American Sociological Association

Task Force on Liberal Learning

Background and Charge

In August of 2014 Council approved the establishment of a Task Force to create a revised and expanded third edition of the ASA’s Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, which is the ASA’s primary guide for departments of sociology regarding best practices for curriculum and programs.

Liberal Learning is available as a free PDF on the ASA website, and also in print copy through the ASA Bookstore.  The 16 recommendations in Liberal Learning are the core evaluation criteria used by members of the ASA Department Resources Group (DRG) when conducting external reviews of undergraduate programs in sociology departments participating in institutionally mandated program reviews and voluntary efforts at curricular development.  Liberal Learning is also regularly sent to departments who contact ASA Academic and Professional Affairs with questions about program development and expansion, as well as courses and assessment. 

It has been 10 years since the second edition of Liberal Learning was released.  During the intervening years the higher education landscape has been evolving along multiple dimensions.  The proliferation of online courses and programs; the increasing push to hold institutions-- and even departments and programs, accountable for employment outcomes; and finally the ways in which curricular parameters for sociology are being established, both with the Association’s involvement and especially without it, all point to the need for the Association to thoughtfully respond to the ways “meeting the challenge of teaching sociology in the twenty first century” has changed in the decade since the second edition of Liberal Learning was published.  The approved Task Force is charged with updating and expanding this central document to provide guidance to departments in each of these three areas. 

Task Force Members

Jeffrey Chin, Co-Chair (Lemoyne College)

Susan Ferguson, Co-Chair (Grinnell College)

Margaret Weigers Vitullo, Staff Liaison (ASA)

Patrick Archer (Saint Ambrose University)

Maxine Atkinson (North Carolina State University)

Jeanne Ballantine (Wright State University)

Teresa Ciabattari (Pacific Lutheran University)

Thomas Calhoun (Jackson State University)

Paula England (New York University)

Rebecca Erickson (University of Akron)

Andrea Hunt (North Alabama University)

Kathleen Lowney (Valdosta State)

Suzanne Maurer (Delaware County Community College)

Melinda Messineo (Ball State University)

Renee Monson (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

Diane Pike (Augsburg College)

Rifat Anjum Salam (Borough of Manhattan Community College)

Mary Senter (Central Michigan University)

Stephen Sweet (Ithaca College)

Theodore Wagenaar (Miami of Ohio University)

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