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

Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

Bill Okell has driven the same race car for 44 years

Local school districts gear up for the new back to school season

Seismic upgrades, inclusion and student safety are priorities

Camosun’s continuing education site a quick hit

Hundreds of courses available to launch new career opportunities

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read