Division: Social and Behavioral Science
Department: Social Sciences
Course: SOC 1020
Title: Modern Social Problems
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.
Student Learning Outcomes:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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.