Florida Southern College will officially be saying goodbye to the sociology major as of the Spring 2015 term.
“It’s not necessarily closing the sociology department as it is doing away with the sociology major,” Dr. Risdon Slate, department chair for the department of sociology and criminology, said.
Kaylie Worth, a senior double major in communications and sociology, heard that the department was closing through an email.
“We got an email, I think it was last week now, in the morning during class,” Worth said. “During my next one, we all had a fit about it, and the professor was like ‘calm down guys, calm down.’”
“My first thought was, ‘I can’t believe it. Why would they do that?’” Worth said.
The discussion on what to do about the department has been a long one. Brad Hollingshead, dean of arts and sciences called it a “difficult decision.”
“I think this is a decision that has been fought over for a long time now,” Hollingshead said. “In other words, it’s an issue that the administration was addressing before I got here.”
In the end, it was decided to close the sociology department.
“As I understand, the primary reason has to do with numbers,” Slate said.
Hollingshead agreed with Slate, saying that he has seen a decrease in the numbers.
“Over the years now, the enrollment in that particular major has just dropped precipitously,” Hollingshead said.
Hollingshead said that the enrollment showed a “downward trend.”
This year, out of all of the incoming freshmen, only three were majoring in sociology.
“It did not make the sustainability of the program look promising,” Hollingshead said.
Hollingshead said that the “quality” of the experience was also at stake.
“When you get down to the situation where you have two students in a class, I think you’re robbing students of a very important experience,” Hollingshead said.
However, there are plans in place for students who are already majoring and minoring in sociology. Students were given an individual evaluation of what classes they still had to take, and when those classes should be taken in an email sent out to students.
“There’s a teach-out plan set up to take place,” Slate said.
The teach-out plan will allow everyone who has already declared sociology as a major or minor to complete their studies. It is hoped that all current sociology students will complete their courses by the spring of 2015.
At the same time, different student services are working to make sure that all current students can complete their major and minors.
“The registrar has worked to accommodate both majors and minors,” Slate said.
David Garvin, a senior religion major and sociology minor, has taken sociology classes since his freshman year. He has a concentration in youth ministry, which involves counseling.
“My understanding was the root to counseling people started in the sociology field,” Garvin said.
Garvin heard about the major ending a month ago. Although he has already completed his minor, Garvin called the department closing “unfortunate.”
“I’m blessed that the decision doesn’t necessarily affect me, but it’s sad to think this is a legacy that won’t continue in Florida Southern,” Garvin said.