University President Eric Kaler, in his first State of the University address, emphasized excellence and access at the University of Minnesota. The Sociology Department continues to lead in both of these key areas.
In terms of excellence, we maintain our commitment to create compelling, relevant scholarship. The department upholds its reputation for intellectual diversity, with faculty publishing in every type of sociology journal, from Critical Sociology to the American Sociological Review, as well as numerous interdisciplinary journals. In 2011, our faculty also produced seven books, received two national career awards (Jeylan Mortimer and Carl Malmquist), and managed millions of dollars in research grants.
Our graduate students benefit from the dynamic environment of the department, co-authoring with faculty and working closely with them on externally-funded grants and other projects from the moment they enter the program. This environment explains why many of our students go on to publish their own sole-authored work while still in graduate school. It also explains why our students do well on the job market. Our graduate program is stronger than ever, and we anticipate its continued improvement.
In terms of access, we are proud that our top-notch Sociology and Law, Crime, and Deviance programs continue to serve a diverse cadre of undergraduates, many of whom are first-generation college students. Faculty take very seriously their responsibility to insure that our majors have a great learning experience. We are constantly expanding pathways for undergraduates to conduct their own independent research, participate in community service learning, engage in internships, and join with faculty and graduate students on long-term research projects. With www.thesocietypages.org, we are also making sociology accessible to the broader public. I encourage you to check out this great resource if you haven't already. The website is just one more illustration of our pledge to engaged sociology.
These are challenging times. Inequality is at an all-time high, while higher-education excellence and access are threatened. A great, low-cost public education opened doors for many of us, to successful careers, to revealing intellectual insights, to solutions to pressing problems. I hope, sociology alums and supporters, that you will join with us to advocate to keep those doors open for today's young people. Given the same opportunities we had, I guarantee they will amaze and inspire us.