Social sciences divided into three departments

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education’s Department of Social Sciences was officially divided into three separate departments, effective July 1. The new departments include the department of geography, the department of history and the department of social sciences.

“The former department was one of the largest on campus, containing seven different disciplines and 37 separate faculty and academic staff, in addition to two different program assistants,” said Dr. Elizabeth A. Throop, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at UW-Platteville. “It simply didn’t make sense to continue with such an unwieldy organization. When the faculty of the department decided to reorganize, I was happy to help them think it through. The new leadership has jumped in and, so far, it’s been a smooth transition, thanks to good will all around.”

Dr. Melissa Gormley, associate professor of history and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at UW-Platteville, is chair of the new department of history as well as interim chair of the department of geography.

Dr. John Rink, professor of political science at UW-Platteville, is chair of the new department of social sciences. Rink also serves as the advisor to the Pre-Law Club at UW-Platteville and mock trial and mediation teams.

The department of history offers broad training in the systematic study of history, a foundation discipline within the liberal arts. Its coursework enables students to understand the complexity of factors and forces that can cause historical change, analyze and evaluate historical narratives that explain change, complete research, assess arguments, and interpret economic, social, political, cultural and technological change in a variety of contexts.

The department of geography offers broad training in physical and human environments, the major world regions, nature and society interactions and geographic techniques. The coursework prepares students to use knowledge about global, physical and human patterns and process them to critically analyze and solve current geographical issues, including global warming, conservation, globalization, terrorism and technology advances.

The department of social sciences, a combined program in the liberal arts, offers courses of study that challenge students to develop an understanding of the dynamics of individual and social behavior from a number of perspectives. The department includes programs in economics, political science, and sociology and coursework in anthropology.

Contact: Becky Savoy, program assistant, department of social sciences and department of history, (608) 342-1787,

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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