DepartMental:Anthropology and Sociology: The People Person’s Majors

If you think that you are a people person then wait until you get a load of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology.

In this department, people are the key and anything about human behavior is fair game. This department has two degree programs and a host of minors to offer the university community.

Anthropology focuses on observing human behavior, both present and past, while sociology focuses on different aspects of social behavior.

The Anthropology degree is focused in three primary areas; sociocultural anthropology, which examines the differences and similarities among cultures, archaeology, which interprets activities and changes from times in the past, and physical anthropology, which examines the evolutionary development from both recent and remote ancestors.

Also available in this area is a minor in Cherokee studies and field courses that are designed to give students firsthand experiences on how to extract and identify artifacts in this area.

According to Dr. Anne Rogers, head of the department, every summer the department takes students to a dig site in Macon County located upstream from the Nantahala River. The students receive six credit hours. This year the course will be offered in a session running from May 14 to June 8. This course is open to all students regardless of their major.

On a more interesting note, in speaking with Dr. Rogers I learned that this university is build on an archeological site. There was once a mound where Killian now stands that was the center of town and McKee is located on part of the village. It’s amazing how many things go untold about the history of this area.

The other half of this department is the Sociology program. According to Dr. Tony Hickey, Professor of Sociology, this program was build around the premise of inequality (inequality of race, gender, and poverty).

Hickey said of the program, “It’s a wide open field. Students can do what they want; that’s the beauty of the degree.”

Students might be interested in this area of study because it focuses on understanding the world around them and how they interact with the world. This program also addresses the issues associated with big business–issues like working with groups and how groups get along.

Hickey states that this program does not offer any specific job skills. This program does offer skills like critical thinking, researching skills, sensitivity to diversity and other skills that can be marketed when searching for employment.

In addition to the two majors, this department offers many different minors. Along with Cherokee studies, there is a minor in race, ethnic, and gender relations, social change and an interdisciplinary women’s study program.

If you have any questions about the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, you can contact them via phone at 227-7268 or stop by their office on the first floor of the McKee building in room 190. You can also email Dr. Rogers at

If you would like to see your department in this column, please contact the Western Carolinian either at our office at 227-7267 or via our webpage at