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A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.

Modern Languages, Philosophy and Socio-Cultural Studies

Faculty

Gonzalez (chair), Fox, Kuba, Larsen, Nass, Press, Randall, Shaffer, Sweitzer

Purpose

Rapid political and economic changes in the world require that students not only understand other cultures, but that they can communicate with persons in those cultures. In this sense, familiarity with speaking and reading a modern language and being aware of how persons in other countries think about the world is pragmatic.

The word "philosophy" comes from two Greek words that mean love (philos) and wisdom (sophia), an throughout much of history, anyone who sought knowledge was called a philosopher. Philosophy students study the historical development of theories about the nature of knowledge, reality and values; and they learn how to assess such theories. Students develop abilities to think logically, to explore issues from different perspectives, and to present their ideas effectively in writing.

Programs

There are five principal programs within the Department of Modern Languages, Philosophy and Socio-Cultural Studies: modern languages and cultures, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and liberal studies. Each of these programs is described below.

Modern Languages and Cultures

The department administers the following programs: liberal arts language programs in Arabic and Spanish; a language certification program for students who plan to teach in one of the language areas; and  minors in modern language, Arabic and Spanish.

Philosophy

The philosophy major program of study covers the history of philosophy, logic and issues in philosophy that might be grouped as ethical, epistemological or metaphysical. The department also offers a minor in philosophy.

Anthropology

The anthropology major consists of a core requirement of six courses that are designed to provide a broad and coherent approach to the two concentrations. The first is a forensic anthropology concentration consisting of six required courses. The second is an archaeology concentration also consisting of six required courses. In addition to these, a series of low- and mid-range courses can be taken as general electives or as electives for the General Education requirements. In addition to the B.A. in Anthropology, students can also complete a minor in anthropology.

Sociology

Sociology is the systematic study of all features of group life beginning with family and extending to global arrangements. The primary purpose of the sociology program is to prepare students for graduate work in sociology or a related social science advanced degree. The sociology program is also a strong liberal arts major that provides its graduates with the necessary skills for entry-level positions requiring knowledge of human behavior.

In addition to the B.A. in sociology and minor in sociology, the department, in conjunction with the College of Education and Human Services, provides a teacher certification program for those interested in teaching the social sciences in secondary schools. The department also works with the women's studies program and offers a selection of courses on gender issues in social institutions and social movements.

The applied concentration within the sociology major is oriented toward preparing students for research positions in applied settings. Students are trained to:
  • Use sociological concepts, theories, skills and research methods to understand social and organizational problems;
  • Apply these tools to concrete, real-world, practical problems faced by organizations and communities at all levels; and
  • Provide organization leaders with practical solutions to these problems.

Placement

Students entering a modern language course will be evaluated in order to determine the proper course-level placement for them. Students who wish to receive credit for previously acquired language proficiency can take a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examination or a challenge examination.

Activities

The department advises the Philosophy Club, which gives students informal social opportunities for discussions, debates and lectures. The department also hosts topical lectures and forums.

Anthropology students engage in a wide variety of activities in the Anthropology Club.

Sociology students participate in the Sociology Club and the student section of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

Honor Societies

Anthropology majors are eligible for membership in the Gamma Chapter of Lambda Alpha, the National Anthropology Honor Society.

Students in the sociology program are eligible for membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the social science honor society, and Alpha Kappa Delta, the honor society for sociology.

Careers

Linguistic ability in languages other than English can promote employment opportunities in organizations working internationally, especially legal, banking and commercial corporations; national and regional governmental agencies; social service and religious organizations; educational institutions; communications; import-export and travel businesses; and a variety of translation services.

Philosophy majors go on to a variety of careers: law, ministry, teaching, civil service and management, to name a few. Indeed, the philosophy major is well-suited for any career that values critical reasoning, logical problem solving and an ability to look at issues from many perspectives. Increasingly, the business world is looking for this kind of liberally educated person.

Anthropology graduates can pursue numerous careers. Those students taking the forensic anthropology concentration work with coroners' and medical examiners' offices, as well as state, federal and international law enforcement agencies. Students specializing in archaeology may work as archaeological excavation crew members, cultural resource management specialists, environmental impact reviewers, and museum curators and researchers. students may also pursue careers in the Foreign Service as well as undertaking graduate study.

Students with an undergraduate degree in sociology find work in a variety of social settings. Material published by the American Sociological Association indicates that sociologists pursue careers in teaching and research in universities, federal, state and local government, corporations, and small business and nonprofit organizations.

Sociology graduates may work in diverse applied settings such as industry, government, higher education and voluntary associations, or as solo practitioners/consultants. Examples of applied sociological work in these settings include:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of various educational policies/programs;
  • Investigating the social norms promoting or inhibiting the spread of AIDS;
  • Evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of various criminal justice programs;
  • Analyzing employment records for evidence of discrimination; and
  • Planning medical services and facilities for a target population.
Our sociology graduates hold positions in community agencies at the local, national and international levels; nonprofit organizations; trade associations; labor unions; foundations; and small and large corporations.