Social Inquiry Department

UW-Superior’s Department of Social Inquiry includes academic programs in Anthropology, History/Social Studies Education, Gender Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Gender Studies and Public Leadership and Changemaking. These programs form the basis of a sound university education, prepare students for careers, and help students better understand themselves, their society and their world.

Faculty are well connected and regularly bring in guest lecturers, alumni and community leaders to share real-world experiences and diverse perspectives. Instructors champion their students’ success and offer opportunities often only found at larger universities.

Public Leadership and Changemaking

Unique to the region, the Public Leadership and Changemaking (PLC) Program is the Social Inquiry Department’s newest addition. PLC is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to engage diverse constituencies to develop solutions to current and anticipated complex issues within local, regional, national, and global communities. Graduates of the program are highly sought by nonprofits, planning agencies, civic and public agencies, tribal government entities and many more.

The Social Inquiry Department’s history and philosophy programs have absolutely changed my life! I’ve been given so many wonderful and unique opportunities to grow my academic and professional skills. Through that and the encouragement of everyone in the department, I’ve gained so much more confidence in myself, in and out of the classroom.

Lauren Steltz,
History, Philosophy

If I could define Public Leadership and [Changemaking] in a few words, I would say “life-changing” and “eye-opening.” This major is more than a typical bachelor’s degree. It is a compilation of the social sciences that care for human beings, their rights, and the development of society, while taking into account all races, minorities, religions, and backgrounds. If you want to make a positive change in society, this is the major for you!

Daniela Castiblanco Diaz,
Public Leadership and Changemaking

Being a student within the Social Inquiry Department has been an amazing experience. The passion from all the professors and the quality of classes I’m taking is extremely inspiring. I’m so grateful to be in the Public Leadership & [Changemaking] program with such great professors!

Sophia Schwartz,
Public Leadership and Changemaking

The Social Inquiry Department helped me find a voice I didn’t know I had prior to becoming a student at UWS. The professors and their coursework have taught me how to make sound cases, in both written and verbal formats. The faculty in this department have helped me to feel prepared to become a teacher of social studies at the secondary level.

Dillion Krisik,
History/Social Studies Education
Public Leadership and [Changemaking] is a very nice major which could influence the whole entire world and which could make a huge impact on people’s life.
Kidest Mitiku,
Public Leadership and Changemaking

As a Public Leadership and [Changemaking] major at UWS, I have moved from being a lost non-traditional student trying to find their place in the world to someone with a focus on how they can be of service to it. I’ve gained a partner, lifelong friendships and a path forward in life.

John Cano,
Public Leadership and Changemaking

Involvement Opportunities

Social Inquiry programs challenge and inspire students to explore new perspectives, experiences and opportunities through research, discussion, Academic Service-Learning, experiential learning activities and internships. Examples include an interactive refugee exhibit in which students teach community and university members. Students also have opportunities to be involved in student clubs, voter engagement initiatives, the Summer Undergraduate Research Program and many other educational enrichment activities.


The Social Inquiry Department is located in Swenson Hall, which is one of the newest and most updated buildings on campus. Classrooms and labs feature the latest technology. The building also includes study spaces with beautiful views of campus, a computer lab, and offices for Student Support Services that provide a wide array of resources and support.

Any Questions

Meet the Department

Beth Hebert
Administrative Assistant III
Joel Sipress
Mollie Greenberg
Teaching Assistant Professor
Deborah Augsburger
Daniela Mansbach
Christina Matzen
Teaching Assistant Professor – History
Cheong Soon Gan
Associate Professor
Erik Riker-Coleman
Senior Lecturer
Khalil (Haji) Dokhanchi
Professor & Dept. Chair
Alisa Von Hagel
John Green
Senior Lecturer