Soc 231:  Social Problems

Required Reading: D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Bacca Zinn, 1997, Social Problems, 7th edition, Allyn and Bacon: Boston.  Lecture material listed below.

Catalog Description:  This course is intended to provide the student with a conceptual framework within which to examine social problems.  The class will examine the links between technological development, population growth, environmental degradation, social change and disorganization, social inequality, deviance, and crime.  An approved social science University Studies elective.  No prerequisites.

Purpose:  The goal of this course is to expose the student to a systematic-critical view of American industrial society.  It is hoped that this exposure will stimulate the student in developing and refining her own unique (but empirically based) world view.

Course Objectives:

  1. Understanding of theoretical and methodological approaches for examining social problems and issues.
  2. Acquisition of informed knowledge about selected problems and issues.
  3. Generalization of reasoning abilities from specific problems to general perspectives.
  4. Application of reasoning and knowledge to controversial issues.

Grading:  Students will be evaluated according to the following:

  1. Four examinations of equal weight.  Each exam will be worth 100 points and consist of multiple choice and fill-ins.
  2. One comprehensive final exam, multiple choice and fill-ins, worth 100 points.
Please be prepared.  The fill-in portion of each exam will consist of the vocabulary words off of each Study Guide page. You will be given the definition, you will have to supply the term.  The multiple choice will consist of both book and lecture questions.  Take the practice quizes and tests to do your best.

Final Grades:  Based on the point average of the examinations (plus any extra credit points earned):

Make-up Policy:  Students must have a valid excuse for missing an exam. Arrangements must be made to take the make-up exam at the end of the semester.

Attendance:  Both physical and mental attendance should be regular. While the lecture material is presented off of this web site, to take full advantage of the class you should attend all lectures. All of the presentations and vocabulary (not to mention the text) must be mastered for the examinations. Inappropriate classroom behavior (sleeping, talking, and other disruptive behavior) will be cause for dismissal from the classroom.

Academic Integrity:  The College of Humanistic Studies Academic Integrity Policy is available through clicking on the above link, CIV courses, academic offices, and through the office of the Dean of the College.  Students are responsible for obtaining a copy and reading the policy.  By signing your name to a paper, test, quiz, or other assignment, you are indicating that the work is yours and yours alone.

Classroom Organization:  This course will be based on a presentation format to provide an overview and perspective on social problems.  The presentations will not be based on the textbook.  Therefore, you are encouraged to ask questions on the readings either in class or through e-mail.  Further, it is not expected that you will agree with the perspectives of the instructor or the authors of the text.  As have all human beings the text authors and I have been influenced by the values of our society as well as our roles in various social structures.  However, it is the duty of the sociologist to acknowledge these influences and attempt to minimize their effects upon his analysis. Should the resulting analyses be counter to your perceptions, challenge them on the basis of empirical fact, logic, and reason--not ideology, prejudice, wishful thinking, or "politically correct" assertions.  The goal is for you to develop your own critical thought processes and world view, not for you to blindly accept any one perspective.

Course Page:  The address for the course page is:
Detailed descriptions of classroom organization, assignments, and study guides are available at this site.  For access to lecture material you will be asked for a sign-on name and a password:
sign-on= "sociology"
password= "Max.Weber"
This must be typed (without the quotes) exactly as shown (it is case sensitive).  Students are responsible for all material at the site.