Mission and Goals

Niagara RiverThe sociology department has several learning goals for majors. Those who major in sociology will acquire the following knowledge, skills and abilities.

  • Students will demonstrate ability to communicate effectively through written means.
  • Students will demonstrate ability to research a sociological topic and propose a study that would advance the topic.
  • Students will demonstrate ability to engage in critical thinking with regard to patterns of inequality in American society.
  • Students will demonstrate public speaking skills.
  • Students will demonstrate an appreciation of cultural diversity.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of career options and graduate school opportunities.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories.  

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Sociologists are interested in whatever human beings do as a group. This includes every aspect of social life. From economics to history, psychology and communications, organizations, criminal justice, political science, we do it all. Sociology is at the center of a strong liberal arts education. A firm foundation in sociology will prepare you with a deep and inclusive understanding of society, where we have been, and where we are going. Sociology students don't only appreciate diversity; they become more diverse, more accepting of others, and more adaptable to change. They see the big picture.
Sociology also holds an inherent morality. Sociologists value equality, fairness, and social justice for all, without exception. Sociologists care about the well-being of people and communities. Sociology is global and all inclusive. Sociology debunks myths in its search for truth. Sociology is broad and varied therefore sociologists are free to study the smallest slice to the largest whole. Because of all of this sociology is challenging, but it is also immensely fun and interesting. We invite you to take the challenge and join us here at Niagara University.  

Why Sociology at NU?

At Niagara University, you have the opportunity to work closely with some great faculty while you acquire the skills you need. Anchoring the department's focus is the work of Dr. Ken Culton and Dr. Todd Schoepflin, both products of one of the top sociology graduate programs in the country: the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Schoepflin is a figure in the emerging field of autoethnography, an exciting field where personal experience becomes the basis for discovering broader social meaning. Dr. Schoepflin has published in the academic journal,  Teaching Sociology, and is an award-winning teacher at NU. He recently co-authored a book chapter about writing fictional stories as a way of exploring sociological concepts.

Dr. Culton specializes in the dynamic field of youth subcultures and teaches a popular course called Youth/Music/Subculture, one of few such courses in the country. Dr. Culton’s research addresses the broader importance of culture in shaping social life and driving social change. His published work on the “Free Space” concept is timely and can help us understand the current wave of predominantly youth-led movement activity including the “Occupy” protests.

Unlike what you might see at a large university, Drs. Culton and Schoepflin are readily available to discuss their work and help students to develop their own research projects as well. There are no closed doors at NU!