Understanding and critically analyzing social issues of our time is essential to the construction of just and sustainable local, national, and global communities. To this end, the Sociology Department of Loyola University Maryland cultivates a sociological imagination - the ability to think critically about the social construction of knowledge, power, privilege, difference, and inequality. The department provides students with theoretical, analytical, and methodological tools to engage with poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, war and violence, human rights abuse, religious intolerance, and environmental degradation.
The Sociology Department of Loyola University Maryland will foster students' capacity to recognize the reproduction of inequality, difference, and patterns of social injustice in the U.S. and the world. We will cultivate students' ability to recognize the intersecting nature of structures of inequality and privilege and the varied ways in which these are experienced by others and themselves. Faculty aim to inspire students to challenge unjust systems, organizations, and communities, and to reflexively examine their own participation in them.
The Department of Sociology at Loyola University Maryland recognizes the structural realities of racialized oppression and systemic violence in the United States of America. We recognize that these realities have been ubiquitously engrained in U.S. institutions since the inception of U.S. society and have resulted in the systematic subordination of Black people, indigenous people, and others of color past and present. We protest the racially based deaths and physical and mental maiming that has occurred and still occurs daily in public and private spaces, including in higher education. We will cultivate in ourselves and others the ability to acknowledge privilege and to dismantle oppressive practices and procedures, including instructional techniques.
Our training equips us to see how individuals come to adopt racial identities, reproduce racial constructions, and sustain racialized institutions, that privilege whiteness and oppress people of color as deficient, deviant, or otherwise undeserving of human dignity. Our training equips us to see how patterns of inequality in housing, employment, education, recreation, etc. are reproduced when their historic racial basis is ignored and/or forgotten. However, as social beings, we also understand that what we see does not always inform how we show up as allies.
The Department of Sociology at Loyola University commits to the following:
- We will engage as thought partners colleagues, students, and the community to interrogate our participation in construction and maintenance of dominance.
- We will teach courses that interrogate unjust systems, organizations, and ideologies.
- We will challenge colleagues, students, and the community to reflexively examine the extent to which they are agents of meaningful antiracist change.
- We will include Black voices, perspectives, and experiences in our courses and those of other nationally and globally marginalized groups.
- We will ensure that our curriculum addresses the production and experience of power, privilege, difference, and inequality.
- We will cultivate the sociological imagination so students can look beyond individuals to see how our social worlds have been shaped by history and structural forces including empire, colonialism, slavery, Jim Crow laws, and redlining.
- We will include the theoretical perspectives of men and women of colors as well as scholars from the Global South.
- We will teach our students to formulate sociological questions about race and provide them with methodological tools to systematically record and analyze the scope and nature of inequality as it exists in individual lives and as patterned practices.
- We will focus on making our classrooms and our offices into spaces that reaffirm the dignity of Black people and other marginalized groups.
- As advisors, we will actively mentor the whole students, acknowledging them as a person with a biography that is connected to the structural systems of inequality that characterize the social world. We will help them recognize and value the strengths they bring to Loyola that enriches this learning space for all. We will validate reports of bias, assist students to address bias, and help them navigate appropriate campus resources to rectify it. We will further become knowledgeable about the requirements of majors across the university so that, as core advisors, we can advocate for students to pursue the academic path that most inspires them.
- We also recognize that knowledge production is socially situated and that a diverse faculty is critical for being able to offer multiple standpoints and overcome blind spots. Our hiring practices will reflect this.
In making these commitments, we ask that students, alumni, and friends of the department hold us accountable.
The Sociology Department has 5 key Learning Aims for students taking courses and completing the major and minor:
1. Understand and be able to apply a sociological perspective proficiently to a range of social issues, as demonstrated by:
- Describing and giving examples of how a sociological perspective and the discipline of sociology differs from and is similar to the other social sciences.
- Describing how a sociological perspective and the discipline of sociology contributes to the liberal arts understanding of social reality.
- Applying the sociological imagination, sociological principles, and concepts to their own lives and to social problems.
2. Demonstrate an ability to think critically, as evidenced by:
- Using sociological research and analytical skills to critically evaluate claims made about social reality.
- Showing how patterns of thought and knowledge are influenced by culture and social structure.
3. Master fundamental sociological theory and concepts, as demonstrated by:
- Defining, giving examples, and demonstrating the relevance of the following: culture, social change, socialization, stratification, social structure, institutions, and differentiations by race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class.
- Comparing and contrasting basic theoretical orientations.
- Applying sociological theories and concepts to social phenomena, both locally and globally.
4. Demonstrate a complex understanding of how difference and patterns of inequality in the U.S. and globally are produced and sustained, as demonstrated by:
- Describing the significance of empirical variation by race, class, and gender/sexuality in various U.S. and international contexts.
- Describing the role of collective action, culture, structure, and the institutionalization of culture and policies (both formal and informal) in constructing and sustaining difference and inequality.
- Describing the intersecting nature of structures of inequality and privilege and the varied ways in which these are experienced by others and themselves.
- Proficiently applying sociological concepts to analyze the great moral issues of our time including poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, genocide, war and peace, religious tolerance and intolerance, the defense of human rights, and the environmental impact of human activity.
5. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the role of evidence in sociological thinking and how empirical evidence may be collected and analyzed to answer sociological questions, as demonstrated by:
- Defining and explaining the relevance of key qualitative and quantitative methodological concepts.
- Describing the general role of empirical investigation in building sociological knowledge.
- Comparing and contrasting the basic methodological approaches for gathering data.
- Designing a research project in an area of choice and explaining why various decisions (concerning sampling, data collection, analysis, and informed consent, etc.) were made.
- Critically assessing a research publication.
The Sociology Department's goal is that all sociology majors achieve three levels of master by graduation:
- Knowledge - Correct understanding via clear description/definition of key concepts.
- Application - Correct use of key concepts to explain social phenomena.
- Integration - Effective connection of key concepts/processes employed to explain social phenomena.
Annually, the Sociology Department reviews the work of students enrolled in senior level courses to ascertain if all levels of mastery have been achieved.