Sociology is a safe investment for students

UVic sociology department chair refutes Tom Fletcher column

Re: Swapping sociology for socket sets (B.C. Views, Sept. 26)

Tom Fletcher’s column presents a number of misguided claims designed to lend rhetorical support to the provincial government’s intention to invest in trade and technical school facilities.

Fletcher argues that the government’s emphasis on shop upgrades in trade and technical schools implies that “dead-end programs dear to the hearts of last year’s Occupy campers will feel the pinch.”

He singles out sociology and women’s studies as examples of “aimless study” leading to unemployment (and social activism).

Fletcher’s concern seems to be that today’s students need to select courses that ensure a “safe investment” for themselves, their parents and society at large.

Sociology is a safe investment.  Sociologists have always focused on and provided necessary insights into relevant contemporary issues.

Sociologists at the University of Victoria are addressing some of the biggest questions facing government today. For instance, UVic sociologists are helping the province design health care policy on older adults living in long-term care facilities – policy shaping the lives of our parents and grandparents.

They are conducting research on increasing barriers placed on access to information and the right to know what government is doing. UVic sociologists are conducting policy research on crime control strategies, incarceration and prisons.

Last but not least, sociologists at UVic are providing training in research design, quantitative reasoning, objective data analysis and policy-relevant issues that dominate government agendas.

When a student majors in sociology, she studies a core curriculum aimed at developing competent research skills applicable to today’s world (and labour market).

Rather than relying on stereotypes and rhetorical nonsense to incite populist indignation, sociology students learn how to enact explanations that are informed by and based on clear evidence. To be sure, sociologists are passionate about and deeply committed to their research pursuits focused on maternity care, aging, dementia, blood donation, depression, weapons use and international human rights.

Passion and commitment, combined with sound research skills, are the hallmarks of all scientific pursuits.

The evidence indicates that sociology is one of the safest investments available to ensure social policy informed by evidence and sound research.

Sean Hier

chair, Sociology Department University of Victoria

Just Posted

Downtown Victoria Shoppers Drug Mart to take over previous Chapters location

The drug store is moving next door to take on a two-storey expansion

Home care transition could exacerbate worker shortage: Seniors advocate

Advocate fears impact of eight-hour shift model on an industry under stress

Oak Bay student Ottawa bound as parliamentary page

Community-driven Leah Smith to join Page Program

United Way to recognize outstanding community members

The annual Spirit Awards celebration will feature 13 award recipients

Rickter Scale: More smoke and secondhand hindsight

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

Experts butt heads in court, hunter loses case for return of ram

Despite expert testimony, judgement says ram probably underage

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Most Read