English

Hone your writing skills while deepening your appreciation of literature. Through discussion and close personal attention, you’ll develop analytical, critical reasoning, and communication skills highly sought after by employers in many fields. These skills will also provide you with an excellent foundation for graduate study.

Degree Offered: B.A.
Offered on the Augusta and Bangor campuses


 

UMA Social Science Program Welcomes New Faculty

 

Assistant Professor of Social Science Kati CorlewThe social science program at the University of Maine at Augusta is proud to announce the newest addition to its faculty.  Assistant Professor Laura Kate "Kati" Corlew comes to UMA with wide and deep expertise on organizational structure, the role of culture and community in psychology, civic engagement and the response of communities to climate change.  Dr. Corlew earned her PhD in 2012 Community and Cultural Psychology from the University of Hawai'i with a dissertation on the response to climate change in the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.  Dr. Corlew's many published works in quantitative and qualitative analysis include publications in the American Journal of Community Psychology, The Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health PromotionThe Community Psychologist, the Global Journal of Community PsychologyWeather, Climate and Society, the Review of Disability Studies and Centerings. Before coming to UMA, Dr. Corlew worked two years as a research fellow with the East-West Center, collecting and presenting network data on connections between climate change professionals across the Pacific Islands.  In Spring 2014, Dr. Corlew received an American Psychological Foundation Visionary Grant for $19,972 supporting continued research on psychological recovery and risk perception regarding natural disasters and climate change in Hawaii and American Samoa.

 

Dr. Corlew is especially looking forward to teaching at UMA's Bangor campus.  "I was drawn to UMA Bangor after hearing about its tight-knit community and strong student-support focus," she says. "I hope to contribute my background in Community Psychology to developing opportunities for students in Maine communities for hands-on education that will help students gain the skills they want while also supporting the community."

 

Welcome, Professor Corlew!

 

Professor Dean Earns 2014-2015 Meritorious Faculty Award

 

At ceremonies marking the start of the 2014-2015 academic school year, Assistant Professor of Education and Coordinator of Teacher Certification Cynthia Dean was awarded the University of Maine at Augusta's Meritorious Achievement Award for the year.  UMA Provost Joseph Szakas commended Professor Dean for her outstanding work:

 

deanmeritoriousfaculty"Cindy Dean came to UMA and the College of Arts and Sciences a few years ago to develop our secondary education pathway. This pathway allows our students to achieve certification to teach in Maine public high schools after graduation. She completed the entire curriculum from scratch; she forged relations with Maine public schools to allow student teaching placement; she has worked with the University of Maine at Machias and University of Maine at Presque Isle to enable UMA students to become certified in elementary and special education pathways as well.

"UMA now has over 300 students enrolled in one of these education pathways and Cindy’s mentoring and advising has been instrumental in their success. She also serves on UMA’s Faculty Senate and Honor’s Council. This summer you could find her in UMA’s community garden, where she took over supervision of students (and most of the weeding, harvesting and pest control). She has also already begun collaborating with our new Augusta writing center coordinator to develop a course in writing tutor methods that will enable UMA students to become more effective peer tutors. Cindy does all this while staying very involved in Maine’s K-12 educational circles. She is a wonderfully collaborative colleague and supporter of our students."

Congratulations, Professor Dean!

 

NEW in the Fall of 2013:  Sociology Minor

The Social Sciences faculty is pleased to announce the development of a Minor in Sociology.  

This minor is designed for individuals who are non-Social Science majors who wish to explore the content area of sociology further.  It provides students with a distinctly sociological approach to social phenomena.  The methods and concepts of sociology yield powerful insights into the social processes shaping lives, experiences, problems and possibilities in the contemporary world. The ability to identify and understand these processes, or what C.W. Mills called the "sociological imagination," is valuable preparation for personal and professional participation in a changing and complex society.

In addition to mastery of General Education outcomes, upon completion of the Minor, students will:

  • Be able to describe, orally or in written communication, the defining characteristics of sociology within the scientific community.  Student can describe the origin, scope and selected contributions of sociology within the social sciences as well as the greater scientific community.  
  • Demonstrate through written or oral work a knowledge of theories, concepts, substantive problems, and methodologies related to sociological practice.
  • Articulate an understanding of the intellectual and ethical importance of the sociological imagination and sociological mindfulness.
  • Critique the sociocultural and international contexts that influence individual and collective behavior.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the connections and differences between diverse historical and cultural positions in society.
  • Develop an ability and inclination to encounter cultures different from their own and understand their institutional and individual manifestations and the appreciation and respect for a diversity of viewpoints, interpretations, and diverse perceptions of reality, due to biases resulting from individual cultural screens of the observers.
  • Evaluate, propose and engage in research projects using their knowledge of the research enterprise and specific disciplines.  

 

  1. REQUIREMENTS (18 credit hours):

 SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology (3)

 SOC 201 Social Problems (3)

 SOC 311 Social Theory (3)

 SSC 320 Research Methods in Social Science (3)

 SOC XXX elective (3)

 SOC 3XX or 4XX upper-division elective (3)

 

UMA Social Media Research Featured at Two 2014 Conferences

 

jamescookfall2012Assistant Professor of Social Science James Cook continues to research the sociological patterns and impact of social media this year, and his research is being featured in two academic conferences.  At the 2014 meetings of the New England Political Science Association in April, Prof. Cook presented the findings in a new paper entitled "Making Connections: Twitter Networks of the Maine State Legislature." 

ABSTRACT

 

Twitter is not just about breakfast anymore. The social media platform has been adopted as a platform for political news and discussion at the national level, but its use in state politics is more recent and more poorly understood. This paper presents an analysis of thousands of Twitter posts by, to and between members of the Maine State Legislature to develop understanding of the ways in which this global medium is used for local political ends. Maine state legislators have adopted Twitter to varying extents, for varying purposes, forging connections with one another and with constituents in different ways. I chart the impact of geography, demography, biography and ideology on the
volume, content and network structure of legislators’ political tweets. Patterns of adoption and online communication reflect not only political allegiance but personal and regional forces as well.

 

At the end of September, Prof. Cook travels to Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada to make a different presentation to the Social Media & Society 2014 International Conference (for updates, follow the Twitter hashtag #smsociety14).  "When Friendship Gets Fuzzy: Tie Formation and Role Performance Among Teddy Bears Online":

ABSTRACT

 

BackgroundHomophily, the tendency for people to disproportionately form ties with similar others, is consistently observed in offline social communities (McPherson et al, 2001).  The question remains unsettled whether homophily results from active choices made in an environment of alternatives or from the tendency of people to form ties in groups that are already homogeneous.  Meanwhile, according to the dramaturgical tradition in sociology (Goffman, 1959) we play out our scenes according to assigned or assumed roles emerging from the beliefs, values and conventions of the groups surrounding us.  How are role-play and social distinction accomplished in an online environment where the physical body is no longer visible (Boyd and Heer, 2006; Code and Zaparyniuk, 2009)?

ObjectiveThe paper asks whether homophily and dramaturgical role-play appear online when the constraints and cues of the offline world are removed.  At a distinctive social media website called The Bear Club (thebearclub.co.uk), participants refrain from sharing their human names, ages, demographic characteristics or appearance, instead depicting themselves as teddy bears by name, in blog posts and comments, in photographs, and in choosing “bear buddies.”  Member bears each join one of 8 clans, and each clan is described as having a distinct personality (“shy,” “good listener,” “socialable and funny,” and so on).  However, bears from all clans have equal access to information about the activity of bears in all other clans, erasing structural barriers to interclan-interaction.  In the absence of both offline cues and online barriers, are these clan markers still associated with distinctive modes of expression and tie formation?

MethodsObservation of the complete population of 1,925 user accounts at The Bear Club included collection of content and network data regarding 5,213 selections of “bear buddies” and 17,140 comments on blog posts.  Network analysis and content analysis were used to assess the salience of social distinctions in tie formation and clan identity.

 

 

 

In addition to his research activity and his support for the broader social science program at UMA, Prof. Cook teaches courses in Social Networks and Analyzing Social Media for the UMA Social Media Certificate, a set of ten classes that develop students' skill in creating, analyzing and marketing social media.

 

Professor Cook to Present Research on Social Media and Politics at Upcoming Conference

 

jamescookfall2012Assistant Professor James Cook travels to Halifax, Nova Scotia in September to make a presentation at Dalhousie University for the 2013 Social Media & Society Conference. Dr. Cook will be presenting the results of his research into patterns of social network contact between Senators and constituents over Twitter.  Fittingly, announcements regarding the conference are being shared through the Twitter hashtag #smsociety13.

 

ABSTRACT

Are Twitter accounts of the U.S. Senate used as points of collegial connection, constituent cultivation or coalition construction? Who is connecting with whom? To address these questions, this paper considers three types of social network data for senators collected between January and February of 2013: communication between official Twitter accounts of senators, overlap in mentions of non-Senate accounts, and overlap in mentions by non-Senate accounts. QAP analysis reveals the extent to which Senate social media relations resemble two forms of Senate political action: shared bill cosponsorship and similarity in voting. The impact of homophily, party, region and social media style on the strength of connection and similarity of action shows consistency in some aspects but varies significantly in others. Members of the Senate connect differently in different contexts; to know one form of connection is not to understand them all.

 

In addition to his research activity, Prof. Cook teaches courses in Social Networks and Analyzing Social Media for the UMA Social Media Certificate, a set of ten classes that develop students' skill in creating, analyzing and marketing social media.