Learning and Doing Sociology through Community Engaged Learning

  • Lewis University Sociology students develop and use their sociological imaginations to better understand social realities and relationships that shape their lives, experiences, and communities at the local, national, and global levels.

  • Lewis Sociology students receive individual attention from their professors, thanks to their small class sizes, focus on student research, and commitment to engaged learning.

  • Lewis University students can work on research projects from their first year of classes. Recent students have presented research conducted independently, with faculty, and as part of class projects at local, regional, and national conferences. Sociology students have also collected data as part of community-based participatory research projects that have been used to help community partners secure funding, create curriculum for afterschool, gardening, dance, and afterschool programs, and build an archive of interviews, photos, newspapers, records, and other materials.

  • Lewis University Sociology students use sociological theories, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and analysis as they sharpen their communication, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

  • The Sociology Department at Lewis University is home to a number of interdisciplinary minors. These include programs in Women’s Studies, Latin American and Latina/Latino Studies, Ethnic and Cultural Studies, and African American Studies. Through these programs, students learn more about these communities and also work on projects and research that offer civic engagement, service, and advocacy.

  • The Sociology Department is also home to a Travel Study course that takes students to the US-Mexico border every May to see and better understand multiple issues relating to immigration. In partnership with University Ministry, the Department of Sociology provides a 5-day travel experience to the U.S.-Mexico border each May. The Border and U.S. Immigration policy are highly controversial subjects that involve key sociological and social justice issues. In addition to introducing students to the academic and policy perspectives on these issues, the trip to the border provides students with the opportunity to see first-hand the social justice concerns in that region. The course is open to all students, provides 3 hours of Sociology course credit and fulfills the Globalization General Education Requirement. More can be learned about this travel experience here: https://www.lewisu.edu/news/newsarticle.htm?PArticleID=11325#.XoYsCohKjIU

  • While at Lewis, sociology students learn in and out of the classroom. Recent Sociology students have interned in nonprofit organizations, corporate settings, urban farms, political campaigns and arts programs. Students regularly do research and community engaged learning projects with a number of community partners in places like Romeoville, Joliet, and Fairmont, Illinois, as well as Chicago. Students can also study Sociology around the world. Students can take part in the US-Mexico border Travel Study course. They can also follow in the footsteps of a number of Sociology students who have recently studied abroad in Italy and Ireland.

  • Sociology students are active parts of their communities—both on campus and off. In addition to projects with the Sociology Club, Students for Progressive Change, Sociology students often volunteer with Campus Ministries and hold leadership positions in the Sustainability Club on campus. Off campus, many serve as afterschool tutors, organize water drives for residents of Flint, Michigan, and help manage community gardens.

  • Lewis University Sociology students are well-prepared for graduate studies in sociology and other social sciences as well as in law. Lewis Sociology students are also well-prepared for a vast and diverse array of careers that include but are not limited to research analysis, marketing research, public policy, public health, education, social services, criminal justice, advertising, public relations, human resources, government, activism, and advocacy.

Lizeth Quintana and Brandon Richardson

Lizeth Quintana and Brandon Richardson, Sociology students in a project-oriented Social Problems class, collected and delivered 75 cases of water to a women and children’s shelter in Flint, Michigan this fall.

“Their dedication, engagement, and application of sociology as praxis are all so inspirational,” says Dr. Tennille Allen, chair and associate professor in the Department of Sociology.


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