Jun 15, 2024  
College Catalog 2013-2014 
College Catalog 2013-2014 ARCHIVED CATALOG

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

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Julie Collins-Dogrul, Sociology
Susan Gotsch, Sociology
Leslie L. Howard, Sociology, Emeritus
David Iyam, Anthropology
sal johnston, Sociology
Becky Overmyer-Velázquez, Sociology
Lisa Ibanez, Interim Director of Field Education, Social Work
Ann M. Kakaliouras, Chair, Anthropology and Sociology
Paula Mangum Sheridan, Program Director, Social Work


Sociology is the study of social relations, associations, and institutions in human societies. It seeks to develop reliable understanding about the nature of social organization. In his work, The Sociological Imagination (1959), C. Wright Mills wrote, “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” In other words, Mills claimed that the discipline of sociology is the study of the connection between individuals and society, between personal troubles and public issues. Understanding both the life of an individual, and the history and structure of a society, requires the sociological imagination. Sociologists, according to Mills, were in the unique position among social scientists of cultivating a sociological imagination that could grasp that individual’s actions, behaviors, histories, and seemingly “personal” troubles could only be understood as effects of social organization: as public issues. Mills’ hope was that through understanding the actual dynamics that shape our lives - individually and collectively - we would also develop the tools and strategies to effect positive social change.

Sociology at Whittier embraces this Millsian tradition and we believe that sociology, at its best, is not merely an academic pursuit, but rather a daily practice, a “thing lived”: a hopeful act of discovery and transformation. With greater Los Angeles as our muse, we invite you to re-envision your social world, and to act in and upon it.

A major in sociology provides graduates with a solid liberal arts background for a broad variety of careers. Our graduates are employed in fields such as professional sociology, urban planning, union organizing, community development, non-profit organizations, health services, education and teaching, juvenile and criminal justice systems, social work, social research and data analysis, public administration, law, politics, racial and minority relations, business, and local, state and federal government.


Anthropology asks the question, “What does it mean to be human?” Anthropologists seek the answers to that question by integrating varied sources of knowledge: How is being human affected by the dynamics between culture, the environment, and biology? What can we learn about the total repertoire of being human by looking at societies very different from middle class American society? How are we to understand the evolution of our uniquely biocultural species? What do archaeological sites reveal about past human societies? How can the reflexive nature of anthropology and anthropological practice better prepare us for living in today’s diverse and globalized world?

The study of anthropology prepares students to:

  1. Better understand themselves in their own sociocultural context;
  2. Better understand and communicate across cultural boundaries;
  3. Prepare for careers involving social interaction and policy; for example, academic and applied anthropology, business, education, environmental protection, government, health, law, religion, social work, etc.; and
  4. Prepare for graduate work in anthropology, business, foreign area studies, law, other social sciences and related fields.

Social Work

Social Work is a profession committed to the enhancement of social and human well-being, the alleviation of poverty and oppression, and the promotion of social and economic justice for all. The profession practices in a wide variety of local, national, and global settings including family services, child welfare, gerontology, justice systems, behavioral health and medical centers, military social work, drug and alcohol treatment, community organizations, political and social policy arenas. With awareness of the major social and technological changes taking place in our world, the Whittier College Social Work program prepares students for entry level positions in generalist social work practice where they can effectively address the variety of human welfare needs prevalent in a global society.

The undergraduate program in Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It provides a professional foundation curriculum that contains the common body of knowledge, values, and skills of the profession. The Program specifies a common base of liberal arts courses to be taken prior to and concurrently with enrollment in the core foundation courses. The foundation courses are sequenced over three years; the program culminates in the senior year with an intensive, professionally supervised field practicum in a community agency, and an integrative seminar that is designed to help students assess their own attainment of social work competencies in the social work curriculum.

The Social Work Program Mission Statement:

The Whittier College undergraduate Social Work Program seeks to prepare diverse students to become self-reflective, compassionate, ethical, knowledgeable, and skilled generalist social workers who are committed to career-long learning. We prepare students to aid in the empowerment of marginalized groups, particularly vulnerable and oppressed communities. In all this, we collectively work for the advancement of human rights in local, national and global environments.

Affirming the historical roots and mission of Whittier College, the Social Work Program provides learning experiences that inspire students to become advocates for peace and social and economic justice. Student learning is a combination of “knowing” and “doing,” grounded in the liberal arts foundation of interdisciplinary, research-based knowledge, and problem-solving methodology. We value generalist skill development that prepares reflective social work practitioners committed to promoting human well-being. Our program is designed to equip the body of professionals who will nurture the profession for the twenty-first century.

Students majoring in other areas such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, economics, child development, pre-medicine, pre-physical therapy, environmental studies, business administration, public health, and education may also be interested in selected social work courses. Interested students are urged to consult full-time Social Work faculty for information about academic and professional opportunities.



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