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Department Highlight: Social Sciences and Education

By: Heaven Osborne

Social Sciences and Education are one of the many divisions of degrees that Volunteer State Community College offer on campus and online. The Social Sciences and Education division include several different majors. The division is also responsible for several events and programs that happen on and off campus and graduation rates that exceed the overall rate of Vol State graduations.

The majors offered under the Social Sciences and Education Division include Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, History, Human Services, International Affairs, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Sports, Health, and Physical Education, and a General SSE degree. In Fall of 2021, 12% of students at Vol State majored in Social Sciences or Education.

According to the Vol State webpage , “They (students) study how people behave individually and in groups; seek to understand the human mind; and work to help others in many different fields.” Students who earn an Associates degree in one of the Social Sciences or Education majors can go on to a four year university program in those areas.

The Associates programs in Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Elementary Education are all considered Tennessee Transfer Pathways (TTP) and among the top five highest enrolled pathways in the Social Sciences and Education at Vol State. The remaining two pathways are Secondary Education and Human Services. If a student enters an Associates program that is considered a TTP, they are guaranteed that every course taken in the program will be transferrable to a Bachelor’s program in the same field at a public Tennessee university.

“Students enrolled in the Social Sciences and Education division had a graduation rate of 25.6% in 2018 which exceeded the overall graduation rate of Vol State students at 23.4%,” said Dean of Academic Support, Rhonda Gregory.

“The highest graduation rates in Social Sciences and Education division belong to History, Political Science, Exercise Science, Criminal Justice, and the General SSE Associates of Science with rates well above 30%,” said Dr. Gregory.

The faculty and students of the SSE division are involved in several events at Vol State and participate in many activities outside of campus as well. Criminal Justice majors from Vol State went to State and National competitions with Skills USA in 2019, 2021, and 2022.  Skills USA has competitions in which students are presented with real-world scenarios, where they must apply their education and training received in college courses.

The SSE division partners with the English department and the Thigpen Library to participate in Read Across America to encourage childhood literacy.

Many Social Sciences faculty members will be teaching abroad in the summer of 2023 and lead virtual and campus International Education programs. Phi Theta Kappa, the Vol State student honors society, is also led by two Social Science faculty members and one Humanities faculty member. There will also be a stand-alone lecture series put on by SSE faculty members on November 17th, 2022, regarding globalization. The lecture will be a discussion about the impact on society of movement toward a global economy, said Dr. Gregory.

The Social Sciences and Education division at Vol State is a large division with many majors and much involvement with campus life. The Social Sciences are applicable in many different career options and an Associates degree in SSE is transferrable to several universities in Tennessee. Students can explore a multitude of fields through the Social Sciences and Education Division at Vol State and learn skills that will help them connect to people and navigate through society and the work force.  

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