Title: Sociology InvestiGator
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094644/00003
 Material Information
Title: Sociology InvestiGator
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Department of Sociology, University of Florida
Publisher: Department of Sociology, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2005
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094644
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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FALL 2005

ehe Sociology


Teaching Students

to Have a Search

for Knowledge
by Anthony LaGreca, Professor of Sociology

7 "I want students to leave my course with a certain sense o
outrage about the level of biased, :.. ..- i based
frameworks that people use to claim something as factual
I want students to be appalled with the lack offactual
knowledge we have about social behavior."
-Professor Anthony LaGre

Teachings a pro-
rewarding vocation. I can remem-
ber the names and faces of my
favorite teachers going all the way
back to grade school. I remember
a particularly poignant moment
from Patricia Thompkins, my Latin
high school teacher, who taught
me a new way of learning. A per-
son trying to learn Latin could see
a horse go down the street, then
think, "The Latin for 'horse' is
'equus'." But it is much better if
people make the same observa-
tion of the animal coming down
the street and immediately think
"equus."-they are thinking in
their new language. Similarly, I
attempt to teach students a new
way of thinking: the Sociological
Perspective. The notion of the
"Sociological Perspective" is not a
mere academic term, but an
approach to critically understand

the social world through research.
The classroom is my frontline
venue for instilling a thirst for
objective knowledge about society.
I am always impressed with those
students who are willing to raise
their hand and ask questions or
comment in the classroom, espe-
cially in auditoriums filled with 150
to 300 people. Student questions
and comments can not only be
insightful, they can also be pre-
scient. One year, while discussing
"mores" (strictly enforced norms) I
asked students to give me an
example of a mores violation that
was not codified as a law. A stu-
dent raised his hand and said that
one would never curse out or
mock the Pope in a public forum.
It was not only a perfect example,
it was also the exact action that a
few months later brought down
the career of Sinead O'Connor
when she criticized the Pope and

ripped his pic
Saturday Nigh
the only foot
that has been
deleted from 1
and is now cii
from home VC
I am also
what comes o
mouth in a cl
late 1970's in
I stressed thai
change rapidly
outwardly pro
I said that the
and the Comn
in it could dis
rapidly and w
lence. Many s
were visibly u
what I said.
However, a lit
over ten years

In this issue

Teaching Students to Have a
Search for Knowledge

Each Academic Year
f Brings..Football,
Hurricanes, and the
Fall Reception

ca Our Graduate
ture on Program Moves
t Live. It is PAGE 3
ge of SNL
officially Reflections on
their archives Sociology
rculated only
:R recordings. Welcome to
amazed at New Faculty
ut of my own PAGE 6
assroom. In the
Alumni Updates
a class of 300,
t societies can
y in spite of In Appreciation
fessed values. PAGE 7
Soviet Union
Thank You,
nunism with- a
appear very PAGE 7
without vio-
tudents Update Form
pset by
Humor Corner
tie PAGE 8


Each New Academic Year Brings...

Football, Hurricanes, and the

A the beginning of each new academic year the
tSociology Department hosts the annual Fall
Reception. The highlight is always the awards given
to graduate students. This year's ceremony began
with Vandiver Graduate Teaching Award, which is
named after our retired and much esteemed col-
league, Joseph Vandiver. A member of our depart-
ment for many years, Van was present this fall to
give the award to this year's winner, Ramon
Hinojosa. Ramon has shown himself to be a consis-
tently creative teacher who motivates students to
perform at a high level. Professor Bill Marsiglio men-
tors Ramon and says that he "is an excellent
teacher who makes effective use of the Socratic
method in his engaging and rigorous courses.
Students speak highly of him. Ramon is also capa-
ble of making research contributions in the fields of
men and masculinities, families, and social psycholo-
Dana Berkowitz received the Jerome A. Connor
Dissertation Award for her research titled "Gay Men:
Negotiating Procreative, Father, and Family
Identities." Her work displays a clear theoretical
design that leads to precise and testable hypothe-
ses. Professor Bill Marsiglio serves as her disserta-
tion advisor. With the support of the Jerome A.
Connor Student Enrichment Endowment, the
Sociology Department is able to recognize excellence
in graduate student research. Mr. Connor graduated
from the University of Florida in 1931. He received
the first Masters Degree given by the Department of
Sociology with a thesis titled "Survey of Housing
Conditions for Students at the University of Florida."
One wonders what it was like then.

Above: Awardees Liberato, Slizyk, and Motter
Below: Berkowitz, Marsiglio, and Hinojosa

Fall Reception!

In addition, Alma Jeanne Slizyk
received the Gorman Award, named
after our good friend and retired col-
league, Benjamin Gorman, to recog-
nize sophisticated work by graduate
students using quantitative meth-
ods. Alma's paper is titled "Fractured
Diagnosis: The Social Determinants
of Osteoporosis." Ben and his wife
Joyce attended the reception and
presented the award to Alma.
The Strieb Award went to Dana
Fennell and Ana Liberato, for their
paper: "Learning to Live with
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder."
This award is named after Gordon
Streib, who was Graduate Research
Professor in the department for
many years. It goes to the outstand-
ing scholarly paper written by a
graduate student each year. Gordon
Streib and his wife Ruth were in
attendance, and presented the
award to Dana and Ana. As with
several other nominated papers, this
one is already under submission to
an academic journal. Professor
Barbara Zsembik supervises both
Fennel and Liberato.
Finally, the Department's newest
award is the Jack B. Humphrey
Leadership Prize. Mr. Humphrey
graduated from UF in 1949 and
established this prize through a
bequest in honor of his teachers,
Winston W. Ehrmann and John M.
Maclachlan. The award goes to an
undergraduate who displays both a
high level of academic achievement
and leadership in extra-curricular
activities. This is the second year
this award has been given, and it
went to Nicole Motter. Nicole is a
third year sociology major, with a
4.0 upper division grade point aver-
age and a 4.0 average in all her
sociology courses. Over the last few
years, she helped develop Gator
Humanics, a program that helps dis-
abled students. She also organized

Wish Upon a Star, a program that
helps underprivileged children have
their Christmas wishes granted. She
is currently "working overtime" on
Ballin' in the Swamp, a basketball
tourney that will involve at-risk
youth on teams coached by UF bas-
ketball players.
In addition to having their
names placed on plaques kept in
the department, all of these honors
come with cash awards. The hard-
working faculty committee in charge
of deciding on the awards this year
was composed of Professors
Constance Shehan, Regina Bures,
and Alin Ceobanu.
The Department also introduced
and welcomed its newest graduate
students. Twelve new students
entered the program from as far as
away as Taiwan and as near as,
well, Gainesville. Do you suppose
they will live better than students
did in 1931?
Dean Neil Sullivan spoke for a
few minutes, reminding us that
these awards represent homage to
instructors past, a nod to those
present, and a gift to the future.
They also reflect the Department's
commitment to teaching even as the
University seems poised to move to
the next level as a research institu-
tion. His remarks stimulated the
retired faculty present to reminisce
about the history of the Department.
In informal conversation, discus-
sion ranged from the fortunes of the
Gator football team (better this
year!), to faculty recruiting possibili-
ties for the coming year. We are
again slated to hire an environmen-
tal sociologist; the expansion of this
area of expertise will allow the
Department to play a significant role
in this emerging area. This year,
unlike last, no one talked about the
weather. We look to the future with
great optimism.

Our Graduate

Program Moves


Sthe course of a single day, our
I faculty perform diverse roles. They
teach freshmen courses as well as
advanced graduate seminars. The stu-
dents coming to their office hours may
range from an undergraduate seeking
advice on making the transition from
high school to college to a graduate
student wanting to discuss a draft of
her Ph.D. dissertation. Faculty are also
expected to maintain an active
research agenda and integrate their
research with their graduate teaching.
One important way to combine teach-
ing and research is through a funded
research program. Our faculty seek
funding for their research from govern-
ment agencies and private foundations,
and this funding normally includes
financial support for graduate student
research assistants who can then work
closely with their faculty mentors. In
recent years, Sociology faculty have
been increasingly successful in obtain-
ing highly competitive research grants
from the National Science Foundation,
the National Institutes of Health, and
other leading foundations. In the fiscal
year that just ended on June 30, our
faculty brought in $439,000 in external
research funds, a large increase from
$72,000 just five years ago. Though

we are still in the early part of the new
fiscal year, indications are that we will
exceed last year's total and set a new
record for the Department. The level of
funding in the Department is an indica-
tor of the quality of our faculty and is
a substantial contributor to the quality
of graduate education we are able to
A number of other developments
bode well for our graduate program.
Gainesville has many new residents at
the beginning of each academic year,
and Sociology contributed its share
this autumn. Twelve new graduate stu-
dents joined us. They're a very diverse
group, including two international stu-
dents (from Taiwan and the
Philippines). We also added one new
faculty member, Christine Overdevest.
Christine received her Ph.D. from the
University of Wisconsin in August and
specializes in the sociology of the
environment. This issue of the
Investigator includes a story introduc-
ing her.
We have also been authorized to
hire an additional faculty member in
environmental sociology, which will
bring our strength in this area to four
faculty next year. Loyal readers of the
Investigator will recall a number of pre-

vious stories on our plans to increase
our environmental offerings and make
it a new focus for graduate training.
Our new hire will bring us to that goal.
Issues of global warming and sustain-
able use of resources are likely to be
critical social problems over the entire
lifetime of our students, and we
should address such important issues
in both our undergraduate and gradu-
ate courses. Moreover, this priority
area opens up exciting research oppor-
tunities in collaboration with a number
of natural science departments. Most
of the environmental issues that are of
pressing concern are really issues of
human impact on the environment.
Sociology should be prominently repre-
sented in the mix of disciplines
researching and providing graduate
training on the topic, and we will are
quickly moving to a position of leader-
ship in this area.
As always, we value your support
and interest in the department. If you'll
write to us about the exciting develop-
ments in your lives, we'll share them
with your friends in a future issue of
the Investigator.
-John Henretta, Chair
Department of Sociology


(Teaching Students to Have a Search for Knowledge CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1)

later, the Soviet Union did dissolve and
abandon Communism in a very short
period of historic time and with a very
limited amount of physical violence and
Over time, I realized I had to
change part of my classroom approach.
A student asked me whether or not I
thought a certain television actor was
being a phony for having anti-drug pro-
motions on TV while using drugs in his
daily life. I had to admit to the class
that I had never heard of the actor or
the television show. It was 90210. I
could sense that I lost a certain amount
of rapport with some students in that
class who felt that sociologists should
be current on what is going on in their
society. Obviously, what was going on in
a television series may not be para-
mount to me, but it was to most of
those students who, at the time, saw
90210 as their favorite television show.
Since then, I have systematically, some-
times with a great deal of patience and
long-suffering, watched one taped
episode of a wide array of television
shows that young people are watching. I
am not trying to be of their generation
nor am I trying to be "one with the stu-
dents" in terms of their subculture.
Rather, I realize the importance the
media has in defining their lives and in
serving as a reference group for them. I
also will tape the six to eight hours of
music videos on MTV or VH1 during the
night and will incorporate some of the
usable lyrics of top songs into my lec-
tures. This not only gets students' atten-
tion, but it also helps them have a com-
mon framework of understanding what I
am expressing conceptually in class.
In the early 199os, I taught the first
course in the nation that was totally dig-
itized. I loved the use of the large
screen in an auditorium to project digi-

tized text, and video and audio win-
dows. These cannot be used as mere
'bells and whistles", but must be care-
fully integrated into a teaching
approach. Students responded with a
phenomenally positive reaction. Now, of
course, I can put video clips on my
course web site. I have discovered that
students will learn from these video
clips. When they show up in another
course one or two years later, they still
remember the videos they watched on
their home computer as well as the lec-
ture content that was associated with it
in class.
Mentoring is probably the most
rewarding process of teaching. It comes
in the form of a one to one relationship
with the student where a professor can
help guide a student's learning and
research. I have been honored to serve
as an advisor for many Honors Theses
as well as a mentor for an undergradu-
ate "University Scholar." In working with
these students of exceptional ability and
motivation, I saw undergraduates tackle
tasks in research situations that are well
above the level of a general undergradu-
ate curriculum. The most rewarding men-
toring that I have done is when stu-
dents with a low GPA and lack of moti-
vation come to my office and want to
know how to turn things around. There
are those students who I have been
able to direct towards a single topic of
interest that has clicked with them and
motivated their learning. I have been
able to help them raise their own level
of aspirations as to their abilities and
their place in society. They significantly
raised their GPA and some went on to a
graduate or professional school. These
students are very grateful for this men-
toring and many have maintained a con-
tinued contact with me over the years.
In fact, however, it is the professor who

is so very grateful to such students for
being the type and quality of people
who are willing to turn their life around.
A major disappointment came in
the form of the World Wide Web. I was
so excited about its development in the
early 199os as a powerful source for
researching journal articles and data.
However, over time, I have seen the
degeneration of the use of the World
Wide Web to "Ask Jeeves" and "Google"
searches that produce sites of phony
journals and data posted by religious or
political organizations. I now utilize my
course web site to help students to
research papers they are writing for the
course. I can provide them with links to
valid research journal and data.
However, I fear that too many people in
our society actually cannot distinguish
what is valid or not on the web, nor in
the mass media.
Therefore, it is imperative that stu-
dents leave a sociology course with the
desire for factual knowledge to under-
stand theirs and other societies. They
should leave a sociology course with a
strong foundation demanding that
objective knowledge based upon
research be utilized in understanding
behavior. Without such a demand, no
matter what we try to teach in a sociol-
ogy course, the decisions and actions in
societies will be bent by biased ideolo-
gies that produce pathological and
destructive consequences.
I conclude my thoughts on my role
as "teacher" as being summarized in the
idea that students should come out of a
sociology course realizing the dynamics
and influences behind the social con-
struction of reality. They should also be
unswerving in demanding that this
understanding be based on objective


on Sociology

by Henry Sniezek,

B.A., 1981, M.A., 1983

Henry Sniezek received a Bachelor' degree
(1981) and a Master's degree (1984) in
Sociology from the University of Florida.
He resides in Fort Lauderdale with wife
Christine and daughter Madelyn.

I remember my first job
interview to be an entry-
level urban planner. I was
facing a panel of three ques-
tioners. Some of the ques-
tions involved the technical
details and requirements of
site-planning and traffic
analyses. For those ques-
tions, I was the "fish out of
water." Professors Henretta,
LaGreca and Shehan did not
teach about set-back and
side-yard requirements. I had
no idea of the formulas used
to estimate the traffic expect-
ed from a lo,ooo square foot
office building. But other
questions concerned such
things as why a park might
be important to a neighbor-
hood, how traffic patterns
could affect quality of life,
and if there was a relation-
ship between a family budget
and the availability of mass
For the technical rules
and formulas, I didn't even
have the option of trying to
guess. So I answered truthful-

ly, and thus, quickly. But for
the "bigger picture" ques-
tions, I think I was able to
share a perspective that gave
my questioners comfort that
my sociological training had
prepared me to be able to
seek, identify, and explain the
multiple connections and
interactions which character-
ize social systems.
I didn't get that first
planning job I interviewed for,
but I guess I was memorable
enough to one of the ques-
tioners that I was recom-
mended for another opening
that occurred several months
later. And I truly believe that
one of the important reasons
I was remembered was
because while it was appar-
ent I needed some training to
learn the day-to-day rules
and requirements of urban
planning, I was able to show
that maybe I had an under-
standing and motivation of
what is required to positively
contribute to the urban plan-
ning profession.

My UF Sociology experi-
ence also certainly helped
give me the advanced level
"reading, writing and 'rithmat-
ic" skills so important for
almost any professional
career. For example, I hope
Professor Beeghley would be
proud of my ability to write
in a gender-neutral style. This
is a style he championed dur-
ing a time it wasn't necessari-
ly the expectation. But my
experience at UF also gave
me the knowledge and skills
to recognize that society, and
life is complex, and my train-
ing has given me some use-
ful insights and methods in
being able to separate and
prioritize the meaningful from
the relatively meaningless.
This knowledge and these
methods go beyond my pro-
fessional career.
My time as a UF
Sociology student involved so
much more than gaining work
skills. To anyone reading this,
they may either agree or
should be aware that it is

hard to reproduce the UF
Sociology environment of
enjoying learning for learn-
ing's sake, and being able to
share ideas and developing
relationships with such a vari-
ety of smart and committed
people. I know I developed
more as a person during my
days as a UF Sociology stu-
dent, than I did as a sociolo-
gist. I just wish I could have
taken even more advantage
of that time.
I've had some success in
my career as an urban plan-
ner. I am now the Executive
Director of the Broward
County Planning Council, a
planning agency that has a
meaningful country-wide role
in land use and transporta-
tion planning decisions. But I
also have many other roles,
such as a husband and a
dad, and my "training" in
sociology contributes signifi-
cantly to the quality and rich-
ness of those aspects of my
life as well. I carry my UF
Sociology badge proudly.


Welcome to New Faculty!
Christine Overdevest joined the faculty this fall as an Assistant Professor of Sociology.
Before coming to the University of Florida, Christine worked in the Outdoor Recreation and
Wilderness Assessment Unit of the United States Forest Service. She then returned to grad-
uate school, earning a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last spring. Her spe-
cialty is environmental and economic sociology, areas where her combination of practical
experience in the field along with academic training will serve her well. Although a young
scholar, she has co-authored one book, titled Footprints on the Land: Population Trends
and the Future of Natural Resources in the United States. She has also written nine articles
on topics related to the use of natural resources, especially forests and rivers. She teaches
environmental sociology and economic sociology. Christine says she likes playing ultimate
Frisbee and enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Florida. She commented to the
Investigator, "I am very excited to be at the University of Florida. It offers the opportunity
to combine my research and teaching interests in a way that few other institutions can."

Alumni Updates
Robert E. Burke, Ph.D., 1977
Bob has been appointed chair of the Department of Health
Services Management and Leadership in the School of Public
Health and Health Services at The George Washington
University in Washington, DC. A nationally known expert in
long-term care and research design, he is the director of the
Wertlieb Institute for Long-Term Care Management at GWU.
Although he and his wife Kate have lived in the Washington
area since 1977, they have kept their Florida ties.

Maria B. Gabay, B.A. 2000
Maria is the Coordinator for the Infant Auditory Screening
Program at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell
Medical Center, in New York City.

Jason Baird Jackson, B.A., 1990
Jason has just joined the faculty at Indiana University,
Bloomington, in the Department of Folklore and
Ethnomusicology. A paperback version of his book, Yuchi
Ceremonial Life, will be published by the University of
Nebraska Press this fall.

Allison D. Crew Lawrence, B.A., 2001
Allison is pursuing a Master's of Education degree in Marriage
and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling at the
University of Florida.

Debra Prescott, B.A., 1993, M.A., 1995
Debra is a Senior Analyst with the Government Accountability
Office, examining issues related to higher education. She
reports that "my most recent work has been focused on col-
lege textbook pricing, something all of you can relate to."

William Stechmiller, B.A., 1973
William is has been volunteering for the last several years at
the AI'Z Place, a Gainesville-based Alzheimer's day care pro-
gram. "I enjoy working with the elderly," he reports. "I've
made a new career out of this."

Please let us know what is going on in your life. You may
return the alumni update form (back cover) to the Department
of Sociology via post, or email Professor John Henretta at
jch@soc.ufl.edu. We want to hear from you!

In Appreciation

The Department of Sociology extends
warm thanks to the following friends and
alumni who graciously donated funds to
our educational program over the last year
or so. These funds are vital to our teaching
mission and we are most appreciative.

Jason Ackerman
Jacqueline Allen
Richard Ball
Claire Coignard
Dean Dabney
Kenneth Davidson, Sr.
Lisa and Stephen Enloe
Eleonore Hindery
Michael and Melody Hodge
Susan and Richard Hoerbelt
Scott Karafin
Jack King
Dorothy McCawley

William Mellan
Kathryn Murphy
Edwin Page
Michael and Elizabeth Radelet
Stephen Sapp
Constance Shehan
William Simmons
Henry Sniezek
Kathryn Ustler
John Wachtel
Charles Warner
Natalee Waters
Aaron and Adrienne Wolfson

In addition, several persons who made donations preferred to remain
anonymous. We thank you very much. You know who you are!

Thank You, Readers!
This is my last issue as editor of the Investigator. Over the last five years,
I have gotten to know many of our students, alumni, and friends. I would
like to thank all of you for helping to make this newsletter interesting and
for being willing to support the Sociology Department's teaching mission. I
would also like to thank my colleagues and some of you, who were so
often willing to write something. This task has been a real pleasure.
-Leonard Beeghley
Professor of Sociology


Keep your classmates up to date! Please use this form for address changes
and/or to tell us what you are up to. Alumni updates can be sent via post
to the address above or emailed to Professor Leonard Beeghley at



Date Graduated:

Present Activities:

Department of Sociology
3219 Turlington Hall
PO Box 117330
Gainesville FL 32611-7330

Non-Profit Org
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Gainesville FL

Address Service Requested


julor [ or ner

A graduate of Florida State University
was driving toward Orlando when
he was flagged down by a man whose
truck had broken down. The man
walked up to the car and asked, "Are
you going to Orlando?"
"Sure," the FSU graduate answered.
"Do you need a lift?"
"Not for me," the man replied. "I'll
be spending the next few hours fixing
my truck. My problem is that I've got
two chimpanzees in the back that have
to be taken to the Orlando Zoo. They're
a bit stressed already, and I don't want
to keep them on the road all day. Could
you possibly take them to the zoo for
me? I'll give you $200 for your trouble."
"I'd be happy to," said the FSU
graduate. So the two chimpanzees were

placed into the back seat of his car and
carefully strapped into their seat belts.
Off they went.
Five hours later, the truck driver
was driving through the heart of
Orlando when suddenly he was horri-
fied! There was the FSU graduate walk-
ing down the street holding hands with
the two chimps, much to the amuse-
ment of a big crowd. With a screech of
the brakes, he pulled off the road and
ran over to the FSU graduate.
"What are you doing here, he
demanded? "I gave you $200 to take
these chimpanzees to the zoo!"
"Yes, of course you did," replied
the FSU graduate, "but we had money
left over, so now we're going to Disney

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