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SOCI 1160

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at   
Credit Hours   3   
Course Title   Introduction To Social Problems   
Prerequisite(s)   Exit or exemption from Learning Support reading and all ESL requirements except ENSL 0091   
Corequisite(s)   None Specified   
Catalog Description   
This course is a study of specific problems of social change and conflicts that exist within our evolving society. Observation and analysis of these major social problems can provide insight into the distinctive nature of our society, its pattern of conformity, as well as deviation.
Expected Educational Results   
As a result of completing this course the student will be able to:

1. Describe the sociological perspective and distinguish it from individual-oriented explanations of social phenomena.
2. Discuss the differences between an "objective" and a "subjective" approach to defining social problems.
3. Explain what is meant by the "social construction of public problems."
4. Summarize the history of thinking about social problems in the United States.
5. Distinguish among structure-functional, conflict, and interactionist approaches to the study of social life.
6. Apply the three different theoretical approaches to specific social problems.
7. Distinguish between scientific and non-scientific approaches to social knowledge.
8. Identify and assess, noting pros and cons, the main methods of sociological research.
9. Evaluate the problem of objectivity in sociological research.
10. Assess proposed solutions to social problems from a contemporary liberal and conservative perspective.
11. Define deviance in a sociological manner.
12. Explain Durkheim’s thesis that deviance is normal in society.
13. Explain how social stratification can be said to be a main cause of social problems.
14. Describe the extent of inequality in the United States.
15. Identify the major causes of inequality
16. Describe of the extent of global inequality.
17. Identify the main causes of global inequality.
18. Evaluate the role of modern corporations in the U.S. and global economy.
19. Display a factual knowledge of the extent, history, and persistence of at least six separate social problems.
20. Show how interpretations and solutions to these problems will vary depending upon the theoretical and ideological perspective chosen.

General Education Outcomes   
I. This course addresses the general education outcomes relating to communication as follows:
A. Students will read and critically evaluate text and other material.
B. Students will discuss the material knowledgeably.
C. Students will write critical assessments of selected topics.
II. This course addresses the general education outcomes of recognition and application of scientific inquiry as follows:
A. Students will understand basic methods and procedures in social scientific research.
B. Students will examine and evaluate data pertaining to several current social problems.
III. This course addresses the general educational outcomes of identification and evaluation of basic sociological tenets.
IV. This course addresses the general education outcomes of developing effective individual, and at times, group problem solving and critical thinking skills as applied to social problems.
V. This course addresses the general education outcomes of encouraging an informed and enlightened citizenry appropriate to a democratic society.

Course Content   
1. The sociological perspective
· The connections between the rise of sociology and concerns over social problems
· The three primary perspectives in sociology—functionalism, conflict, and interactionism
· Scientific methods in sociology
II. The identification of social problems
· Objective versus subjective definitions
· The social construction of public problems
· Theory and ideology in the identification of social problems
· Domestic versus global social problems.
· Social problems versus social issues
III. The History of social problems thinking
· The social disorganization approach
· Radical alternatives
· Mixed paradigms
IV. The analysis of specific social problems (at least six to be chosen from the following list)
· Family problems
· Poverty
· Work
· Health care
· Education
· Population
· Crime
· Sexual orientation
· Ethnic group relations
· Gender
· Environmental degradation
· War and terrorism
· The elderly
· Alcohol and drugs
· Science and technology
· Urbanization

Assessment of Outcome Objectives   
A. Tests and a final exam prepared by individual instructors will be used to determine a part of the course grade. Tests and exams will focus on the objectives above.
B. Writing assignments that emphasize higher order thinking skills and enable students to demonstrate abilities in analyzing and synthesizing information as well as presenting ideas in a logical and coherent fashion will be a component of the course.

The final exam of students in Sociology 1160 will consist, in part, of twenty-five multiple-choice questions incorporating fundamental concepts and developed by the Sociology faculty.

The results of the assessment questions will be analyzed by a committee of Sociology faculty. A summary of the committee’s findings will be sent to the Vice President for Academic affairs together with recommendations for changes and improvements, if any.

Reviewed June 8, 2005

Last Revised: Aug. 12, 2011
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