American Sociological Association

Department Leaders’ Toolbox

A collection of resources from ASA and other relevant sources to support department success. For data on degrees conferred, graduate enrollments, faculty salaries, and other information relevant to departments leaders, go to the Trends in Sociology webpage.

Fostering Healthy and Vibrant Departments

ASA Resources and Initiatives for Department Chairs (2016)
A primer on resources ASA offers to department leaders. 

Family Friendly Departmental Practices (December 2015, Video)
In this webinar Jennifer Glass, a leader in the field of work and gender issues, shares her advice and insights on facilitating a family friendly sociology department. She addresses how she created a departmental environment where those with dependent care responsibilities had their care work honored without burdening their colleagues or generating perceptions of unfairness. 

Best Practice Suggestions for Preventing Harassment and Other Abuses of Power in Your Department (December 2018) Developed by the ASA Working Group on Harassment, this document is meant to serve as a guide to help department leaders strategize about how they can best prevent and respond to harassment in their departments. The proposed practices can create limits to the use of power in department structures and may reduce some of the problems that emerge in contexts with asymmetrical relationships.  

Stopping Harassment: A Resource for Department Chairs (2018, PDF)
Developed by the ASA Working Group on Harassment, this resource for chairs includes information on how to respond to and prevent harassment in departments. It also includes links to several other resources, including ASA's Anti-Harassment Policy and training resources designed for academic contexts. You can also view a recording from a 2019 webinar on this topic.

When Sociology is on the Chopping Block (2018, PDF)
Our current higher education environment is one in which threats to degree programs come in myriad forms and from unexpected sources. It is critical to be appropriately responsive to the source of the threat (e.g., legislators, board members, community leaders, media, administrators) and always with attention to the institutional context.

Keeping Small Departments Afloat on the Roiling Academic High Seas (2018, PDF)
Edward L. Kain developed this handout for the 2018 Chairs Preconference to help chairs navigate the unique challenges and opportunities of leading a small department.

What is Your Responsibility as a Bystander to a Colleague Having Problems? (2018) Advice from the Chronicle of Higher Education on how to intervene when you observe a colleague's problematic behavior. 

Searching for Excellence & Diversity: A Guide for Search Committees (2012) Guidelines from the Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institutute (WISELI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, covering all stages of the hiring process.

Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Review

Best Practices for Virtual Program Review- guidance on how to set up a virtual program review, from ASA's Program Reviewers and Consultants (PRC)

Settler Colonialism and Confronting the Canon- lists of resources gathered during our recent webinars on the topic of promoting inclusion in your department's curriculum, including recordings of the webinars.

The Sociology Major in the Changing Landscape of Higher Education: Curriculum, Careers, and Online Learning (2017)  ASA’s most recent recommendations for sociology at the BA level. Bound copies are available for purchase in the ASA Store.

Handout - Mapping The Sociology Major in the Changing Landscape of Higher Education to program characteristics, course offerings and student learning outcomes.

Curriculum Mapping Toolkit for Sociology- An NSF-funded project designed to help departments assess and plan curriculum.

Creating an Effective Assessment Plan for the Sociology Major (2005)
Concise, clear advice on assessment, plus a large number of examples of assessment plans from sociology programs around the country. Also available as a booklet.

Sociology Assessment Resources
Sociology program assessments from institutions across the country.

Preparing for Program Review: Making the Process More Manageable and Useful
Presentation by ASA Program Reviewers and Consultants Mary Scheuer Senter and Lissa Yogan from spring 2018. Includes step-by-step guidance and links to resources.

Preparing for Program Review
Article by sociologist and ASA program reviewer and consultant Susan J. Ferguson in The Department Chair, fall 2013.

Effective Program Review: The Lessons I Have Learned
Article by sociologist and ASA program reviewer and consultant Theodore C. Wagenaar in Footnotes March/April 2015.

Making the Most of Program Review
A three-part series by Karlyn Crowley on Inside Higher Ed.

Best Practices in Academic Program Review
A report from Hanover Research, including case studies of approaches to the review process.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
An information-rich resource for planning and implementing campus assessment processes and activities.

Thinking about the Master's Degree in Sociology (2009)
A booklet from the ASA Task Force on the Master's Degree that is useful to sociology departments starting or reviewing an applied, professional, or other terminal master's program.

Sociology and General Education (2007)
A series of 6 recommendations on various ways sociology can continue to impact general education learning requirements, as well as how to utilize general education learning requirements to further develop majors.

ACRL Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology Students
Clear goals and measurable outcomes for promoting information literacy through curriculum.

Multidisciplinary Departments

Chairing the Multidisciplinary Department (2018, PDF)
Edward L. Kain developed this handout for the 2018 Chairs Preconference to share resources and strategies for chairing a multidisciplinary department.

Report of the ASA Task Force on Sociology and Criminology Programs (2010)
Discusses various structural arrangements between sociology, criminology and criminal justice in academia, examines potential benefits and challenges of arrangement types, includes recommendations to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of these arrangements.

Models and Best Practices for Joint Sociology-Anthropology Departments (2006)
Explores the range of organizational structures in these joint departments, challenges and opportunities, and suggestions for management.


ASA Statement on Student Evaluations of Teaching (2019)
Council-approved statement endorsed by 17 other scholarly societies that offers alternatives to traditional student evaluations of teaching, which have been demonstrated to be weakely related to teaching effectiveness and to be biased again women and people of color. The statement identifies ways to use student feedback appropriately as one part of holistic assessment of teaching effectiveness.

What Counts? Evaluating Public Communication in Tenure and Promotion (2016)
Guidance for evaluating sociologists' contributions to social media and public sociology in merit, promotion, and tenure.

Motivations to be Chair of a Graduate Department of Sociology (2011)
This essay outlines the important role of Department Chair.

Hiring Department Faculty (2006)
Straight forward advice on managing a complicated task.


Supporting Students

Sociology Club Guide: Ideas for Generating Student Involvement in Departments of Sociology (2010)
Designed to help departments strengthen the professional socialization of their students, starting with student handbooks, clubs, and special activities. 

Single Mothers in Community Colleges tookit. This website provides tools -- relevant for all types of institutions -- for supporing pregnant and parenting students.

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) is the International Sociology Honor Society. Membership is open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members from active chapters who meet AKD’s minimum standards. 


Alpha Delta is the sociology honor society for two-year colleges, founded in 2016 at South Texas College. Want to start a chapter at your college? Click here to find out more.


Supporting Success for Students with Disabilities. Two new resources to help institutions create an inclusive culture, one addressed to faculty and one to higher education leaders. They were developed by American Association of University Administrators, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and American Council on Education.


Department Funding Opportunities

Sorokin Lecture Grants
Apply for funds to bring an ASA Award Winner to your campus for a special lecture.

Howery Teaching Enhancement Fund Grants
Departments as well as individuals can apply for funding to support projects that advance the scholarship of teaching and learning in sociology.


Library Assessment Tools

Level 1 ACRL Assessment Tools for Sociology Collections and Services in Academic Libraries (2010)
For institutions that offer only courses in sociology and not a minor or major.

Level 2 ACRL Assessment Tools for Sociology Collections and Services in Academic Libraries (2010)
For institutions that offer an undergraduate minor or major in sociology.

Level 3 ACRL Assessment Tools for Sociology Collections and Services in Academic Libraries (2010)
For Institutions that offer graduate level (MA or PhD) instruction in sociology.

Level 4 ACRL Assessment Tools for Sociology Collections and Services in Academic Libraries (2010)
For Institutions where the library defines itself as maintaining a comprehensive collection in sociology.


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