By Jonathan Aguilar, Sociology undergrad
On April 12, faculty, classmates and I were stupefied by the news that the Department of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona has decided to no longer require the course Statistics for Sociology in order to graduate with a sociology major. Some of my classmates welcomed the decision, but I cannot wrap my head around it, because I believe that a solid basis in statistics is necessary in graduate school and a beneficial and competitive skill in the job market.
I would like to ask the chair leaders from the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences and even University President Soraya M. Coley to reconsider and ask themselves: what kind of alumni they want to produce, and how this type of decision hinders our school’s learn by doing approach?
A member of leadership informed me that the department decided to stop requiring the statistics course for sociology students to the high number of students failing the class and becoming a road block for them, the lack of faculty to teach it and because the Department of Sociology believes that we might have too many research methods classes including research, quantitative, and qualitative methods.
However, no longer requiring a course does not solve the large and complex problems within our institution. These are symptoms of a poorly funded department. The decision of no longer requiring Statistics for Sociology for students does not support the notion of increasing minorities‘ opportunities to have access to places controlled by the dominant culture. In fact, it may reproduce the social inequalities we talk about in our sociological classes by limiting the skills that help us navigate society.
I urge the attention and proactive solutions from CLASS, and the student body to engage in solving these issues. The department needs to hire qualified faculty for the course and focus on resources that attend to the students’ needs. Students must demand the education that will empower our knowledge and skills.
Nonetheless, we need these methods classes, because it is in these types of classes where sociology students develop the technical skills that make us versatile in an already competitive job market.
This means more than the job or school that the students get after CPP; it is about the access to those places that will determine the student’s social mobility. Let us not forget that CPP is a minority-serving institution, and it has a responsibility to support minorities in their career journeys.
Instead of removing courses, administrators should focus on finding the root of the problem. Students, faculty, and leaders must take action in finding solutions for the issues of high failure rates and low numbers of faculty members instead of ignoring or, in this case removing, the problem. This is how institutional racism hides in the veins of our universities.
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