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Course Syllabus

Course: SOC 1020

Division: Social and Behavioral Science
Department: Social Science
Title: Modern Social Problems

Semester Approved: Summer 2017
Five-Year Review Semester: Summer 2022
End Semester: Summer 2023

Catalog Description: This course is a contemporary study of social problems in society. Origins, challenges and solutions connected to controversial issues such as drug abuse, crime, violence, prejudice, and poverty will be examined critically using sociological perspectives, concepts, and theories. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding and linking causes and effects of wider social forces and problems to personal life experiences. General education credit and variable credit may be earned. To fulfill Social Science general education requirements, the class must be taken for 3 credits; however 1-2 variable elective credits are offered for exigent circumstances.

General Education Requirements: Social and Behavioral Science (SS)
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 1-3; Lecture: 1-3; Lab: 0

Prerequisites: N/A

Corequisites: N/A

Justification: This course is designed as an in-depth examination of problems in modern society using introductory sociological perspectives and concepts. A lower division sociology course in social problems is offered at every USHE institution. SOC 1020 satisfies the Social Science (SS) requirement for General Education at Snow College and is a major requirement for sociology majors. It will transfer as general education, elective, or major credit.Students will develop understanding of the world around them through study of content and the processes used by social and behavioral scientists to discover, describe, explain, and/or predict human behavior and social systems. Students must understand the diversities and complexities of the cultural and social world, past and present, from a social scientist's perspective, and methodologies, and come to an informed sense of self and others.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  Sociology emphasizes the study of the culturally diverse norms, values, beliefs, and traditions that make up the larger society. Contemporary social problems are inextricably linked to these aspects of culture. Students can expect to read class material and discuss these concepts, applying social/cultural knowledge and awareness to sociological subjects and social problems and linking them to personal life experiences. Expression of this understanding and knowledge will be asked of students in writing projects, quizzes, and/or exams.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. Class topics and sociological subjects regarding modern social problems will be based on textbook readings and other source materials that are assigned to prompt critical thinking and student discussion. Class quizzes, exams, and essay work will provide students the chance to demonstrate understanding of this content.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Sociology and the study of social problems asks students to think critically about their place in culture and the social world around them. It promotes assessment of objective sources of information and ethical scientific methodologies. Class discussion and relevant readings will provide the basis for exercises in sociological thinking and analysis and will be evaluated in class discussion, essay projects, quizzes and/or exams.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Explain social institutions, structures, and processes across a broad range of historical periods and cultures from a social and behavioral science perspective.
Students will become knowledgeable about underlying factors that affect social structure (i.e., cultural, economic, political, etc.) and the culturally significant institutions and processes that change over time and influence social behavior. Through class discussion, written projects, quizzes and/or exams, students will be able to communicate their understanding of these sociological concepts and relevancy to modern social problems.  

Develop and communicate hypothetical explanations for individual human behavior within the large-scale historical or social context.
Sociological theories and concepts will allow students to recognize the diverse influences and cultural perspectives that shape human thought and behavior. Written projects, quizzes, and/or exams will provide opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and explanations for patterned behavior and evaluate how the violation of social norms affects society and contemporary social problems.  

Draw on the social and behavioral sciences to evaluate contemporary problems using social science research methodology.
Students will be exposed to sociological methods and theories and will use both micro and macro levels of analysis to analyze and interpret current social issues, controversies, and problems. Through class discussion, quizzes and/or exams students will demonstrate their ability to think critically about local, national, and global challenges.  

Describe and analytically compare social, political, economic, cultural, geographical, and historical settings and processes other than one's own.
Students will be exposed in readings and class discussion to a variety of current and historical social settings and processes that will challenge their assumptions and experiences regarding cultural controversies and social issues. A major goal of sociology is to identify and increase awareness of wider social forces outside the individual and link those to personal experiences. Careful analysis of these links and social conditions will be displayed on student writing projects, quizzes and/or exams.  

Explain and use the social-scientific method to test research questions and draw conclusions.
Students will explore sociological theories and methodologies comparing social problems and analyzing social institutions and patterned behavior. Textbook study and additional readings will allow an examination of alternative theoretical perspectives, case studies, and opinions. Class discussion, quizzes and/or exams, will provide students an opportunity to display their ability to synthesize sociological findings into clear and well-reasoned arguments and empirical conclusions.  

Write effectively within the social science discipline, using correct disciplinary guidelines, to analyze, interpret, and communicate about social science phenomena.
Students will be able to understand sociological perspectives, principles, and contemporary social problems, and communicate their opinions, analysis, and research on these topics. Essay projects and written work assessed on quizzes and/or exams will demonstrate this competency.  

SOC 1020 is a course that focuses on social problems in relation to the wider societal forces and personal experiences that define and influence our world today. Through lecture, class discussion, writing assignments, quizzes and exams, students will examine modern social problems using sociology's functional, conflict, and symbolic theoretical perspectives. Topics will include theoretical interpretation and research methodology, elderly and aging issues, problems related to sexual behavior, substance abuse, violence, crime and the criminal justice system, poverty and wealth, race and ethnic relations, gender inequality, medical issues, family, urbanization and population, environmental crisis, and war and terrorism.

Key Performance Indicators:
Exams: 30-50% of final grade  

Quizzes: 10-20% of final grade  

Writing assignments (essay projects): 10-20% of final grade  

Discussion participation: 5-15% of final grade 







Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Texts will vary depending on instructor preference. A textbook example would be Social Problems: A Down-to-Earth Approach by James Henslin (current edition).

Additional readings will vary on instructor preference. An example would be "The Saints and Roughnecks" by William Chambliss

Pedagogy Statement:

Maximum Class Size: 50
Optimum Class Size: 40