Goals and Values

The Department of Sociology and Social Work is currently comprised of seven sociologists, four social workers, and a number of adjunct faculty members specializing in fields ranging from non-profit management to medical sociology. The Sociology Program, which offers the Bachelor of Arts, and the Social Work Program, which offers the Bachelor of Social Work, while distinct from each other in some respects, are nonetheless guided by a common vision. This shared vision is driven by several overlapping goals: service to humanity, service to the discipline and the profession, service to the university, service to the region and service to the students. These goals cannot be prioritized because to do one is to do all; to neglect one is to diminish all.

The department offices and many classrooms are housed in Rarick Hall, along with several of the other departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Rarick Hall features mediated classrooms, and faculty members and students are provided with computerized work environments. Technology benefits students with such features as computerized pre-enrollment, computerized library services, computer labs and each student has access to the Internet.

Service to Humanity
The quintessential goal of Sociology and Social Work is to understand and work toward the betterment of the human condition. The discovery of links between the concerns of individuals and environmental conditions will become increasingly important in the 21st century. Efforts to understand the creation, transmission, and reformulation of social arrangements define our purpose, guide our work and contribute to the betterment of the human condition. To this end, the Department of Sociology and Social Work strives to create a community of inquiry in which critical, reflective thought is valued and demonstrated and social action based on the principles of justice is encouraged.

Service to the Discipline and the Profession
Sociology and Social Work faculty and students are engaged in a number of research and service activities that benefit the discipline and profession. Faculty research projects are quite varied, and some of those projects include: the study of social change in rural and urban areas in a province of China, research evaluation of a Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services program, Kansan's attitudes toward wildlife in the state, and study of domestic mediation outcomes.

Service to the Community
Sociology and Social Work faculty consider service to the profession and community to be a critical aspect of their professional lives. A sampling of faculty service activities to the discipline include: member of Committee on Women in the Profession of the Midwest Sociological Society, Kansas Rural Development Council, and the Social Work Advisory Committee for the Behavioral Science Regulatory Board. Faculty serve the community in many diverse ways. Faculty serve by volunteering and consulting for the Northwest Kansas Family Shelter, Ellis Community Partnership, Court Appointed Special Advocate, Hays City Government, and First Call for Help to name a few. A faculty member writes a weekly parenting column for Hays Daily News and speaks about parenting on a monthly radio program. Another faculty member has written grant proposals for Hays Medical Center, successfully securing more than $1.5 million in grant monies. Faculty incorporate their experience in research and service into their classrooms, providing students with direct exposure to the application of sociological and social work knowledge to the real world.

Service to Fort Hays State University
In addition to fulfilling the responsibilities associated with teaching, research and service, the Department of Sociology and Social Work serves the university by supporting the educational and professional needs of other units, by expending a substantial amount of its resources to address diversity, by maintaining a leadership role in the delivery of off-campus classes, and by seeking and accepting assignments which contribute to the overall operation of the university.

Service to Students
The Department of Sociology and Social Work has a well-deserved reputation for delivering quality undergraduate education. While individual differences among students are both valued and respected, a common vision of what graduates of our programs should embody exists. The department works to help students achieve their full potentials by requiring demonstrated competence in critical thinking, oral and written communication, research, computer and grant writing skills. In addition students are encouraged to develop conflict resolution, mediation, and planning skills. Students are taught to deal constructively with uncertainty and change, an ability which is crucial to success. The faculty believe in the importance of offering students "hands on" experience, and thus, provide students with an avenue to apply theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to applications in the real world through involvement in faculty research and service projects. Some on-campus students have the opportunity to work as interns and student staff members in the Docking Institute for Mike Walker and Dr. Gary Brinker. Our goal is to equip students to make a "life" as well as a "living."