May/June 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 4

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New Department Affiliates Benefit

Professional Development Webinars for Sociology Faculty

Margaret Weigers Vitullo, ASA Academic and Professional Affairs Program

Department chairs are frequently finding themselves looking for ways to reconcile the need to support faculty and student development with the reality of extremely limited department budgets. Over the past couple of months, the ASA Academic and Professional Affairs Program has been pilot testing a free monthly webinar series for ASA Department Affiliates that is designed to respond to both sides of this equation.

New Webinar Information

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Webinar topics fall into three broad categories: professional development, teaching, and department management and leadership. Announcements and registration information for the monthly webinars are only sent to Department Affiliates, with a request that the announcements be forwarded to all department faculty. 

Response to the 2012-2013 Webinar Series thus far has been strong and positive. In total, nearly 900 people have registered for webinars and post-webinar evaluations have been encouraging. One participant wrote “[the webinar] was well-prepared and offered a lot of useful information and resources. I also appreciate that the presenter invited follow-up emails. I may well take advantage of her generosity.”  Other comments have included, “I’ve liked how smoothly the few ASA webinars I’ve participated in so far have run.” And, “Very helpful webinar! Thank you so much!”

The 2013-2014 Academic and Professional Affairs Webinar Series

The Department Affiliate year runs parallel to the academic year, starting on August 1 and ending on July 31 of the following year. Based on the success of the 2012-2013 Department Affiliate Webinar Series pilot, plans have begun for a full 2013-2014 Department Affiliate Webinar Series that will include 10 monthly webinars.

The working vision for the Department Affiliates Program is that it should provide a meaningful connection between every department of sociology in the country and the American Sociological Association. It is hoped that the new webinar series will help more departments recognize the value of joining the program and bring that vision closer to reality. In addition to free priority access to the webinar series, Department Affiliates also receive a subscription to Footnotes for their department; discounts on ASA teaching, academic, and career publications; and discounts on events at the Annual Meeting such as the Department Alumni Night, the Chairs Conference, and the Director of Graduate Studies Conference. Department Affiliates also receive substantial discounts on postings in the ASA Job Bank and the ASA Guide to Graduate Departments. Faculty and students in Department Affiliates also receive a 20 percent discount on ASA member subscriptions to TRAILS (the Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology) and a 50 percent discount on non-member subscriptions to TRAILS. Early in the fall semester Department Affiliates also receive a renewal packet that includes bundles of free copies of the popular booklet “21st Century Careers with an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology,” the equally popular brochure “Sociology: A 21st Century Major,” recently published ASA Research Department Briefs, and other new publications from the ASA.

Starting on May 16, 2013, it will be possible for departments to join the Department Affiliates Program for 2013-2014 year and gain access to these benefits, including the last webinars in the 2012-2013 series. To make your department as a Department Affiliate, or to learn more about the program, go to

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