By Thao Ta
After 12 years as one of UC Irvine's most popular non-regular classes, Sociology of Sexuality will be changing its course number from the oft-celebrated Sociology 69 to the more mundane Sociology 64 starting Spring quarter 2014.
Why the change? Did someone complain to administration? Nope, even better: Sociology of Sexuality is becoming a permanent class and needs a permanent course number.
Kassia Wosick created the course in the summer of 2002 when she was a graduate student in an attempt to help students' personal development and, ultimately, generate positive dialogue at home. Within a few years, the course, which has invited porn stars and sex shop employees to gives talks, attracted well over 400 students.
"This class generates dialogue. It generates conversation," said Wosick, who now works at New Mexico State University. "Students go home to their family. They say, 'You know what I learned in class today?' Or, 'I have to do this project. Will you help me on it?' And there is a dialogue created between a mother and a daughter that probably there never was."
At the time the course was created, classes on age, gender, race, and ethnicity were assigned a course number in the 60s, according to Professor David Frank, the chair of UC Irvine's sociology department. Courses that ended with the number 9 are designated "Special Topics," generally offered based on faculty expertise on a particular topic.
"When you sit down and you have to make so many numbers and propose a course, we have committees that approve new courses and so we have particular numbers that are 'Special Topic' numbers and that number was on the books before the class started," Wosick said. "So when we were figuring out where to put the class, 'Special Topics' was the place to put it."
"I think it was really fun that that was the coincidence and I think that added to the class for the first couple of years because it gave us something humorous [and] fun about it that's part of being sex positive," she continued. "But what's exciting about this is that the administration recognized that it was important enough to teach a ['Special Topic'] class the whole time, so having an actual number that's devoted specifically to sexuality, that's great progress."
Starting Spring 2014, Associate Professor Catherine Bolzendahl, who began her term at UC Irvine in 2006 will become the permanent lecturer. The course will be offered at least every other year, based on the rotation with the other classes she teaches.