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Florida Looks to Remove Sociology From Gen. Ed.

Florida Looks to Remove Sociology From Gen. Ed.

Inside Higher Ed

Johanna Alonso
November 17, 2023
The Florida Board of Governors voted on Nov. 9 to remove the Principles of Sociology from the list of core courses that the state’s public college students can take to fulfill their general education requirements. The news shocked sociology professors across the state, who say the ripple effects of such a decision could be disastrous.
Students often rely on the course to satisfy the social sciences general education requirement. Indeed, many sociology departments consider it their bread and butter; at some of Florida’s largest institutions, the course can easily draw more than 100 students per section. It’s also the class where many sociology students first learn about the discipline.
“A lot of students are not exposed to what sociology is in high school,” said Rachel Paul, a senior at the University of North Florida who is minoring in sociology. “I did not know what the word meant until college. I found out through that intro class,” which she took at a friend’s recommendation.
The change is still subject to a final vote in January; currently, the core course list is open to public comment. But many of the state’s sociology professors argue that upholding the vote will not only impact department enrollments, but also be a great disservice to students, who will lose out on the lessons an introductory sociology class can offer.
“It’s really important for students to understand that human behavior is not just a factor of individual level characteristics, right? That there are larger social structures at play,” said Alison Cares, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida who teaches an introductory sociology class.
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