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Disciplines depend on the quality of their teachers to inspire passions and pass on knowledge and skills. As sociologists, we have long benefitted from a forward-looking focus on effective teaching and learning. In addition, we wrestle with self-imposed handwringing that relentlessly questions what we do and why. In December 2012, TRAILS—the Teaching Resources And Innovation Library for Sociology—reached the 1,000-subscriber milestone. This achievement is but one indicator of sociology’s continued leadership in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Proud of what that milestone represents and excited for the next stage, we take this celebratory moment as a prompt to assess what is happening, to consider why, and to imagine the future.
ASA Research Department on the Profession and the Discipline
Recruiting and retaining students is a challenge for many sociology departments, even more so given the current economic climate and the growth of vocationally oriented majors. We examine these two issues with data from the first wave of the 2012 American Sociological Association’s Bachelor’s and Beyond survey.
The first wave of the Bachelor’s and Beyond survey was distributed to graduating sociology majors during their final semester and approximately 2,500 students answered the survey, which asked them to report on why they chose to major in sociology, their satisfaction with the program, and the methods they use to search for jobs.
Thomasina Borkman, George Mason University
When I was awarded my PhD from Columbia University in 1969, I was counseled that if I wanted to work in academia I should begin immediately since academia did not value, and was very unlikely to hire, applied sociologists mid-career. During my first semester as an instructor, I taught a course in social deviance. For more background I read Edwin Lemert’s (1951) Social Pathology wherein he said that people who stutter cannot form voluntary associations as that requires talking and talking is what stutterers cannot do. A few weeks later, I saw an announcement of a public lecture for parents whose young children stuttered hosted by a five-year-old organization of people who stutter. This organization, I thought, is not supposed to exist, and so I decided to check out the lecture. I was very impressed that the presenters, despite their fear and discomfort, delivered their message, stuttering throughout.
In October 2012, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council elected seven sociologists—Howard E. Aldrich, Nicole Woolsey Biggart, Randy Hodson, Melvin L. Oliver, Zhenchao Qian, John Skvoretz, Richard Michael Suzman—among its newly elected 701 fellows. The new AAAS Fellows will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum on February 16, 2013, during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. These individuals will receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of their distinguished accomplishments. The new sociologist Fellows are in the AAAS Section on Social, Economic, and Political Sciences. They are: