The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work seeks to provide students with an understanding of human social behavior that is grounded in rigorous scientific methodology capable of generating data that can be linked to theoretical principles. It focuses on the pivotal contributions of cultural symbolization and human biological evolution to the development and functioning of human societies. Common to Sociological, Anthropological and Social Work perspectives is that human behavior can only be understood adequately in an "ecological" perspective that places it within the context of environments—social, cultural, material, organic, and spiritual—to which human beings adapt. The three perspectives also emphasize the power of human agency to shape the socio-cultural world and the mediating role that it plays in relation to the material, organic, and spiritual domains. The understanding of human social behavior that we seek to cultivate in students is seen to be in the service of social action that fosters social justice by challenging structures of oppression in society and advocating on behalf of marginalized groups, and also social cooperation by promoting the common good and human solidarity. The Department is committed to preparing the students who take our courses and major and minor in our programs to pursue professional pathways that apply what they have learned in a variety of action arenas involving individuals, families, organizations, communities, nations, and global networks, thereby becoming servant leaders in their professions and communities of concern.
To train students in the major theories of collective life, and the research methodologies that can be employed in studying it, as well as their application to a range of substantive areas
To contribute to students' liberal arts education by providing experiences and reinforcing foundational competencies to prepare them for a variety of professional paths and servant leader roles
To embrace a pluralistic and inclusive philosophy with respect to the various "cultures of inquiry" in sociology, anthropology, social work, and social and behavioral sciences as they bear on our teaching and research
To support our faculty in carrying out their teaching responsibilities and in pursuing scholarship that contributes meaningfully to the stock of knowledge in their chosen areas of specialization