November 2015 Issue • Volume 43 • Issue 7

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Sociology Makes a Comeback! The Department Returns to Washington University in St. Louis

Adia Harvey Wingfield, Washington University-St. Louis

Despite recent debates around public engagement and the value of our work, there are indications that sociology is still valued and vibrant. One such indication is the return of sociology to Washington University in St. Louis.

Washington University in St. Louis was founded in 1853. Its sociology department quickly became a top, albeit controversial, department. It was home to many noted sociologists including Lee Rainwater, David Pittman, and others. These sociologists did important research with significant implications—work on public housing, substance abuse, and others. The program also produced several well-known contemporary sociologists such as Melvin Oliver, Thomas Shapiro, and Mark Mizruchi. And it made important contributions to scholarship, with its involvement in the founding of the American Sociological Review as an alternative to University of Chicago’s American Journal of Sociology.

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Emeritus Profile

Earl Babbie: An [Accidental] Career in Sociology

Earl Babbie receives a Certificate of Appreciation from the ASA Opportunities in Retirement Network

Craig Schaar, ASA Membership

When Earl Babbie was giving the inaugural lecture at the ASA’s Opportunities in Retirement Network (ORN) meeting this past August in Chicago, he had a slight disagreement with the program title, “A Career in Sociology.” For Babbie, it was more like an “accidental” career in sociology. To hear the full ORN speech, go to

Earl Babbie, currently the Campbell Professor Emeritus in Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University, was born in 1938 and grew up in Vermont and Connecticut. He was raised by a single mother who worked as a housekeeper. When he was 13, his mother married Herman Babbie. The young Babbie took his stepfather’s surname and desired to become an auto-body mechanic just like his stepfather. Fortunately, he listened to the encouragement from his teachers; He applied to one college he’d heard of—and was accepted—it was Harvard.

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Major ASA Award Recipients Honored in Chicago

The American Sociological Association (ASA) presented the 2015 major awards at this year’s Annual Meeting on August 23 in Chicago. The Awards Ceremony, followed by the Presidential Address, was well attended. These awards are given to sociologists for their outstanding publications, achievements in the scholarship, teaching, and practice of sociology, as well as for their overall advancement of the discipline. Below are the profiles of the awardees.

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How Sociology Departments Can Help Pre-Med Students

Elizabeth Borland, The College of New Jersey,

When I became chair three years ago, my predecessor warned me about looming changes to the MCAT. We wanted to attract and support pre-med students, but I was not sure how. Therefore, I eagerly read a December 2012 Footnotes article by Ed Kain about how to “proactively plan for this change.” Below, I share what I learned as I followed his advice in hopes it will be useful to your department.

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Special Announcement!

2015 Section Awards