The ASA Task Force on Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, Third Edition (LL3) has been working steadily on the charge put to it by ASA Council at their August 2014 meeting: to revise the ASA document Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major Updated: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Sociology in the 21st Century (McKinney et al. 2004). Perhaps the most important as well as the most cited sociology curricular document in the United States, this revision comes at a critical time when several changes are occurring in higher education. Specifically, the LL3 Task Force is responding to three significant developments: the increasing pressure to establish a core for the undergraduate sociology curriculum; the proliferation of online courses and programs; and an increasing emphasis on employment outcomes of undergraduates and calls for more accountability in higher education.
The 22 member Task Force is made up of sociology faculty from diverse institutional contexts and is co-chaired by Susan Ferguson, Grinnell College, and Jeffrey Chin, Le Moyne College. For the past two years, the Task Force has divided up its work into three subcommittees each focused on one of the developments listed above. Ferguson chairs the subcommittee on the core. This subcommittee has been reviewing both the U.S. and global literature related to learning outcomes for the sociology major. They have been revising and drafting recommendations for best curricular practices for sociology programs and departments. Its members include:
- Patrick Archer, St. Ambrose University
- Jeanne Ballantine, Wright State University
- Paula England, New York University
- Edward Kain, Southwestern University
- Diane Pike, Augsburg College
- Rifat Salam, CUNY – Borough of Manhattan Community College
- Stephen Sweet, Ithaca College.
Chin chairs the subcommittee on employment. The employment subcommittee has been collecting data from departments and individuals regarding how they incorporate learning about post-baccalaureate outcomes into their curricula and programs. In addition to contributing the Third Edition of Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, the employment subcommittee is writing a separate document that will provide additional details from their research findings. Its members include:
- Maxine Atkinson, North Carolina State University
- Thomas Calhoun, Jackson State University
- Teresa Ciabattari, Pacific Lutheran University
- Kathleen Lowney, Valdosta State University
- Renee Monson, Hobart and William Smith College
- Mary Senter, Central Michigan University.
Margaret Weigers Vitullo is the ASA staff liaison and chairs the subcommittee on online learning. This subcommittee has been exploring several questions including: How often is online learning being used in sociology programs today? and What are the sociological lessons of online learning? Similar to the employment subcommittee, the online subcommittee has been interviewing online sociology teachers about what are best practices for sociology courses being taught in an online context. They hope to provide some case studies and exemplars of sociology online learning. Its members include:
- Rebecca Erickson, University of Akron
- Andrea Hunt, University of North Alabama
- Suzanne Maurer, Delaware County Community College
- Melinda Messineo, Ball State University
- Theodore Wagenaar, Miami University of Ohio
The Task Force has been meeting regularly during the past two academic years, and now that the subcommittee work is done, representatives from each of the subcommittees are weaving together the work of all three subcommittees into a single, unified working draft for the 2016 August meetings. The entire Task Force will then meet to discuss and work on the revised version to ensure a holistic project. Our charge is to have all three parts come together in one volume, and our aim is to have a final draft ready to present to ASA Council at their January 2017 meeting.
For more information, contact Margaret Weigers Vitullo at email@example.com.