NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Whether you are a deployed-military personnel or spouse, a non-traditional student, or just overwhelmed with life’s activities to complete that sociology degree that has eluded you for years, TSU has just the answer for you.
“Our program is now completely online,” said Dr. Oscar Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Urban Professions.
He said with all of the general education courses also offered online, busy students can now earn their bachelor’s degree in sociology without sitting in a classroom.
“All you need is access to a computer and the Internet; it is that simple,” Miller said.
With the uncertainty that comes with a military deployment – when families don’t know when or where their next assignment will be – or a nontraditional student who can’t find the time to finish their degree in a traditional setting, the online program offers just the right opportunity.
Shaconya Freeman, 38, of Springfield, Tennessee, agrees.
“This just works better for me,” said Freeman, a transfer student from Volunteer State Community College, where she earned her associate’s degree in sociology almost entirely online.
The mother of three, including an 11-year-old daughter, said between a demanding full-time job as an office manager in a doctor’s office, caring for her young child, a babysitter, homework and studying, there is very little time left to sit in a classroom.
“I tried taking some of my courses on the (Volunteer State) campus once and that was just too hectic for me,” Freeman said.
According to Miller, the demand for people with background in sociology is on the rise and projected to grow even higher. The overall goal of the TSU online program, he said, is to target military personnel and their spouses, as well as nontraditional students and “degree completers” like Freeman to provide them with the skills they need to be successful.
“Federal, state, and local government agencies, non-profit human and social services organizations and private sector companies are hiring sociology majors for their competencies in critical thinking, research and data analysis, group/team behavior, and cultural diversity,” Miller said.
Austin Wyatt, a May 2014 TSU graduate with a B.S. in sociology, said his degree, earned entirely online, has opened doors to him that would not have been possible otherwise.
“It has enabled me to move away from the manual laborer status into an area where I can now pursue my interest and help me to provide for my family in a more meaningful way,” said Wyatt, a married father of two, who will begin a master’s degree program in anthropology at the University of Memphis this fall.
Calling his TSU degree a launching pad for a successful future career, the Starkville, Mississippi native, who now calls Memphis, Tennessee home, said he made some bad choices earlier in life that got him “off course” and nearly caused him to lose his family.
“With a child and wife, and working menial jobs, it hit me that I needed to do something to be a better provider for my family,” Wyatt said. “I was fortunate to find out that I could keep my busy schedule of working and help with the home and take classes right at home.”
Wyatt’s goal, he said, is to be an inspiration to others who think there is no way out because of mistakes of the past, or just having too much to do to find the time to earn a degree.
“It’s either I was going to lose my family or make some quick decisions. I decided to enroll in the TSU sociology program, and that’s the best decision I ever made. I am glad I did,” Wyatt added.
“And these are just the kind of people the program is designed to help,” Miller said, describing Wyatt as a “TSU success story.”
He said sociology is helping the skilled workforce demand of the nation by supplying leaders, managers, workers, and entrepreneurs who use their expertise and competencies to help organizations and communities improve.
“Sociology skills help our majors successfully adapt within our ever changing organizations and the dynamic labor market,” Miller added.
The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the online degree in sociology in 2011 and completed final preparations to offer the degree in the fall 2012. The program, one of many degrees offered online at TSU, currently has 15 students, Miller said.
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.