Understanding Society


ast November Illinois Tech Magazine received an email from Roger L. Henry (M.S. [for Teachers] SOCT ‘70), Tallahassee, Florida, about a special graduate-level, professional program in which he was enrolled from 1969–1970. Henry was on the faculty of DeLaura Junior High School in Satellite Beach, Florida, and was looking for graduate school opportunities when he learned about the Academic Year Institute in Sociology at Illinois Institute of Technology.

The year-long, all-expenses-paid program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, trained teachers who taught social studies to children in grade 9–12 in the latest theory, principles, problems, and methodologies in the field of sociology, and how to bring fresh instruction into their classrooms. Henry recalls that the late Daisy M. Tagliacozzo, an Illinois Tech professor of sociology, was instrumental in bringing the program to the university. According to records in the University Archives and Special Collections at Paul V. Galvin Library, the Academic Year Institute in Sociology ran for three separate academic years from 1968–1971.

Henry, one of 20 teachers from the United States to be accepted at Illinois Tech for the 1969–1970 academic year, shares more of his memories and how the program impacted his career in pedagogy:

Understanding Society
Understanding Society
A human profile in red and black highlights this “Academic Year Institute in Sociology” brochure inviting applicants to participate in the September 9, 1968–June 6, 1969, program session.

Images: University Archives and Special Collections, Paul V. Galvin Library, IIT

Upon completion of the program and a return to DeLaura Junior High School, I infused my ninth-grade social studies with such elements of sociology as the importance of studying groups, recognizing the influence of groups on beliefs, and [learning about different] types of organizations. This teaching lasted only one school year before the school district moved me to an Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title III project to coordinate the development of learning materials about the environment

During the first three years of the project, the teachers developed eight separate resource units for the classroom. Representatives from the federal government tested each of the resource units under regular classroom conditions and concluded that the resource units had actually made a change in the students’ attitudes. The project was funded for three more years. The resource units were bought by school districts or individual teachers throughout the country.

I am convinced that the concepts of sociology presented to me at IIT were passed on from a single classroom to a nationwide audience. —Marcia Faye