College of Arts & Sciences
- Social Sciences Division
- Kapelski Learning Center, Room 226
- tel: 610-499-4365
- fax: 610-499-4603
- Chair, Department of Sociology
- Kapelski Learning Center, Room 239B
- tel: 610-499-4640
Experiential Learning, Sociology
Chris Rains '12
"My internship experience as a counselor at George W. Hill Correctional Facility provided an understanding of the kind of work environment and the diversity of people I would be working with. The in-depth exposure...has proven valuable."
— Chris Rains Correctional Officer
Howard R. Young Correctional Facility
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Those words, by Benjamin Franklin, inform Widener sociology’s approach to learning. All of our concentrations provide students with experiential learning opportunities, where students can apply the sociology they are learning in the classroom to experiences in the world around them.
Over the course of their senior year, students craft an original research project in an area of interest. With the guidance of a faculty member, students carry out their research and then present their findings to the Widener community. Along the way, they develop important skills, including research design, teamwork, project management, data analysis, and oral presentation skills.
Almost all Widener sociology students complete a six-credit internship during their senior year. Faculty work with students to find internships in a field in which the students think they might ultimately like to work. Students have completed internships at the following organizations:
- Delaware County Probations Office
- Chester Police
- St. Joseph’s University Office of Student Activities
- Service Employees International Union
- Philadelphia Public Schools
- Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
- Philadelphia Department of Public Health
- City of Philadelphia RISE
Internships are valuable not just for the learning they impart, but for the networking and career opportunities they offer.
Widener Sociology Department regularly offers students the opportunity to take service-learning courses. These courses provide an opportunity to explore a particular area of sociology while also working on a project in the community. For example, in our Poverty and Society class, students engage the latest research on poverty in America, while also working with low-income children in an afterschool program in Chester. The material learned in the classroom comes alive as students work in the community, and their experience in the community helps deepen their understanding of the course content.
Beyond helping students learn course content, service-learning courses help prepare students for their post-collegiate lives as leaders in their workplace and communities.
Students are encouraged to develop the skills and knowledge they will need to be engaged citizens. Through their coursework, clubs, and internships, Widener students often choose to make a difference in their community, whether it’s by tutoring children in Chester or supporting low-wage workers in their efforts to improve their standard of living.
Recently, students in a civic engagement and social activism course participated in a protest with airport workers over poor wages and working conditions after learning of the workers’ plight. After marching with workers, sociology major Ashleigh Bothwell commented, “I want to push myself to become a justice-oriented citizen who calls attention to matters of injustice and works to right them.” Experiences such as this help sociology majors verify their course of study and set career goals.