We have developed the sociology curriculum with several educational goals in mind. The general goals we have established for the program are meant to complement the particular goals of individual faculty in specific courses and of each student studying sociology. We expect that our students will learn:
To engage the sociological imagination. In all our courses we want students to appreciate the distinctive character, intellectual power, and practical applications of a sociological perspective and our excitement for work in the discipline. Students learn to make connections between broad social-historical patterns and unique biographical events.
To develop a substantive understanding of the dynamics of social institutions, social change, culture and identity. A central benefit of studying sociology is to gain the discipline’s accumulated wisdom about the character of social life. Through lectures, readings, and other course activities, students acquire a deeper understanding of the complex relationships among the organization and changes in society, our collective understandings about reality, and the way we think, feel, and act as individuals.
To understand social theory and methods of social research and the connections between them. Whatever the specific topic of investigation, sound sociological inquiry is always guided by systematically developed theoretical ideas and grounded in careful observation of real societies. Acquiring a deep appreciation for sociology’s rich theoretical traditions and variety of empirical techniques, and knowing how to evaluate and use these in sociological inquiry, is central to students’ work in the discipline.
To consider social dynamics in relation to time and place. Any one society can be understood on multiple levels, from the local to the national to the global, just as it can be understood in relation to its place in history. Similarly, every society is influenced by its interactions with other societies. Sociology students engage in focused, in-depth study of the United States as well as comparative international study. Students investigate connections between the local and the global, the near and the far, the past and the present.
We have constructed our program to ensure that sociology students gain skills that accord with the broad goals of a liberal education and apply to a broad range of careers and life paths following graduation from Kenyon. We ensure, then, that students develop skills in the following areas:
Informal measures: (not collected on a departmental mandate, rather by individual faculty members):