The Promise of a Sociology Degree in Canadian Higher Education

Authors


  • The authors thank Benjamin Kelly and Kyle Siler for their careful reading of a previous draft of this manuscript. We also thank Irene Pugliese for her editorial suggestions, as well as Natasha Schonberger and Carol Ann Collins for their help in translating the abstract into French. We would also like to thank Reza Nakhaie, as well as the anonymous reviewers from the Canadian Review of Sociology, for their helpful critical and editorial comments.

Antony Puddephatt, Department of Sociology, Lakehead University, Ryan Building, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada P7B 5E1. E-mail: apuddeph@lakeheadu.ca

Abstract

Des descriptions de programmes universitaires de cinquante-quatre départements de sociologie anglophones ont été examinées afin de découvrir les thèmes publicitaires dirigés aux étudiants éventuels. En comparant les départements des universités comprenant des programmes de doctorat aux universités offrant principalement des programmes de baccalauréat, on a trouvé des variations dans leurs messages et leurs promesses aux étudiants. On a remarqué des formules habituelles dans les promesses de leur programme (l'étude des arts libéraux, le choix de carrière, ou l'amélioration des conditions sociales), l'acquisition des habilités (les pensées critiques ou déterminées par le marché) et les expériences d'apprentissage prévues (l'éducation élitiste, l'environnement d'apprentissage accessible, ou la stimulation intellectuelle). Après avoir composé un rapport portant sur ces modèles, nous prenons en considération leurs conséquences dans le contexte des questions plus générales de l'éducation universitaire.

Abstract

Program descriptions from 54 English-speaking sociology departments were analyzed to uncover promotional themes for prospective students. Variations in these messages were found when comparing departments from doctoral-comprehensive and primarily undergraduate universities. Patterns were noted in the stated promise of the program (liberal arts education, career pathway, or improvement of social conditions), skills to be acquired (market based or critical thinking), and the learning experience to be expected (elite education, accessible learning environment, or intellectual stimulation). After reporting on these patterns, we consider their implications within the context of broader issues in higher education.

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