Augustana Merges Sociology and Anthropology Majors

Anh Cao

Next year, Augustana College will transform from a trimester to a semester academic program, leading to changes in some departments. Three separated majors: Sociology, Anthropology and Social Welfare will be merged into just one subject, called Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN).
Dr. Paul Croll, the current chair of the sociology department said,“We currently have three separated majors: you can have a major in Anthropology, a major in sociology and a major in sociology with concentration on social welfare. And then the change is, starting in the fall, a department of sociology and anthropology. Students starting next year in the fall of 2019, if they declare a major their transcript will say a major in sociology and anthropology as a single major, so that is a big change.”
Dr. Carolyn Hough, associate professor of sociology, anthropology and social welfare said in an email about this new approach, “We also anticipate that the new curriculum will give students more flexibility in terms of the kind of Senior Inquiry research they conduct since all students will be prepared to do a survey-based project, an ethnographic project rooted in methods like interviewing and observation, or an analytical project in which they work with existing data sets,”
Catherine Priebe, a junior majoring in sociology and public health, said she thinks the merge is good, “I think it will be a bit less divided, and you won’t have to choose necessarily one over the others but be able to play off of each discipline in order to make a holistic education experiences.”
“Going forward, we are still offering lots of classes that focus on core sociological or anthropological perspectives and methods, so students who do have a desire to focus on one discipline or the other can do easily so,” Dr. Adam Kaul, associate professor of anthropology, sociology and social welfare said about how the program will look. “But the added benefit is that our students will now have a really wide array of SOAN electives to choose from across the new combined program.
“Plus, we have completely reimagined how we are going to teach a diverse range of social science methodologies in our new SOAN-201 course from qualitative ethnographic methods, to quantitative surveys and statistics, archival research, and so on. Having mixed-methods training will be a really valuable skill set for our students heading out into the 21st century job market. Finally, we are adding a number of new and exciting elective courses that we would encourage students to check out,” Kaul said.
Because they share some common courses, SOAN designation is applied to allow students to understand both Sociology and Anthropology knowledge, pick elective classes and do interdependent research.