Sociology Professor and Student Presented at Regional Meeting

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dr. Kristin Park, Westminster College associate professor of sociology, and Brett Glavey, a 2011 Westminster graduate in sociology, presented at the North Central Sociological Association meeting April 1 in Cleveland.

Park presented "Using Role Plays to Apply Social Theory, Assess Cultural Relativism and Demonstrate Higher-Order Thinking" in the session on "Great Ideas for Teaching Sociology."

She described the role play designs and shared assessment data for two exercises from two different classes.  In the role play for "Social Theory," students represented characters from 1980s Nicaragua under the socialist Sandinista government as a way to apply and critique Marxist theory.  In the role play for "Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective," students adopted different views on the practice of genital cutting as it is enacted in some African countries and evaluated the practice in terms of cultural relativism.

Park, who has been with Westminster since 1993, earned an undergraduate degree from Colgate University and master's certificate in Latin American Studies, master's, and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Glavey presented "Facebook Use and Social Capital" in a session on "Facebook and Social Networking."  (Social capital refers to the social networks people have that both improve their mental health and enhance their productivity because they are built on trust and reciprocity.)

Glavey described his use of an online survey to examine Facebook users' experiences of reciprocity, trust and bonding and bridging social capital, as elaborated by Robert Putnam in his groundbreaking book Bowling Alone

Glavey concluded that, contrary to critics' arguments, Facebook use maintained or increased social capital among those he studied.

Glavey is a son of Richard and Jeanne Glavey of Sharpsville and a graduate of Sharpsville High School.

Contact Park at (724) 946-7251 or email kpark@westminster.edu for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.


Dr. Kristin Park




Brett Glavey