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Judson Finley and the Department of Sociology & Anthropology

New department takes statewide aim

By: Kelsie Holman, CHaSS Communications Journalist

As part of the major reorganization of Utah State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology is being split into two separate departments with Judson Finley taking the place of department head for the new Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Finley has been at USU since 2012 and specializes in the cultural and environmental history of Utah and the surrounding states. Finley teaches classes in climate change and the archeology of western North America.

As the department grows, Finley wants to focus on expanding the statewide programs for both anthropology and sociology. For the anthropology program specifically, Finley hopes to increase opportunities for students in applied anthropology and expand the program to include an online major. Both anthropology and sociology have limited faculty outside of the Logan campus, so growing the presence of both programs is a priority.

Separating into their own department also allows for more collaboration between these programs and the criminal justice program, which already has a prominent statewide presence. All three programs would like to expand their footprint to reach more students in rural statewide communities.

“Having a streamlined sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice department gives faculty and students the opportunity to focus on our common interests and helps the individual faculty focus on their research and teaching goals,” said Finley.

Students will be able to have more individual focus as the new department grows and as a whole has a goal of expanding internship opportunities for students across the state. With so many college programs experiencing rapid growth, being a separate department provides students with more opportunities and a better chance for the programs to expand even further.


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