Dear Alumni and Friends,
As I reflect on the 2019/2020 academic year, I can think mostly of one word, resilience. The year began, as most others, with big plans. At our faculty retreat in September 2019, we were enthusiastically preparing to carry several initiatives to help us better serve our students and our university mission. When the pandemic hit in the last week of the Winter quarter, we thought the disruption would be minor, I guess that Yogi Berra’s famous dictum “it is hard to make predictions especially about the future” is right after all.
Still, the pandemic also presented us with a unique opportunity to show our commitment and devotion to our sociological profession and students and our faculty capitalized on this opportunity gallantly. First, we embraced the transition to online teaching and mentoring without compromising the quality of our endeavor as measured by student feedback. Although the university commencement ceremonies were cancelled, we conducted a virtual celebration of sorts with our students and their families. The department also awarded our traditional senior merit awards and published our Silicon Valley Sociological Review journal with four insightful essays by our students, you may read an electronic version of the journal on our website. We continued to function virtually pretty much as if we were in residence at our campus. To our satisfaction, students continued to flock into our major, a sign that they appreciate our efforts.
Perhaps the biggest announcement of the year so far was the retirement of Susan Babbel. Many of you remember Susan's affable personality and effective problem-solving management of our everyday affairs. Susan dedicated more than 20 years to service the Santa Clara community, many of those years directly involved with our program. When I spoke with her the other day, she reported that she is very happy taking care of her family and pursuing her second career as an accomplished painter.
I hope that when I have the opportunity to write again in the Spring, I am able to communicate many of the new initiatives we are currently working during this academic year. For sure, the pandemic is not going to detour our resolve to continue supporting our students. Very soon you will hear more about us through our social media which one of our seniors has agreed to manage for us. I like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues in the department for their unwavering commitment to our work together. I also take this opportunity to wish you all a very peaceful and joyful holiday season and end of the year. May you stay safe knowing that sociology is in good hands at Santa Clara and you can continue to find here your home away from home
Chair, Department of Sociology