About the Social Sciences at UO
Social sciences provide an analytical approach to society’s problems. As a result, faculty and students in the social sciences often focus on issues that are polemic — racism, international conflict and war, ethnic strife, poverty. The goal, however, is to take an objective, empirical approach to these issues that can generate genuine passion — not an easy task.
Social scientists strive to rise above the level of the heated dining-room table debate. Instead of saying, “it should” or “they ought” the social scientist asks why, what or how?
As evidence of the relevance of Social Sciences, there are 25% more students enrolled as Social Science majors today than 10 years ago.
Social Sciences includes fifteen departments and programs, with more than 100 faculty members, including seven who have been recognized with Fund for Faculty Excellence Awards over the past two years, three who have been recognized as Knight Professors, and one who has received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
W. Andrew Marcus, a geographer, was named Associate Dean of Social Sciences in 2011. His past research and teaching has focused on how humans and natural disturbance affect river systems and on ways to use aerial and satellite imagery to map river variables such as depth and sediment sizes. Much of this work and that of his students has been in mountain environments and in the Yellowstone ecosystem.. His interest in Yellowstone led to creation of the Atlas of Yellowstone (University of California Press, 2012).
Dr. Marcus is deeply committed to environmental education and educational access for all students; passions that have led to his involvement with nonprofit educational groups in addition to his work through the university. His ongoing, unpublished work focuses on the ethical ramifications of remote sensing of natural systems. Visit Dr. Marcus’s home page in the Geography Department to learn more about his research and teaching.