1. Assemble the following four papers for submission to your portfolio:

  • one paper from your first sociology course taken at the 100 level or SOC 201 Navigating Social Worlds1,
  • one paper taken from your SOC 303 Sociological Theory course,
  • the paper written for your senior experience course: internship, thesis, or seminar (SOC 495, 497, or 499), and
  • one additional paper of your choosing that provides the strongest evidence of your sociological work2 that is not already included among the previous three.

2. Once assembled, read the four papers thoroughly and in their entirety. As you go over them, please do so with an eye toward the five curricular goals of the Sociology Department. These are:

  • To develop students' capacity to think sociologically, cultivating in them a "sociological imagination" with which to interpret the social world;
  • To equip students with the ability to apply sociological concepts and theory to an understanding and analysis of human agency and social structure;
  • To equip students with the tools needed to think methodologically about how to gather and use data to study social life;
  • To cultivate and strengthen students' critical thinking and analytical writing;
  • To provide students with the opportunity to plan and implement an original research project through which they demonstrate an integration of sociological thinking, theory, and research methods.

3. Please write a 1200-word letter in which you critically address two fundamental considerations: the extent to which you believe you have fulfilled each of the five curricular goals of our department and the effectiveness of the strategies used by the Sociology Department to achieve the five curricular goals. The purpose of this letter is not to “convince” us that you have fulfilled the goals. Instead, we are seeking to better understand how students learn sociological thinking and application, what we do well as a department, and where we can improve.

This letter should include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Please discuss your fulfillment of each curricular goal under a separate section heading. As you organize each section, think about and address the following:

  • Please discuss your fulfillment of each curricular goal under a separate heading. In your discussion of each goal, please address how you perceive your later sociological work to have changed in relation to your earlier work, and cite specific examples.
  • Which of the five curricular goals do you believe you have most thoroughly fulfilled? The least? What evidence can you cite from each of the works you submitted that would support your self-assessment here? Please provide thorough and explicit examples.
  • Evaluate the strategies and methods of our department by addressing these questions:
    • What, in your assessment, do we, as a department, do that works well with respect to accomplishing our curricular goals? Please try to identify at least two specific ways we have been successful in helping you achieve our curricular learning goals.
    • What, in your assessment, are the areas that the department needs to strengthen with respect to our curricular goals? What suggestions do you have for how we could improve what we are doing in these areas?

4. Separate from your 1200-word letter, please submit a timeline of your Sociology major coursework that identifies all of the classes you took and the semester during which you took those. It might look something like this:

  1. Soc 121: Gender and Society Fall 2012
  2. Soc 201: Navigating Social Worlds Fall 2013
  3. Soc 301: Social Statistics Fall 2013
  4. Soc 303: Social Theory Spring 2014
  5. Etc.

5. Submit your letter and four papers (5% of your grade in your senior experience course) electronically by 11:55 p.m. on the Monday before graduation to your WISE Drop Box in Sociology Major Portfolios (year of your graduation). You may need to click on "more" for Sociology Major Portfolios to appear.

6. Portfolios will be read and evaluated by the sociology faculty to determine if we, as a department, are meeting our curricular goals. They provide us with essential data to identify curricular areas in need of improvement.

To ensure your candid assessment of our program, Pam Smith will not make portfolios available to faculty members until after all grades have been submitted and graduation is completed.

1 100-level or introduction to sociology paper from another university can be substituted.

2 A paper written in a course outside sociology will be accepted if it meets the 5 curricular goals listed in item 2 and provides the strongest evidence of your sociological work.

Willamette University

Sociology Department

Smullin Hall 3rd floor
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6556 voice
503-370-6720 fax

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