Strategic Plan 2016-2021

Strategic Directions Introduction and Context

    FSU’s Sociology Department will be celebrating its centennial in 2018. The faculty and its new Departmental Chair agreed to actively engage in a strategic directions process with the goal of developing a consensus plan that reflects broad Faculty input and engagement, takes stock of trends and key issues and frames the key opportunities and challenges faced. It will do this through a process that starts with developing a shared vision of a successful future and provides consensus directions on a path forward for the Department over the coming five years.
    The FSU Sociology Department, founded in 1918 as part of the Florida College for Women, has had a history of distinguished scholarship and teaching. Raymond F. Bellamy served as the first chair, a position he held for the next 32 years. The PhD program was inaugurated in 1954, and by 1968, the department achieved 22 full-time faculty members. Currently the Department has 17 tenured/tenure-track faculty and 3 specialized faculty.
    The Department engaged the Consensus Center at Florida State University to design and facilitate a collaborative strategic directions project that featured the following:
    • Initial All-faculty Strategic Directions Survey #1
    • October 21, 2015 Strategic Directions Retreat #1 and Report
    • Establishment of Goal Area Faculty Drafting Teams (October 2015)
    • Goal Areas Teams Meet (November 2015- March 2016
    • Faculty Review Meetings (January-February 2016)
    • Compilation of draft strategic directions plan
    • All Faculty Survey #2 Strategic Directions Plan and Report March 2016
    • April 8, 2016 Strategic Directions Retreat #2 and Report
    • Implementation Action Plan- Draft Groups May-June 2016
    • Adoption of the Strategic Plan, July 2016
  • CONNECTION WITH THE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STRATEGIC PLANS Florida State University’s strategic plan features four goals:
    • Building excellence across the university’s academic programs
    • Enhancing the diversity and inclusiveness of FSU’s community
    • Embedding innovation and entrepreneurship deeply in FSU’s programs and culture, and
    • Building multifaceted student success at FSU and beyond.
  • The Strategic Directions identified by the faculty of the Department of Sociology align with all of these goals, and perhaps most directly support the university’s goals related to academic program excellence and multifaceted student success.
    • The university’s goal of increasing grant production is supported by action items B.1.1, B.3.1 and B.3.2 that encourage faculty to undertake high risk/high reward creative activities and increase faculty awareness of grant opportunities.
    • The goal of enhancing faculty visibility through media and journal citations is supported by action items B.2.2, D.2.1 and D.3.1 that highlight faculty accomplishments to the discipline, the university, and the public through an expanded role of the Department Visibility Committee.
    • The goal of increasing the number of prestigious faculty awards is supported by action items D.1.1 and D.1.2 that call for the creation of a Department Nominations Committee.
    • The strategic goals of expanding the number of incoming graduate students and ensuring their timely graduation are supported by action items C.1.3 through C.1.5 that address limitations of the applied master’s program and ensure consistent scheduling of required graduate courses. Action items C.1.2 and C.2.1 might further recruit research-oriented undergraduates to the Department’s graduate programs by ensuring that honors, capstone and UROP sections are offered consistently.
    • The goal of improving the employment outcomes of graduates of the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs is supported by action items that convey the skills and likely jobs that are associated with earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology (action items C.1.1 and C.3.3), increase the number of sociology undergraduate engaged in research (C.2.1), track the careers of recent graduates (C.3.1), and enhance the career advice given to graduate students (C.3.2).
    • The Department of Sociology is also strongly committed to the University’s goal of increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of the FSU’s community, and the actions steps related to faculty governance and recruitment (A.1.1 through A.3.3) and junior faculty mentoring (B.2.1) are consistent with these priorities.



The following vision was used to provide guidance in developing a strategic plan goal framework based on this vision.

2020 Vision of Success

“Collegial, Collaborative, Consequential, Innovative, Exemplary”

Over the past five years the FSU Sociology Department, with contributions from the affiliated independent research centers, has enhanced its standing as one of the top graduate and undergraduate teaching and research programs in the nation. It has recruited, graduated and placed some of the nation’s top sociologists in the profession while its faculty has been recognized for its innovative high quality teaching and important, consequential and award winning scholarship and publications. This success is characterized by:

  • Increasing visibility of the Department’s strengths, collegiality and enhanced national standing;
  • Fostering and valuing quality and consequential scholarship;
  • Teaching excellence that promotes student achievement and success; and
  • Shared Departmental leadership, inclusive participation and transparency.


The mission of the Department of Sociology is to produce high quality research and scholarship, achieve excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching that supports student success and offer service to the discipline and community.

Goals, Objectives, and Actions

    • GOAL STATEMENT: The Department relies on faculty input, participation and shared leadership to achieve consensus on direction and decision-making and leadership succession.
    • OBJECTIVE A.1: Enhance faculty inclusion and awareness with respect to governance.
      • Action A.1.1: Make departmental committee meetings, with the exceptions of the Personnel Committee and Promotion and Tenure Committee, open to all faculty members.
      • Action A.1.2: Maintain a calendar of department committee meetings and announce upcoming meetings and other news once a week.
      • Action A.1.3: Hold at least two general faculty meetings per semester.
    • OBJECTIVE A.2: Increase faculty involvement in hiring decisions.
      • Action A.2.1: Announce upcoming recruitment meetings to increase attendance and participation in faculty recruitment.
      • Action A.2.2: Discuss hiring priorities for the upcoming year and situate these within a broader department personnel development plan.
      • Action A.2.3: Allow all tenured and tenure-track faculty members to participate in the selection of candidates to be interviewed as well as the final hiring decision.
    • OBJECTIVE A.3: Promote collegiality by creating opportunities for faculty to come together face-to-face to foster intellectual vibrancy, to facilitate potential collaborations, and to mobilize a sense of shared responsibility for departmental welfare.
      • Action A.3.1: Host catered lunch meetings periodically to informally discuss department matters.
      • Action A.3.2: Coordinate the scheduling of speakers, brown bags, and practice talks (job talks, conference presentations) across the department, the Center for Demography and Population Health, the Pepper Institute, and other affiliated programs; post these events on the department calendar and in weekly emails.
      • Action A.3.3: Organize an after-work happy hour each semester for faculty to socialize.
    • GOAL STATEMENT: The FSU Department of Sociology fosters and enhances quality scholarship bolstering our national university and college standing.
    • OBJECTIVE B.1: Encourage high risk/high reward research activities.
      • Action B.1.1: Revise the annual evaluation materials and assessment guidelines to better report and recognize high risk/high reward activities.
      • Action B.1.2: Assess whether the department should change from a two-year to a three-year window for annual evaluations.
    • OBJECTIVE B.2: Promote the climate for intellectual exchange and ways to engage in collaboration.
      • Action B.2.1: Revise mentoring program to include all faculty below the rank of full professor and obtain two mentors, changing every year.
      • Action B.2.2: Include a faculty spotlight and/or research activities in select newsletters.
      • Action B.2.3: Organize an after-work happy hour each semester for faculty to socialize. (Same as Action A.3.3)
    • OBJECTIVE B.3: Collect and distribute information about research opportunities.
      • Action B.3.1: Announce relevant campus events related to proposal development and grant activities and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.
      • Action B.3.2: Create or update PIVOT profiles to receive grant opportunity notifications.
    • GOAL STATEMENT: The FSU Department of Sociology provides an integrative, effective environment for student achievement and career placement with a faculty who excel as instructors and serve as exemplary mentors.
    • OBJECTIVE C.1: Regularly assess the graduate and undergraduate curricula to ensure that courses continue to meet professional norms and student needs.
      • Action C.1.1. Identify and communicate the analytic skills that our sociology majors gain by taking particular courses and completing the undergraduate major.
      • Action C.1.2. Develop a template of typical or necessary course offerings for the fall, spring, and summer semesters that informs faculty teaching requests and course scheduling.
      • Action C.1.3. Plan out graduate course offerings for upcoming semesters such that required theory and methods courses are staffed.
      • Action C.1.4. Identify the core courses in our graduate curriculum and ensure that they are being taught with sufficient regularity.
      • Action C.1.5. Evaluate the role and necessity of the Master’s in Applied Social Research (MASR) program.
    • OBJECTIVE C.2: Provide undergraduate students opportunities for research and professional development.
      • Action C.2.1. Direct students and faculty to information about undergraduate research and internship opportunities on campus (i.e. the UROP program, Social Science Scholars program, Honors thesis, internships, etc.).
    • OBJECTIVE C.3: Build awareness among undergraduate and graduate students of career opportunities for Sociologists and provide career-specific mentoring.
      • Action C.3.1. Develop a spreadsheet with contact information and basic job descriptions of recently graduated Ph.D. and/or Master’s students.
      • Action C.3.2. Add to the yearly evaluation form some explicit direction for all mentors to speak with their Ph.D. students about their current career goals and whether or not they are on track to be competitive for the kinds of jobs they desire. (This discussion should be more in-depth at the 3rd year and beyond.)
      • Action C.3.3. Compile information about the kinds of careers for which sociology majors are well suited.
    • OBJECTIVE C.4: Enhance the undergraduate experience by providing opportunities for undergraduates to interact socially with each other and with graduate students and faculty and staff.
      • Action C.4.1. Recruit undergraduate majors by holding a fall semester event to showcase careers of alumni and/or research conducted by current undergraduate students.
      • Action C.4.2. Establish a spring semester social event (e.g., ice cream social) to recognize accomplishments by undergraduate students.
    • GOAL STATEMENT: To increase awareness of its strengths in research and teaching, the Department of Sociology engages in a collective effort to enhance the visibility of its faculty and students.
    • OBJECTIVE D.1: Increase the number of nominations for faculty, student, and staff awards.
      • Action D.1.1. Compile a list of awards on campus and through professional associations, with the assistance of department staff.
      • Action D.1.2. Nominate faculty, students, and staff for every available FSU award and awards available through professional associations.
    • OBJECTIVE D.2: Increase the visibility of FSU faculty and students on campus.
      • Action D.2.1. Regularly share information regarding faculty/student (as applicable) presentations, publications, and media attention with COSSPP Dean, COSSPP Facebook Page and Twitter, and STATE.
    • OBJECTIVE D.3: Increase the visibility of FSU faculty and students in the profession, and beyond, as applicable.
      • Action D.3.1. Regularly share information regarding faculty/student (as applicable) presentations, publications, and media attention with professional associations.