Mission Statements

Departmental Mission

The mission of the Department of Sociology and Public Health at Roanoke College is to prepare our students to take on the complex challenges of our current world. We encourage them to apply their education and experiences to a wide range of careers or to graduate studies utilizing the common goals of cultural understanding and social justice. Our faculty are drawn from many social science disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, criminology, and public health. These disciplines share the desire to examine the social world and the ways in which individual lives are shaped by their families, communities, the evolving physical environment, social organizations and institutions such as the criminal justice and health care systems, and structures of inequality.   

As they move through the programs, students develop a deeper understanding of the range of cultural systems and practices, and learn to critically examine the continuing sources of inequality within our own society and globally. In our programs, students acquire the skills to think critically, articulate their ideas clearly, collaborate and work in groups, and value intercultural understanding. They are encouraged to engage in responsible and active learning in the community through internships, independent research, projects with community service partners, and study away. The Department provides a challenging and well-rounded education that creates a solid foundation for students to pursue careers in social service, cultural interpretation and preservation, healthcare, criminal justice, education, business, and government, and to develop meaningful and rewarding lives. 

Sociology Program Mission

The Sociology Program offers our students an education that supports the mission of Roanoke College and is designed to complement and strengthen a liberal arts curriculum. Students majoring and minoring in Sociology acquire a broad understanding of the tenets of social justice with emphases on the sociological perspective, and critical sociological thought and methodology. Through the focus on intersectionality and inequality in the program, students develop abilities to recognize the continuing sources of social inequality, to explain the important influence of culture, social structure, and social processes on human behavior, and to develop an awareness of and appreciation for cultural diversity. Within the curriculum, students develop skills in writing, oral presentation, critical thinking, and the collection and analysis of data. Students are encouraged to engage in active earning in the classroom and in the community through internships, independent research, community engagement projects, and study abroad. The Program seeks to provide a challenging and well-rounded education that will serve as a solid foundation for students who embark on a career with the baccalaureate degree or who pursue professional or graduate studies.