Jr. Faculty Focus: Alicia Swords

Alicia Swords, assistant professor of sociology, just completed her first full year at Ithaca College after finishing her Ph.D. at Cornell. She was hired to begin the department’s public sociology concentration.

Could you describe what public sociology is?
It’s a new way of talking about something that has been going on since the beginning of sociology. It’s using sociology as a tool for social change. It combines developmental and critical analysis with the perspectives of people most affected by the issues.

What classes do you teach or will you be teaching?
I’ve taught Social Movements, Public Sociology, Global Sociology, and I’m currently developing Community Organizing and Social Change. This summer I [took] 12 Ithaca College students to the Dominican Republic to participate in the course developed by Héctor Vélez-Guadalupe called Culture and Society: An International Field Experience. It’s great to build on all the work he did.

Tell me a little bit about your experience at the College so far.
It’s been really rewarding to work with such a supportive community and with people who share my values about social change and about how sociology can provide an important perspective. Students get excited about really engaging in the world and crossing racial, class, and educational boundaries. It’s great to be at a college with people interested in encouraging students to think carefully and critically about making this a world we want to live in.