Title: THINK Social Problems Author: John D. Carl
Year: 2013 ISBN: 978 0205 125 623
Course Overview: Modern Social Problems is a survey-type course, in which we focus on
the nature and definition of contemporary social problems, and if and how to seek solutions, in a social
science framework. Because the nature and degree of social problems varies cross-culturally, we will examine not only
mainstream American society, but sub-cultural, international, and global case studies to help shape our understanding.
The scope of the course includes some or all of the following areas: family-related problems; health and illness; poverty;
aging; ethnic relations; gender, sexual, and social inequality; crime and delinquency; drugs; sex trades; population
growth; terrorism; and education. This class requires a high level of critical thinking!
102: Social Problems in the United States
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Identify and apply the sociological
perspective to an interpretation of social problems.
2. Describe the steps in the research process and recognize how the scientific
method is used to analyze social problems.
3. Identify and apply the major sociological paradigms to an understanding of social problems.
4. Demonstrate knowledge
about current social problems, including the ability to describe their effects on individuals as well as society at large.
Critically analyze current societal-level problems impacting various nations, including the United States.
Instruction Methods: The
nature of the subject requires in-class discussion and debate based on pre-reading of required text chapters and papers, articles,
or news items assigned. Some portion of each class will be devoted to clearing up questions on the text, lectures emphasizing
salient points, arguments, and if time permits, viewing short videos or films to stimulate discussion.
Requirements: YOU MUST
READ THE ASSIGNED TEXTS BEFORE EACH CLASS! The reading assignments define the nature of the problems, provide
the specialized vocabulary and background needed for class discussions. In addition, quizzes and writing assignments
are based on the reading and class discussions. There is a peer-reviewed research paper assignment. A final essay
exam is required. If you don't like to read and write, please don't take this class!!!!
You are the one who determines your final grade. It is based on the work YOU do, and the level of
thinking that you apply to the issues. The points are earned cumulatively as follows:
Essays (8 @ 5 pts.) total possible
research questions possible 20
to this assignment:
Quizzes (3@ 5) total
Final exam essay, total possible 25
Total possible: 100
Attendance: Each 3-hour class is equal to two classes.
You cannot pass this class without attending regularly and on time. Students may miss up to two classes for extenuating
circumstances (police, hospital, morgue). In-class quizzes, debates, and writing assignments cannot be made up.
You cannot pass this class without regular attendance. After the third absence, begin procedures to withdraw you from
class as per MJC policy. If you do not plan on staying in this class, please remove yourself from the roll so others
may be permitted to register!
Policies on cell phones, tablets, and computers: NO texting or IM-ing in class.
It is distracting to students around you, and disconcerting and rude to me. If you don't want to be in this class, please
drop it! If you are in class, please give me and the rest of the class your attention. I reserve the right to
ask you to close your computer if I believe you are using it for other than class work.
I understand that many of you have children
or work obligations that require you to be available by phone. I have no problem with this in moderation, but do let
your friends know you are busy at this time! Please change your phones to vibrate in class---no dopey song clips, please!
on photos and recordings of any kind:
NO photos of me or my classroom, no videos or audio recordings are allowed without
my express written permission. My lectures are my intellectual property, and I reserve the right to take legal
action, civil and criminal, against any violation of this policy.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism means
presenting someone else's work or words as your own. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that will result in your
failing the assignment and even the class, possible expulsion from college, and rejection by other educational institutions.
The College's policies and procedures for offenses will be followed, including filing official papers of academic dishonesty
on your records. If you have any question about whether your work violates plagiarism standards, please ask in advance
Students with disabilities: Please contact me and I will make arrangments to support and accommodate
MJC has a writing lab which can help you improve your writing skills. Please take advantage of this!
If you need a referral, I will give you one.
My goals for you in this course are to help prepare you to be better citizens of the
world by understanding the scope of the social problems we face in the 21st century, and to challenge you to see beyond the
clichés of common beliefs. A secondary goal, though no less important, is to improve the logical thinking, communications
and formal writing skills that you will need in the rest of your college education as well as in your chosen career.
I hope you will
enjoy the journey, and be surprised at where you are at its end!