Learning opportunities

Internships and community engagement

Our department promotes internships, community engagement and the application of sociology to real-life social problems and their solutions.

  • Internships for Community Outreach

    This places students in the community to learn about the social service system, including the nature of welfare and other human service organizations.

  • Family and Community Services

    An examination of the responses of community organizations to family life, pressures and problems. Particular issues include spouse and child abuse, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, day care, and family instability and mental health. Visits to community and human service organizations are arranged.

  • Domestic Violence

    A sociological examination of issues and questions raised by violence within American families. The public definition of family violence, subjective experiences of abusers and victims, and social and individual causes and consequences of abuse, complexities and problems of social interventions.

  • Environmental Policy and Resource Management

    An examination of environmental issues and problems such as acid rain, ocean dumping, and nuclear wastes, and the social forces that shape environmental policies. Students visit environmental organizations and environmental problem sites.

  • Environmental Seminar

    The focus of this seminar is on the implementation of different environmental policies. Internships at the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation and local environmental organizations are part of this course.

Community Service Mini-term

Many students take part in the Community Service Mini-term, an intensive off-campus program combining service, academic inquiry and critical reflection about social, political, cultural and economic issues. The current focus is hurricane recovery in the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Student research projects

A key component of faculty involvement in student education is the opportunity for students to work directly with faculty on research. The Department of Sociology has been particularly involved in collaborative research with students.

For example, Professor Kaplan has conducted research with Union students on fishing communities and marine life. They have worked together at Union and at the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod. Her students have also conducted research with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and human service agencies in the Capital District of New York State.

Funded research opportunities

Financial support has come to many departmental majors through Union’s Undergraduate Research Programs. Some have used this money to conduct research in Arizona, Miami, Brazil and other off-campus sites. These funds have also supported students’ local research projects.