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     The department is small and vibrant with faculty who are engaged in varied scholarly and personal interests, and also representing several cultures.  Faculty in the department offer their expertise through the University's general education courses and upper level courses.  Consequently the caliber of students who are drawn to the discipline is high as evidenced in those who make the Dean's List; who gain admission into the Alpha Kappa Delta International Honor Society; who work in collaboration with our faculty; and those who make news on campus. If you want to know more about our program, visit us in Mod Hall 101.


Sociology Mission Statement 

The sociology program at Westfield State University (WSU) is organized around a broad range of courses that offer majors and non-majors an opportunity to learn how the discipline illuminates both the social world and individual biography within a context that stimulates critical thinking and logical analysis.  Sociology at WSU reflects the University mission of providing students with the intellectual breath of a liberal arts education, combined with an orientation towards service to the wider community achieved through the application of sociological knowledge and analytical tools in internships and/and individual research projects.

Sociology faculty are committed to accomplishing these broad goals within an environment that promotes the fair and equitable treatment of all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin.  We share a commitment to educational practices that value diversity within the United States as well as globally.  Where inconsistencies are uncovered, we encourage students to think about, and devise ways of engaging in praxis or action in order to bring about positive social change.

The faculty is also dedicated to improving students’ abilities to express themselves orally and in writing by emphasizing these skills in class assignments and performance evaluations.  In addition, requiring all majors to complete at least one course of research methods signals our intent to improve students’ grasp and use of qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection and analysis.

Finally, sociology faculty respond to the needs of both the University and the larger community by developing interdisciplinary courses and programs, participating in committees, and engaging in service activities


Sociology Major


View Course Catalog


     A major in Sociology gives students the knowledge and skills that provide an excellent foundation for careers in community organizations, business, and government agencies, as well as the grounding for graduate work in sociology or a related field. Students learn how individuals behave in organizations, families, and communities, and develop a sense of the contexts in which social policy decisions are made and carried out. Students also acquire a sense of history and different ways of life. 


Degree Requirements

     Students seeking a B.A. in Sociology must complete twelve Sociology courses, including Principles of Sociology, Introduction to Research Methods, Sociological Theory, and Senior Thesis/Internship. The remaining eight electives are chosen from a list of courses that cover many topics, including:


  • The Family 

  • Race and Ethnic Relations 

  • Social Change 

  • Sociology of Gender

  • Collective Behavior 

  • Population Studies 

  • Sociology of Education 

  • Sociology of Law 

  • Sociology of Religion 

  • Urban Sociology 

  • Social Stratification

The "Senior Thesis/Internship," which concludes work in this major, gives students an opportunity to write an original research paper or to gain hands-on experience in one of a variety of government, business, and service settings. In either case, students apply the knowledge and skills learned in earlier course work.



Sociology Minor

     Many students choose to minor in Sociology, combining it with such majors as Social Work, Criminal Justice, Psychology, or Education. To satisfy the requirements for a minor in Sociology, students must take Principles of Sociology and five upper-level Sociology courses, no more than two of which may be "200-level" courses.


Congratulations to our 2012 Kate Bagley Award Recipient

Sandra Kokoe-Venunye Kwawu


Congratulations to our 2012 ALPHA KAPPA DELTA Honorees

Aaron Richard Astley

Kimberly Ann Benjamin

Micheal Ryan Kendall

Sandra Kokoe-Venunye Kwawu

Trishul Moodley

James Michael Nelson



Congratulations to our 2012 Academic Achievement Awards Recipients


Anthony Picariello
A double major in Psychology and Sociology, Anthony plans to attend the
University of Massachusetts - Boston for a Master’s in Education in School Psychology. Upon receiving his advanced degree, he hopes to become a school psychologist.


Kimberly A. Benjamin
Kimberly, a Sociology major and Psychology minor, is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta and Psi Chi. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis at the University. Her goal is to work with children on the autism spectrum.

Michael R. Kendall
Michael completed a Sociology major while also minoring in History. He was recently inducted into the Alpha Kappa Delta honor society. A member of the Air National Guard based in Westfield, Michael also completed an internship with Michael A. Tautznik, Mayor of Easthampton. Future plans include law school.

Jill M. Pasha
Jill is a double major, studying Sociology and Ethnic and Gender Studies. She hopes to pursue a career in the field of domestic violence, working in a local women’s shelter. She has plans to eventually enroll in graduate school to study anthropology.

Dr. Mangaliso library poster ceremony


Online Sociology Major and Minor
Complete an online sociology major (36 Credits) or minor (18 Credits) through the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education.  For an advising appointment or find out more about the online sociology major or minor, call 413-572-8020 or Contact Dr. Tamara Smith 413-572-8267, Chair of the Department of Sociology.


Gerontology Minor
The will be introduced in the Fall of 2014. Any one interested in the new minor can contact contact  Dr. Tamara Smith 413-572-8267 who is the gerontology minor advisor.


Gerontology Minor Program Description

The Gerontology Minor is an 18 credit interdisciplinary minor intended for those students who are interested in learning about the many facets of the aging process and the issues facing the elderly today.  Gerontology incorporates the study of the physical, mental, and social changes in older people as they age.  It includes the investigation of the changes in society resulting from our aging population, and the application of this knowledge to policies and programs.  The minor provides students with the background information about gerontology that prepare students for specializing in work with the elderly population in their major field of study.  Career opportunities exist in many professional settings including community, human services, health-care, long-term care, government agencies (local, state and federal), retirement communities, business and industry.

Students will be required to take a minimum of 18 credits in assigned Gerontology courses to complete the program.

All students will be expected to take the following core courses in the Gerontology program:

Gerontology Core: 12 credits
GERO 101 Introduction to Gerontology
MOVP 100 Introduction to Exercise Science
SOCI 321 Social Gerontology
PSYH 357 Adult Development and Aging

Gerontology Internship or Independent Study: 3 credits
GERO370 Gerontology Internship
GERO399 Gerontology Independent Study or approved independent study through another department

These three courses comprise the cornerstones of the interdisciplinary minor, and all of these courses are completely focused on aging issues from the perspective disciplines.  In addition to these nine credits, a minimum of a  three credits internship in Gerontology or minimum of three credits independent study in Gerontology focusing on research are required and students will be expected to take three more credits in Gerontology, comprised of one elective courses (for a total of 18 credits). 

Listing of Gerontology-Related courses which meet elective course requirements: 3 credits
SOCI 3XX        Women and Aging
SOCI 3XX        Families and Aging
SOCI 318        Sociology of Medical Care
SOCI 3XX        Death and Dying
PSYC 0207     Lifespan Development
GARP 0105    Introduction to Community Planning*
HIST 0270      Problems in American History*
MOVP 212     Concepts of Nutrition
MOVP 0328   Fitness/Rehab in Special Populations*
MOVP 310     Gerokinesiology*

* Course sections and additional courses not listed require approval of the Gerontology advisor.  Some courses require additional prerequisites that must be fulfilled.

Note: The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatric Programs (2008) recommends that at least 50 percent of the content of gerontology elective courses should be focused on gerontology.  All requests for course section approval should be submitted to Dr. Tamara Smith.


Assistant Professor Tamara L. Smith, Chair to The Department of Sociology and Coordinator of the Gerontology Minor 
Ph.D. (University at Albany, State University of New York)

Affiliated Faculty to The Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies

Teaches: Principles of Sociology, Sociology of Children, Social Gerontology, Sociology of Aging, and Sociology of Education
Interests: Gerontology, Carework, Education, Family Policy


Professor Nomazengele A. Mangaliso, Former Chair to the The Department of Sociology

Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Affiliated Faculty to The Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies

Teaches: Sociological Theory, Family, and Social Change
Interests: Global Stratification and Political Sociology


Associate Professor Tian-Jia Dong, Senior Thesis and Internship Advisor

Ph.D. (Boston College)

Affiliated Faculty to The Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies 
Teaches: Principles of Sociology, complex organizations, small groups, social change, cultural anthropology, and senior thesis/internship
Interests: Research: complex organizations and network theory; global and political sociology; comparative and historical methodology. Subjects of Focus: emerging forms of global governance; types of authority; social embeddedness of political institutions; comparative study on American and Chinese social-political-economic institutions.


Assistant Professor Gabriel Aquino, Co-Advisor to the Latin American Studies Minor

Ph.D. (University at Albany, State University of New York)

Affiliated Faculty to The Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies 
Teaches: Principles of Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Research Methods, Social Inequality, Urban Sociology, Latina/o & Latin American Sociology and the Sociology of Globalization
Interests: Racial and Ethnic Integration, Globalization, Migration, Latin American and Caribbean, and Social Class



Emeritus Faculty

Professor Kate Bagley, Emerita

Ph.D. (University of California Berkeley)

J.D. (University of Connecticut School of Law)
Teaches: Gender, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Law, Cultural Anthropology, and Women and Religion
Interests: Feminist Theory, the Law of Sex Discrimination, and Sociology of Religion




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Sociology Program News




Congratulations to our 2011 Kate Bagley Award Recipient

Kristen M. Ross


Congratulations to our 2011 ALPHA KAPPA DELTA Honorees

Timothy Leo Sullivan

Justin C. Connolly

Anthony J. Picariello

Tiffany Marie Reardon

Jill O'Brien McGann

Kristen M. Ross

Inductees in 2009-2010: Honor Recipients















Lauren E. Collins

Caroline Elkins

Marta Grala

Erin C. Greenleaf

Amy J. Lapointe

Kimberly E. Long

Devlin A. Martin

Catherine E. McKeown-Kindahl

Marlene M. Roberts

Rene C. Robinson

Amanda J. Schultz

Bagley Award 2

Kate Bagley Award in Sociology 2010

Devlin A. Martin


Inductees in 2008-2009:

Emily Broda

Erica Brunell

Alisha Carr

Kevin DelBiondo

Dennis Ferrick

Kristen Libby

Wade Poplaski

Walter T. Gregg

Michael Brown

Inductees in 2007-2008:

Ludmila P. Baraban

Elyse Denorfia

Britny P. Kirsner

Adam J. Kosakowski

Miriam Rivera-Labrecque

Jennifer L. Serra

Alyssa Solomon

Katharine J. White

Teressa Williams



Congratulations to our 2011 Academic Achievement Awards Recipients

Thomas Bruso

Benjamin Campbell (Internship Award)

Nancy Gonzalez

Devlin Martin





Congratulations to Sandra Kwawu for her Poster Presentation at the Eastern Sociological Society 81st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.
Depression awareness in colleges.


Faculty Book Publications (For additional works please see individual faculty pages)


Tian-Jia Dong, Social Reach: a connectivist approach to American identity and global governance, University Press of America, August 2008.

TJ Book


Tian-Jia Dong, Understanding Power through Watergate: The Washington Collective Power Dynamics University Press of America, August 2005.


Nomazengele A. Mangaliso, The South African Mosaic: A  Sociological Analysis of Post-Apartheid Conflict, University of America Press, June 1994.

Zengie's Book



Congratulations to Britny Kirsner who was awarded "Scholar Ship" Award

      The scholar Ship Award was conferred by President Dobelle and consists of $10,000 donation by the Scholar Ship program and $2,500 by Westfield State University. Britny will be traveling throughout the fall semester on board a ship that will traverse the world, giving students an opportunity to engage in a true global study.

Congratulations to Stacey Berry who was Selected for the Teach for America program

      Stacey is a recent graduate of Westfield State University with a major in Sociology. She is currently teaching in the the Bay Area in California. The program received 18,000 applicants and Stacey is one of only 2,900 accepted.


Web site created by Gabriel Aquino, please forward all concerns and comments to