Sociologists are students of human interactions within social groups and institutions. The Department of Sociology's faculty share a commitment to excellence in teaching. Their diverse areas of specialization include social change and social movements, deviance, sex and gender, social stratification, medical sociology, social psychology, and research methods. Faculty are actively involved in research, and the department encourages students to gain research experience, either by doing their own projects or by assisting with faculty research. Students can work at the Social Research Laboratory, which conducts applied research on topics of local and regional concern. Recent projects examined health hazards near toxic waste dumps, population patterns in new neighborhoods, and attitudes toward education. The opportunity to gain practical research experience working closely with faculty adds a special dimension to the Sociology program and assists our students as they enter professional lives after graduation.