Mission Statement

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work offers baccalaureate degrees in anthropology, social work (accredited by the Council on Social Work Education), and sociology (with concentrations in Criminology or General Sociology) and the master's and doctoral degrees in sociology. The department's programs share the following general goals:

(1) to offer courses in the three disciplines that contribute to the general education of all students at Kansas State University by providing knowledge about basic social and cultural processes, key social institutions, and the basic biological processes underlying the development of humans as species; (2) to offer courses of study in each of the three disciplines that provide sufficient depth and breadth that graduates of the undergraduate programs are equipped to enter careers in which the practice of sociology, anthropology, or social work are valued or necessary; (3) to offer courses of study at the graduate level in sociology that prepare students to design and conduct research on important social processes and to disseminate the knowledge gained from sociological research; (4) to add to the knowledge-base of each of these three disciplines by conducting basic research on social and cultural processes and institutions as well as on specific social problems; (5) to serve the university, the community, and the professions through faculty involvement in applying its knowledge and skills to problem-solving and development in each of these three institutional arenas. The department's activities in teaching, research, and service are undertaken in order to meet these goals.


The department's curricula involves service courses as well as courses for the three undergraduate majors and the sociology graduate program. Introductory courses in archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, sociology, social problems, social work, and the criminal justice system are available to all students at Kansas State University. Thus, in addition to serving as introductory courses for our majors, they are designed to meet the needs of all Kansas State students for basic knowledge of the social sciences (and biological sciences in the case of physical anthropology) and social welfare. The department's curricula are largely comprised of courses designed for the majors in the three disciplines, and for the masters and doctoral program in sociology. The curricula for each of the undergraduate programs are designed to provide students with significant depth and breadth in terms of theory, methodology, substantive knowledge, and practical application. In addition, the graduate program in sociology prepares students for careers in research and teaching with strong foundation work in classical and contemporary theory and quantitative and qualitative methodology, and substantive depth in rural and urban communities, social change and development, criminology, and social demography.


The department's faculty actively contributes to the knowledge base of the three disciplines by conducting original research and publishing it in peer reviewed journals and books as well as in text books. Areas in which faculty members have made significant research contributions include the following: archaeology of the Great Plains; aging in developing countries; child welfare training in Kansas; community development in rural areas; community policing; cultural analysis of cousin marriages; cultural history of African American music; ethnomusicology; democratization in Latin America; environmental sociology; e-commerce; forensic anthropology; globalization; hunger; new immigrant populations in Kansas communities; gendered work settings; linguistics of the Comoros; natural resources and development; North American Indians; the social context of U.S. political policy; quality of life in developing countries; urbanization; school violence; welfare policy in Kansas. The department faculty has strong ties with interest in Latin American Studies as well as South Asian and American Ethnic Studies. The department is also involved in the Agricultural Experiment Station, and faculty members with this responsibility are involved in a variety of research projects that have direct application to central concerns of rural Kansas communities. The forms in which the department's scholarship has been disseminated include scholarly presentations, peer-reviewed journal articles, published reports, books, films, and computer learning modules. Of course, the most frequent type of dissemination is through teaching in the college classroom. Thus, compartmentalizing teaching and research is really a false distinction.


Faculty regularly serve the local community and the state by providing an array of services. These include frequent consultations regarding possibly significant archaeological artifacts found by Kansas citizens, forensic service to Kansas law enforcement agencies, service to various community organizations, such as United Way and the Crisis Center, and advising community leaders on rural community development strategies. Several faculty members are involved in international consulting in areas such as ethnic studies in anthropology in the U.S. and Europe and native rights claims in Canada. Faculty have also served as consultants at the state level, for example, in providing expert testimony to the Kansas legislature on child welfare policy. Faculty members are active in their professions. They organize sessions at scholarly meetings, they serve as officers of professional associations, and they serve in editorial positions for peer reviewed journals and publishers of scholarly books. Faculty members in the Department are heavily engaged in service to the department, college, university, community, and the professions. It is departmental service that gives the department its collective identity. Faculty serve on committees without which the department would certainly lose much of its vitality. Important among these are the curriculum committee, which constantly assesses the adequacy of our programs and looks for ways to improve them through new or different course offerings. Also important are the evaluation committee, which is a peer-review committee that rates the performance level of each faculty member in the department, and the awards committee, which organizes the annual awards ceremony at which outstanding undergraduate majors are honored. College and University service activities are also important, and the department regularly provides representatives to important bodies such as the College Curriculum Committee, the University Faculty Senate, the Graduate Council and the Dean's College Committee on Planning. Finally, many faculty contribute to the university by participating in interdisciplinary programs such as American Ethnic Studies, South Asian Studies, and Women's Studies.