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Sociology

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Department Fact Sheet


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What Is Sociology?

According to the American Sociological Association:

Sociology is:

  • the study of society
  • a social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups, and societies
  • the study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes
  • the scientific study of social aggregations, the entities through which humans move throughout their lives'
  • an overarching unification of all studies of humankind, including history, psychology, and economics

The Department of Sociology at Moravian College offers two curricular tracks—a general sociology track and a “law and society” track. Each of these tracks uses a balance of theoretical frameworks and undergraduate research to explore the ways human behavior reflects the structure and culture of society. Students graduate with a knowledge of normative behavior, social stratification, symbolic interactionism, socialization, and an appreciation for the sociological imagination. They also acquire basic research skills including the ability to generate research hypotheses, construct research instruments, and the ability to manage and analyze data using SPSS. Students following the general track often pursue careers in higher education (graduate school), education, social services/counseling/psychology, management, sales and marketing, research, government and other professional careers.

Learn more:


Courses
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Introductory Sociology
  • Marriage and the Family
  • The Human Services System
  • The Legal System
  • American Constitutional Law
  • Civil Liberties and the U.S. Constitution
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Social Deviance
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Basic Research Methods
  • Social Controversies
  • Structured Inequality
  • Urban Sociology
  • Rural Communities
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Sociology of the Blues
  • Communities and Conflict in India
  • Corrections in America
  • Complex Organizations
  • The Family and the Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Sociological Theory
  • Advanced Social Research
  • Media Technology and Society
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Racial and Ethnic Inequality
  • Counseling in Human Services
  • Seminar
  • Fieldwork in Sociology
  • Special Topics
  • Independent Study
  • Field Study
  • Honors

Facilities

Field placements, an important option in the program, include work with local magistrates, district attorneys and public defenders, probation and parole officers, social workers, psychologists, and therapeutic recreation specialists. Students can gain experience in state government through the Harrisburg Urban Semester and in the federal government through the Washington semester program. Several students are also enrolled in the semester abroad program, and the department has offered study tours in several countries. The Sociology Club and the Pre-Law Club also sponsor events and trips. A local chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta (international honor society in sociology) is active on campus.


Opportunities

Sociology students use the College’s computing facilities for statistical analysis and word processing. All members of the Moravian College community have access to networked Windows and Macintosh microcomputers in academic computing laboratories in several campus locations. Students with their own computers may connect to the campus network directly from their dormitory rooms. This connection provides 24-hour access to network services, including printing, file servers, electronic mail, and the Internet, plus storage for personal files and access to campus software programs needed for academic pursuits. Wireless networking is also available in several locations.


Faculty

DANIEL JASPER
Associate Professor of Sociology

EDUCATION: B.A., Macalester College; M.A. & Ph.D., New School of Social Research

INTERESTS: Social Theory, Identity, Religion, and the Politics of Culture. Dr. Jasper’s research focuses on the transformation of ethnic and religious identities. He has conducted ethnographic and archival research in India and among immigrant groups in the United States.

VIRGINIA ADAMS O'CONNELL
Associate Professor of Sociology

EDUCATION: B.A., Haverford College; M.A. & Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

INTERESTS: Medical sociology (with a concentration on the profession of medicine, medical education, and bioethics), Research Methods (focusing on the dialogue between quantitative and qualitative methodologies), Survey Development, Research Ethics, the Sociology of Law, and Demography. Dr. Adams O’Connell has served on the American Sociological Association (ASA) Ethics Committee and currently serves on the ASA Sociology of Law Undergraduate Paper Committee. She also serves on the Greenville Hospital System’s (Greenville, South Carolina) MedEx Academy Development Committee. She is the author of the book Getting Cut: Failing to Survive Surgical Residency Training (University Press of America), and has also authored several book chapters, articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations. Current projects include a multi-institutional study of the training and practice expectations of premedical students, and a study on the unmet medical needs of the clientele of an urban food bank.

JAMES J. RAVELLE
Professor of Sociology, Law, and Public Management

EDUCATION: B.A., Villanova University; J.D., University of South Carolina; D.A., Lehigh University

INTERESTS: Criminal justice, legal systems, and complex organizations. A member of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and federal bars, Dr. Ravelle serves as counsel to business organizations. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Breidegan Award for Faculty Service and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

JOEL NATHAN ROSEN
Associate Professor of Sociology

EDUCATION: B.S., Ohio State University; M.A., University of Mississippi - Southern Studies; M.A., University of Mississippi - Sociology; Ph.D., University of Kent (United Kingdom)

INTERESTS: Human Exceptionalism, American & African-American Culture, Media Constructions, Sport, The American South, and Race & Stratification.  Dr. Rosen’s research focuses primarily on the relationship between human activity and stratification as informed by cultural idioms such as music and sport.  He is the author of The Erosion of the American Sporting Ethos: Shifting Attitudes Toward Competition (McFarland) and the forthcoming From New Lanark to Mound Bayou: Owenism in the Mississippi Delta (Carolina Academic Press).  He is also the author and co-author of several book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles, and the co-editor of Reconstructing Fame: Race, Sport, and Evolving Reputations (University Press of Mississippi), the first of a multi-volume anthology project set to explore the changing cultural dynamics that engage the question of how reputations in sport are formed.

DEBRA WETCHER-HENDRICKS
Associate Professor of Sociology; Chair of the Department of Sociology

EDUCATION: B.A., Glassboro State College; M.A., Ph.D., Lehigh University

INTERESTS: Social research and statistical methods, including mathematical modeling, interpersonal and mass communication. Dr. Wetcher-Hendricks has completed several analyses of statistical models which have appeared in peer-refereed journals and been presented at academic conferences. Other areas of research include cultural phenomena and classroom teaching strategies. She has served as a consultant for academic personnel and community agencies pursuing independent research projects and is listed in the 2008 edition of Marquis Who’s Who in America.

LORI BOYLE
Departmental Assistant


Emeriti
  • James Hilander
  • Steve Maier
  • Bettie Smolansky