September 18, 2020

Dear Sociology Students,

In the absence of a proper electronic system for routing the commonly used petition form, I’ve come up with an electronic system for processing petition forms for sociology students during these times of physical distancing and remote learning. Here’s how we’ll handle petition forms during Autumn Quarter 2020. You’ll download the appropriate form from the college’s website here. Fill in the PDF and attach it in an email. Here are guidelines for doing this in a way that makes things easy for me to process. Please understand that I receive a lot of these and that the process is a little clumsy, so these 8 steps all-but-guarantee success and sanity for both of us.

  1. Fill out ONE form for each request. Do not try to cram multiple requests/courses onto a single form.
  2. Send me just ONE form per email. Do not attach multiple forms to the same email. If you attach multiple forms to a single email, I will not process, I will not reply, I will just delete.
  3. Save the pdf as a file that has a descriptive name, including your last name, and date: petition1_trinitapoli_spring2020. Think for a second about the number of files on my machine named “petition.pdf” and how impossible it would be for me to retrieve *your* particular file out of the morass.
  4. Use your email account to send your requests. Do not use a gmail address or any other .com, .me service. Messages sent from unrecognized email accounts will get caught in my spam filters and lost forever.
  5. Make your subject line clear and descriptive. Something like: “course petition for sociology major” or “dual BA thesis petition for sociology major” is clear.
  6. Be as detailed as possible in your request; that makes it easy for me to process and cuts down on the number of back-and-forth emails we have to exchange. Remember that the ideal number of back-and-forths for your petition is ZERO, so put all the relevant info in it the first time around.
  7. If you are petitioning to a non-sociology course towards the major as an “other related course,” don’t forget to make a substantive statement about the content of the course and how it relates to sociology. Be specific –which quarter did you take this class, who was the prof? ATTACH a syllabus as support for sociological content and if the case isn’t totally obvious, ANNOTATE that syllabus to make the case abundantly clear to me. This makes it VERY EASY for me to approve a reasonable request.

The petition form needs to be sent to 3 people: 1) me (jennytrini [at] uchicago [dot] edu), 2) your advisor in the college and 3) Pat Princell [patpatuchicagodotedu] in sociology who maintains our records for the department. When I approve the petition form, I will respond to you, with a cc your advisor and to Pat, so that all parties get the approval information simultaneously. Expect me to process these within 7-10 days. If you haven’t heard back from me within 2 weeks, kindly re-send. Do not send “nudges” before 14 days have passed, unless it’s truly an emergency.

Petition away.  I’m as ready for the deluge as I’ll ever be!

- Prof. Trinitapoli

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & The College
University of Chicago
Director of Undergraduate Studies 
Director, Center for International Social Science Research (CISSR)