Social Problems (Sociology 201-004)—Spring 2016

Instructor: Tim Dunn

Office: Fulton Hall 270

Office Hours: M-F 11:00-12:00, & By Appointment

Web Page (& class links):

Phone & email: 410-543-6432;

Mail box: 288 Fulton Hall

Texts / Readings:

1. Mooney, Linda A., David Knox, and Caroline Schacht. 2015 Understanding Social Problems. (9th edition) Cenage.

2. Charon, Joel M. and Lee Garth Vigilant. 2012 Social Problems: Readings with Four Questions. (4th edition) Wadsworth.

3. Rios, Victor. 2011 Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph. D. (1st edition) Five Rivers Press.

4. & various other assigned readings linked on my web site.

I. Course Description – This 4-credit course will introduce you to the study of a wide range of social problems and various ways to try to resolve them. In doing so, we will use the “sociological imagination” to examine the relationship between individuals and the broader society, emphasizing the latter. Also, we will examine social problems comparatively and internationally at times. A critical perspective is used in this class – i.e., one generally critical of various aspects of our society -- as we focus on key problems in our society, their causes, and how society might be improved. Workload expectations: 4 credit class = 6-8 hours of work /week outside of class.

In terms of format, the class will be a mix of lectures, student-led small group discussion, video clips, and guest speakers to create a structured yet interactive learning environment. I welcome the expression of a diversity of views on class topics, though I ask you draw upon (and react to) concepts and research from course materials (i.e., assigned readings). You will also apply some of these to outside of class activities as well.

A variety of class materials (web readings, class note outlines, etc.) will be available on a class web site, accessible through links my faculty web page (address: ).

II. Objectives – Salisbury University’s “highest purpose is to empower its students with the knowledge, skills, and core values that contribute to active citizenship, gainful employment, and life-long learning in a democratic society and inter-dependent world.” (SU Catalogue, 2014-2016: pg. 7). Moreover, the university’s values include “community” ” (caring, civility, learn through interaction), “diversity” (global, society, and individual differences and equal opportunity) and “civic engagement” (seek to improve the quality of life for area residents). This class reflects these principles by developing your ability to understand and discuss key social problems facing the US and much of the world (incorporating diversity and community), and by closely examining and many becoming involved in efforts to raise awareness about and address social problems (civic engagement). This will involve expanding your critical thinking skills to look beyond surface appearances and "common sense" explanations to gain a deeper understanding of issues. The larger objective is that you develop intellectual tools to be an informed and engaged citizen who can take an active part in your community, and to be prepared for rewarding employment.

III. Coursework Requirements (read carefully!)

A. 2 Readings Discussion Papers (RDP’s) --- Write on the readings for 2 topics -- 1 before Spring Break & 1 after. No papers are allowed for the first topic (Intro) or last topic (War & Terrorism). The papers are generally due the 2nd day scheduled for a topic, except after tests (then 3rd day)

Format (Length 5 pages);

1. Main Ideas and Themes– Length 4 pages. Explain / describe several details or key ideas from at least 5 assigned readings for a topic (each chapter =1 rdg., except Mooney et al. textbook 1 chapter = 2 rdgs.), at least one of which must be textbook reading. No introduction or conclusion is necessary; do not provide a general overview. Be selective and detailed; focus on explaining specific information & ideas in rdgs. that you find most interesting (i.e., you can’t discuss everything.). Do not quote text extensively or frequently; put things in your own words (paraphrase). You must provide at least 1 citation of a rdg./paragraph – list author and page #(s) in parentheses, e.g. “ (Mills, 27-28).”

Two additional things you must do in Part 1:

a. Draw at least 1 connection or link between 2 or more readings (e.g., by comparison or contrast);

b. Provide 1 outside (non-rdgs.) example of some idea or issue from assigned rdgs.; the example can be hypothetical or real.

2. Critical Reflection – Length 1 page. Use a heading for this section. Tell me what you think about the readings and the issues raised in them that you’ve just discussed in part 1. You have a lot of freedom here.

-- No RDP’s may be written on the first or last topics (“Intro to Social Problems” and “War & Terrorism”).

B. 8 Readings Note Sheets (FOR nearly all topics that you’re not writing an RDP): Length 1½-2 pgs. --Generally due on 2nd day of topic, except after tests. There are 11 topics—you do 2 RDP’s, & 8 Rdgs. Note Sheets, & you can skip writing anything on 1 topic, but do the readings. You must at least touch on 2 assigned readings (each chapter =1 rdg., except each chapter in Mooney et al. = 2 rdgs.). These do not have to be cover everything you read, and the format can be quite informal (e.g., with abbreviations, not have complete sentences, etc.). You must have a page number and reading author(s) (citation) for each main point. Use your own words, not text quotes. This will aid group discussion and in test preparation.

C. Group Discussion Leading & Class Participation. You will lead a small group discussion for part of 2 classes, on 2 different topics (on 2nd day generally—same days as papers & notes due), which should be on the same topics for which you write RDPs/papers. When not leading, I expect you to participate in group discussions, as well as be generally involved in the class. This presumes your attendance and familiarity with the readings. Attendance Policy: You are required to attend all classes. Failure to attend will negatively affect your grade. I won’t take attendance every class period, but many.

D. Attend & Briefly Write about 2 Campus Cultural Events (e.g., lecture, performance, group meeting), or do some Volunteer Service activity, or 1 campus cultural event and 1 brief paper on reflecting on how some specific class materials may apply to your life. Paper Length 1-1½ pgs. Due within 3 weeks after the event. Do 1 paper by March 31. Briefly describe the content (summary & some details) of the event or service activity, and then briefly (1 short paragraph) relate it to something specific from class materials (esp. readings). The goal is to become a more involved university citizen-student by looking for things on campus (or in service) that apply to class. May 10 is last day to turn in.

E. Final Paper--Civic Engagement Or Research (5 pages):

1. Topic statement due April 6 (1 brief paragraph). Look at the broad topics on the class schedule and come up with a smaller, specific topic related to addressing some aspect of one (e.g., drug education, student mentoring, housing for the poor, health coverage for the uninsured, etc.). Also, briefly explain why you are interested it.

2. Get Involved in Organization OR Research Organization & Issue –Paper Length 5 pages: DUE May 10. (1) volunteer at least 5-8 hours with an organization that works on some social problem

OR (2), Do some research on the organization and the issue(s) they work on (look up 3 articles), and create some way to promote awareness about it. Guidelines coming in Early-Mid-April

F. 3 Tests. There will be three exams, each covering roughly a third of the material for the term. The last exam will not be cumulative. The tests will be a combination of multiple-choice and essay questions.

IV. Grade Calculation & Scale:

2 RDP’s @ 25 points each 50 points (20% of total points)

8 Readings Note Sheets @ 3 pts. each & 1 pt. for all 8 25 points ( 10% of total points)

Group Disc. Leading & Class Participation 25 points (10% of total points)

2 Cultural Event papers @ 5 pts. each 10 points ( 4% of total points)

Civic Engagement Paper @ 25 pts. & Topic statement @ 2pts. 27 points (11% of total points)

3 tests (1st @ 37 pts. & 2nd @ 38 pts & 3rd @ 38 points) 113 points (45% of total points)

Total 250 points

A 90-100% 225-250 pts.

B 80-89% 200-224 pts.

C 70-79% 175-199 pts.

D 60-69% 150-174 pts.

F 59% & below 149 pts. & below

V. Miscellaneous

Extra Credit: You may do up to 1 extra cultural event / volunteer service activity papers for 5 points . Same format as above, III.D. Or you may do a 9th Rdgs Notes Sheet for 3 points, due when topic is covered. May 10 is last day to turn in.

Make-up Policy: I will not grant make-ups or extensions for exams and papers unless you face extraordinary circumstances (illness, family problems, etc.) or a university-scheduled activity.

Writing Help -- University Writing Center–Room 206 Guerrieri University Center, 410-543-6332 (x36332) .

Studying Help and other assistance – Center for Student Achievement – Room 213 Guerrieri University Center, 410-677-4865 (x74865) .

Other Help—Student Counseling Center. Guerrieri University Center Room 263. (410) 543-6070

Please feel free to contact me outside of class. I am on campus in my office quite a bit beyond office hrs. You can call me or contact me via email. It generally takes me up to 24 hours to reply to emails, 48 hrs. on weekends.

Respectful Classroom -- I expect us all to treat each other with respect and civility in class; it is fine to disagree on issues, but not to be disagreeable / rude. Also, please silence your cell phones and keep texting to minimum.

Tentative Schedule (Subject to Change)

Dates Topic Readings

Feb. 2 & 4 Intro to Social Problems: Mooney et al.: Chapter 1

Rios: Chs. 1-9 (62 pgs., reads fast & easy!)

Feb. 9 & 11 Human Rights & Democracy Charon and Vigilant: Rdg. #44

Rios: Chs. 10-18 (52 pgs. reads fast & easy!)

Web Rdgs.(7): United Nations; Gaudiano and Greenhouse; Aldhous & Turley; Savage et al.; Hiatt et al.; Corn et al.; Brodzinsky et al.

Feb. 16 & 18 Economic Problems Mooney et al.: Chs. 6 & 7

Charon & Vigilant: Rdg. # 8

Web Rdgs. (4): Johnson; Nocera et al.; Tankersley et al.; & Duhigg et al.

Feb. 23 & 25 Family Issues & Problems Mooney et al.: Ch. 5

Charon & Vigilant: Rdgs. # 22, 33

March 1 Test 1

March 3, 8, 10 Health & Health Care Problems Mooney et al.: Ch. 2

RDP’s & Rdgs. Notes due 10th Charon & Vigilant: 41, 43

Web Rdgs (3): Brill; Gawande; Cha et al.

March 14-18 SPRING BREAK

March 22 & 24 Education Problems Mooney et al.: Ch. 8

Charon & Vigilant: 38, 39

Web Rdgs (4): Simon; Mettler et al.;

Nocera & Ravitch; & McKinney et al.;

March 29 & 31 Gender & Sexual Orientation Inequality Mooney et al.: Chs. 10 & 11

Charon & Vigilant: 25

Web Rdgs. (3) –Alvarez et al.; Valenti et al.; Eckholm & NPR

[April 6 Civic Engagement Topic Statement Due]

April 5 & 7 Racial & Ethnic Inequality Mooney et al.: Ch. 9

& Immigration Charon & Vigilant: 15, 20

Web Rdgs (6): McIntosh; Araiza; CNN et al; Silver & Miller Block et al.; & Coates

April 12 Test 2

April 14, 19, 21 Crime & Drugs Mooney et al.: Chs. 3 & 4

RDP’s & R. Notes due 21st Charon & Vigilant; 29

Web Rdgs. (4): Shenk; Smith et al.; Schoenberg et al.; Goldstein & Lowery

April 26 & 28 Environmental Problems Mooney et al.: Ch. 13

Charon & Vigilant: 52

Web Rdgs (5-6): Hawken; Oreskes et al. & 3-4 TBA

May 2 & 5 War & Terrorism Mooney et al.: Ch. 15

[Rdgs. Notes Only: NO RDP’s unless you see Dr. Dunn] Charon & Vigilant: 45

Web Rdgs (6) : Schwartz; Wallerstein et al.; Landay et al.; Reno et al.; Pilkington et al.; Gebauer et al.

May 10 Civic Engagement Paper Due, & Wrap-up/Review

May 13, 10:45-1:15 TEST 3 / Final