent were satisfied with
the sociology major, and nearly 80 percent would choose to major
in sociology again if they had to do it over. In addition, well
over three-fourths believed that the sociology major helped
them to increase basic, general education skills in the areas
of reading, writing, critical thinking, and data analysis.
Graduating seniors also indicated that there is room for improvement.
Two of the eleven learning goals are not being attained at the
level of the others--basic computer skills necessary to find,
communicate, create and apply sociological knowledge and understanding
the place of American society in the international and global
world. In addition, most of the graduating seniors had little
or no connection to campus life, and only a fifth of them had
attended or participated in the Sociology Student Association.
This is probably due to the commuter campus at CSUS and to the
fact that so many the graduating seniors work. The department
may need to work out ways in which the Student Association receives
more support, although in the past, the strength of the Association
directly depended on the involvement, motivation, and energy
of the student officers.