School of Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Humanities and Social Sciences
John S. McCormick, Dean

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is one of the largest and most diverse schools at Salt Lake Community College. It includes the following fourteen disciplines: Rhetoric and Composition; Literature; Humanities; Philosophy; Language; American Sign Language/Interpreting (ASL/I); History; Anthropology; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; Social Work; Family and Human Studies; and Education. These disciplines are organized into five departments, each with its own Associate Dean. Dr. Paul Allen is the A.D. for Humanities and Language and Culture and ASL/I. Under it is the Center for Languages.  It seeks to help students develop their communication skills in various languages and develop knowledge of other cultures. Marianne McKnight is the A.D. for History, Political Science, and Anthropology. The A.D. for Psychology and Sociology is Spencer Blake, while the A.D. for Family and Human Studies, Education, and Social Work is Dale Smith. Under his supervision also is the Eccles Early Childhood Development Lab School. Stephen Ruffus is the A.D. for the English Department. Under the English Department is the Student Writing Center – its director is Clint Gardner -- which provides in-person and online writing advising for all SLCC students enrolled in any class, and the Publication Center, a multi-function space that allows faculty to incorporate publication activities into their classes and enhance student learning about writing, visual rhetoric, publication, and circulation of print and digital documents of all kinds Under the English Department is the Academic Literacy Center, which offers one-on-one tutoring in such areas as reading skills, English grammar, and writing. The English Department also sponsors Folio, a student literary magazine. An important part of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is the Community Writing Center. It is deeply involved in both the college and the larger community, seeking to support and educate community members of all abilities and backgrounds who want to use writing for practical needs, civic engagement, and personal expression. Its director is Andrea Malouf.

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences offers classes at most SLCC campuses, and in a variety of formats, including face to face, fully online, and hybrid.  We offer innovative “learning communities.”  Many of our classes have a “service learning” component.  We work extensively with community partners.   For example, the Community Writing Center has more than fifty; the Social Work Program places students in internships in over sixty community agencies; the history department offers internships at the Utah State Archives; the ASL/I programs offers students internships with a variety of groups, as does the Political Science program.  The Humanities and Language and Culture and ASL/I Department works closely with Asian and Latin American Studies programs and Language Departments at institutions throughout the state.  We also recognize that learning takes place in a variety of settings, not just within a classroom.  Thus, each year we hold a Student Philosophical Conference; a Student Conference on Writing and Social Justice; a Symposium on Religion and Culture; and a Social Science Conference, and we regularly sponsor lectures, discussions, and readings on a variety of subjects, from the Civil Rights Movement of the nineteen sixties to the current activities of the National Security Agency.     

Each year we undertake new initiatives.  One of the most important this coming year will be Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), which will emphasize the importance for students of writing as a part of the curriculum in all of their classes across the college.  Other initiatives for the year include an expanded food bank operation to serve SLCC students, sponsored by the student Social Work Club; acting as a sponsor of both the Utah state Historical Society’s annual Archaeology Day and the State History Fair; and expanding last year’s Race Card Project to continue to examine the realities of race and racism in the United States today.

Given all of this, our conception of the mission of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is large, and perhaps audacious.   We seek to serve the increasingly diverse group of students who come to SLCC, and we take the idea of “inclusion” seriously.  We seek to prepare all of our students for jobs and careers.  This is crucially important, but is only a part of what we do.  We seek to help students flourish not only in a material sense, but intellectually and as human beings.   We intend to prepare them to live and participate meaningfully in a pluralistic democratic society and in a rapidly changing global society.  Our goal is that they understand the values necessary for the health of democracy, for the creation of a decent world, and for a robust global citizenship.  We seek to produce world citizens who understand global issues, have the competence and the motivation to seek to do something about them, and can engage in meaningful dialogue across cultural boundaries.  In support of this we try to create a rich academic environment and to cultivate in our students an appreciation for the life of the mind.  We seek an open environment where students see themselves as active learners who can take intellectual risks; where their curiosity can bloom and grow; and where they accept responsibility for their own learning, discover and pursue their passions, and make their own knowledge.  Central to this enterprise is critical thinking, and we intend that it inform the entire spirit of our school’s pedagogy.  Fundamentally, then, we intend that education within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, as Angela Davis says, be a continuing effort to examine our lives, our relations, our communities, and our futures, that it be an education that will reveal hidden ways of thinking and suggest alternative frameworks and better ways of working and living in a complex and ever-changing world.

A large part of the School’s mission is transfer education -- preparing students to transfer to, and succeed at, four year colleges and universities, and all of our departments have a close working relationship with four year institutions within the state.  For example, our Education Department has worked with the University of Utah’s Education Department to develop a curriculum and course of study that allows students who complete two years of study at SLCC to transfer to the University of Utah and complete their bachelors degree in two years.  We also have a scholarship program with the University of Utah and local school districts that provides tuition waivers for students who plan to major in education and have a particular interest in multi-cultural education.  Likewise, our Social Work program works closely with the Social Work Department at the University of Utah so that when  our students who have earned degrees in social work apply for admission to the University of Utah’s social work program, the vast majority are accepted and graduate two years later.

Part of our School’s work is also career and technical education.  For example, our Education Department not only prepares students who seek to be elementary school teachers to transfer to four year institutions, it also prepares students for jobs in pre-school education, and it serves those already working in that field who seek to upgrade their skills.  Likewise the English Department offers a Writing Certificate of Completion for students seeking to prepare for jobs that require a certain level of writing ability and for those already working who seek to upgrade their skills, and the History, Political Science and Anthropology Department offers a Certificate of Completion in Cultural Resource Management.

An important reason the School of Humanities and Social Sciences serves students so well is because of the high quality of our faculty.   We have 90 full time faculty and 250 adjunct (part time) instructors.  They all have at least a master’s degree in their field, and many have a doctorate.   They are fine teachers, deeply knowledgeable in their fields, and productive scholars.  They regularly present papers at professional conferences, publish books, articles and other writing, and regularly win wards for their teaching, their curriculum development, and their professional accomplishments.   


Taylorsville Redwood Campus
Room:  AAB 179C
Phone: 801-957-4074
Email: John

Taylorsville Redwood Campus
Room:  AAB 179
Phone: 801-957-4137