Politics of Sociology

  • What leadership theories and styles do you see in the reading  material?
  • Were there any leadership strategies you identified? What would have been a helpful strategy in the reading material?
  • Discuss constructive and destructive conflict. How do they differ? What did you see with relation to these concepts in the reading material ?
  • How would you increase cohesion for these teams?



Introduction: Members of the Sociology Department at a local college are brainstorming about the course offerings for next semester.


Steve: That was a great brainstorming session. And I really want us to now get down to the business of coming up with specific courses that we’re willing to eliminate and that we’re willing to add. We need to balance off the integrity of our department and our offerings with the needs to bring in more students and the need to develop a stronger curriculum.


Trevor: But we don’t want enrollment to dictate, you know, what


Teacher: Right.


Ellen: Oh, here we go. Here we go. Trevor, you need to look at the numbers. It’s indicative of


Trevor: I understand that.


Ellen: certain trends of the student population. And I think we need, right now is the time to address these things.


Trevor: I’m not advocating


Teacher: Speaking of trends, Ellen, Trevor, I have an exciting idea. I think we should teach a course and I’ve already set up all the entire coursework of the sociology of time. Sociology of time, the understanding of time as a commodity, the understanding of an individual’s strive and drive


Trevor: That’s the Dearborn book?


Teacher: Exactly. The Dearborn book that you gave me


Ellen: Oh he is brilliant.


Trevor: It’s very interesting, but I don’t know that


Teacher: [indiscernible] acceleration of time in history?


Trevor: I mean, you have a reading list or anything in mind?


Teacher: Yep, yep, entire reading list, of course starting with Dearborn’s book. It’s a phenomenal piece of work. It really builds upon the foundations of the institution and trying to remain on the edge, trying to lead the pack of [indiscernible] sociology. As everybody knows, our numbers have been down in a number of the courses. That’s why one of the reasons we’re here is to decide which courses we should possibly move away from or evolve into something else.


Ellen: Which is going to be a difficult task.


Teacher: Yes.


Trevor: But I think this is premature as far as that particular course goes. I mean, we’d have to think that through.


Ellen: Well, think about it because students from other concentrations might very well be attracted


Teacher: Exactly.


Ellen: to that concept.


Copyright (c) 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.






Teacher: Exactly. Ellen knows what I’m talking about.



Trevor: And I appreciate and respect what, you know, your thinking is here. But, I mean, we don’t want enrollment or trying to bring in more majors to drive


Ellen: Try to be open to a new idea.


Steve: I’m going to ask everyone to sort of step back from what they might be feeling in the moment and consider the bigger picture. The bigger picture is we have to add and eliminate courses. We have to attract students. And we have to deepen our curriculum. So how are we going to do it?


Ellen: Attracting students, that is key.


Steve, I think we could do that by offering a course on the sociology of time.


Trevor: If we want to run with that, then we’re going to have – we should – we should identify a course to cut really.


Ellen: Well, I’m glad you brought that up because these numbers here speak for themselves.


Steve: Let’s keep the numbers question in perspective.


Trevor: Yes, absolutely.


Steve: It is a bottom line thinking


Teacher: That’s true, Steve.


Steve: that may get in the way of our brainstorming and making this work.


Ellen: I don’t think so, Steve. I think it paves the way for the future. And I think we need to be attentive to it. We have ignored it. And the culture of consumerism is a primary course to deliberate about.


Trevor: Okay. All right. I suspected that’s where you were going.


Ellen: Well, let’s examine it. That’s all I’m saying.


Trevor: You know


Georgia: You guys, we can do this without an argument happening.


Trevor: Georgia, I appreciate that. But I’ve been teaching that course for almost 20 years now.


Georgia: It’s a great course.


Ellen: So it’s time to


Trevor: The curriculum committee’s not going to be behind cutting that. That, I mean, yeah, enrollments are down. But enrollments have been down in other courses that go up and down. Look at the Af-Am program. If we


Copyright (c) 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Georgia: That’s true.

Trevor: based our offerings on enrollment, student numbers, we wouldn’t have an Af-Am program.

Ellen: Oh, Trevor, stop living in the past.

Trevor: Aw, you know

Ellen: Look to the future.

Trevor: I am.

Steve: Just hold on a second here. I want us to keep the bigger picture in mind and to recognize the integrity of each person’s position.

Trevor: Thank you.

Steve: So what that means is that we need to look at what the goal is, the bigger goal. And that bigger goal means that we offer our students what they really need, and we create something that is attractive and meaningful.


Teacher: Steve, what better way to grow on that than offering a new and exciting subject that, one, builds on the integrity of what everybody has done here, I mean, you’ve been offering that course for 20 years now. Let that course evolve into something that is more exciting and will draw people from other curriculums

Ellen: Exactly.

Teacher: into the sociology department.

Georgia: It is, it’s exciting, it’s exciting

Trevor: This is not the course to cut. I mean

Steve: Well, let’s again, let’s keep some perspective on this.

Trevor: We’re talking about being relevant, I’m sorry. We’re talking about being relevant. How, I mean

Ellen: Relevant and vital and rigorous. Does it fulfill those three objectives?

Trevor: We’re talking about bodies the classroom, is what we seem to be talking about.

Teacher: And students have been voting with their feet.

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