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The University of Alberta is a major Canadian centre for teaching and research in sociology and related specialties such as criminology and demography. The first official course in sociology was taught in the early 1950s, but it wasnÃ¾t until 1956 that the first full-time sociology position was approved within the Department of Philosophy and Psychology. The Department was renamed the Department of Philosophy and Sociology when the Department of Psychology split off in 1960. In the years that followed, the Department underwent several name and administrative changes. It was known as the Department of Sociology (1961-1963), the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (1963-1966), and again as the Department of Sociology since 1966. Heads: 1960-1961 Anthony Manuel Mardiros; 1961-1963 Robert James; 1963-1969 Gordon Hirabayashi. Chairs: 1969-1970 Gordon Hirabayashi; 1970-1971 John Forster; 1971-1972 Baha Abu-Laban; 1972-1975 Charles Hobart; 1975-1980 Terrence H. White; 1980-1985 Robert Silverman; 1985-1988 Gordon Fearn; 1988- Robert Silverman.