There are four factors that distinguish the graduate program in Sociology at Kent from other similar programs.
First, our program is balanced in terms of quantitative and qualitative methodology, providing us the distinct ability to train students both quantitatively and quantitatively across research areas.
A second characteristic of our at differentiates us from similar programs is that we limit our areas of concentration to: 1) the Sociology of Health and Health Care, (2) Social Psychology, and (3) Social Inequalities. By limiting our areas of specialty, the breadth with which we cover these areas and are able to train students is remarkable.
The third aspect of our program that is striking is the faculty’s level of involvement in Sociology at the national level. Among our ranks are officers and elected committee members of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems – two national organizations of sociologists.
Furthermore, several of our faculty are on the editorial boards of some of the top journals in our discipline, including but not limited to, Social Psychology Quarterly, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Journal of Marriage and the Family. These activities on the part of our faculty make Kent State University highly visible in the discipline. Finally, the Sociology Ph.D. program at Kent State is joint with the University of Akron. This unique feature is related to the points just mentioned above (i.e., breadth of areas and national level of involvement in the discipline) and contributes to how we are able to train students. With the combined faculty Kent-Akron faculty, our Ph.D. students can select among nearly thirty faculty advisors – a situation reserved for only a few of the largest programs in the country.
There are a variety of ways that the Department of Sociology contributes to the public good through teaching about societal inequality, activities in services that directly benefit the community, and the placement of graduates in social service and public policy positions. In recent years, among our efforts to contribute to the public good are faculty who have accepted appointments on the Summit and Portage County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health boards – major entities in this region who help provide direct services and shape policies for community residents struggling with substance use issues or mental illness. As well, the Department’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, an honors society, and our chapter of Sociologist for Women in Society have held numerous fund raisers for area homeless shelters and domestic violence prevention. Moreover, several on-going research projects in the department have implications for public policy and the public good, including research on immigration, alcohol use, parental use of physical punishment, and post-traumatic stress disorder.