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By ALAINA BARTEL
Daily News Staff Writer
Associate Professor of Sociology William Urquhart II, Ph.D., was recently promoted from his assistant professor position at the University of Alaska Southeast, Ketchikan campus. The Daily News caught up with him recently for a question and answer session.
Q: How long have you been teaching at the university?
A: I taught my first class here in Fall of 2007. I came on full time as a term faculty in January of 2009. My first (course) here was Sociology 343, the sociology of deviant behavior, and through that first year and a half, as I was teaching as an adjunct, my courses really grew in popularity. There is a lot of growth and interest in social sciences, especially sociology, in the online environment. The bulk of the courses I teach, not all, the bulk are online classes.
Q: Can you tell me about your educational career?
A: I’m a graduate of Kayhi, I graduated in 1993 from Ketchikan High School. I was born and raised in Ketchikan.
Most university professors come from somewhere else, and so I feel really privileged to be able to come back home and have a tenured faculty position in my hometown; that’s pretty unusual. I went to Valley Park Elementary School here when it was in operation, and I went to Schoenbar Middle School, where my wife now is a science teacher.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Oregon State, and then for graduate school I finished my Master of Arts and my Ph.D.* in sociology from Tulane University in New Orleans.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching sociology?
A: There are ways to understand and predict how human societies grow and change, where our values come from, in ways that we don’t normally see because we’re so entrenched in it. It’s hard to take a step away and think, even individually, in what ways does my social position influence my behavior? I’m sure a lot of people have thought, what kind of person would I have been if I had grown up in a different location? What if there had been a different dominant religion? What if I had been born in a different racial or ethnic category? What if I had been born a different gender? What if I’d have been born in North Africa or Southeast Asia? How would I be different?
Even if you were born with the same personality traits, you could just think about differences. You can think about that in our current society and right here in Ketchikan.
Q: What kind of sociology classes do you teach?
A: I regularly teach the sociology of deviant behavior, this semester I’m teaching theory and research in criminology, an upper division sociology course. Next semester I’m teaching a special topic course on juvenile delinquency, and next semester I’ll also be teaching social problems.