Core Course Review Documentation
Foundational Component Area: Language, Philosophy, & Culture
Component Area Option? Yes
Yes Cultural and Global Understanding
No Undergraduate Inquiry and Creativity
Proposed Course: Social Problems: SOCL 2233
Credit Hours: 3
Proposed by: Sociology Department, Midwestern State University
Date: Feb. 9, 2013
Please document how the proposed course meets each of the following requirements. (You
may provide a written explanation or copy and paste the appropriate information from the
syllabus.)
CONTENT: Courses in this category focus on how ideas, values, beliefs, and other aspects of
culture express and affect human experience.
Social Problems presents basic concepts and analysis of some of the major problems of our
contemporary global society and their effect on the human experience. This course also
examines the social causes of these problems and the public policy consequences of solutions.
Students enrolling in SOCL 2233 Social Problems will examine the following content:
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Definition and theoretical perspectives of social problems
Social policies for future prospects of change
Inequality of race and gender
Poverty and homelessness
Crime and violence
Healthcare and disease
problems of educational discrimination
problems related to work and the economy
population and immigration
war and global insecurity
technology and the environment
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SKILLS: Courses involve the exploration of ideas that foster aesthetic and intellectual
creation in order to understand the human condition across cultures.
Students enrolling in SOCL 2233 Social Problems develop the following skills:
 Students will display effective communication skills.
 Students will critically evaluate the appropriateness of rival explanations of current social
problems and the implications for a world community.
 Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of ethical decision making
and participation in a global marketplace filled with graft and exploitation.
 Students will demonstrate an understanding of their role as global citizens in exploring
equity, peace, human rights, and sustainability in a global community.
Throughout Social Problems students will engage in a series of learning activities designed to
foster communication skills, critical thinking, and personal and social responsibility. These
activities include classroom discussions that are focused on contemporary social problems both
in the U.S. and in other cultures worldwide. During these discussions students will be required
to critically evaluate the major trends and future outlook for each social problem by looking at
them from a Global perspective. Students will evaluate social problems from the predominant
theoretical perspectives of each social problem. These discussions will support the development
of student oral communication skills as well as to help develop an appreciation of their place in
a larger global world. This will include an appreciation of ethical decision making, social
policy, and human rights discussions. These discussions will take place daily in conjunction
with the content delivery of the course, often through films, articles, or campus speakers. In
addition to classroom discussions, students will be required to complete a series of writing
assignments designed to further develop critical thinking and written communication skills
while fostering both personal and social responsibility. These learning activities will occur
regularly throughout the semester. In addition to these regular learning activities, students will
be required to complete a final writing project. This final writing project will be used to assess
student progress towards these four learning objectives: critical thinking skills, communication
skills, personal responsibility, and social responsibility.
ASSESSMENT OF CORE OBJECTIVES: Assessments should be authentic, intentional and
direct. The following four Core Objectives must be addressed in each course approved to fulfill
this category requirement:
Assessment of the four core objectives will be conducted in a final writing assignment that
requires students to develop a coherent argument that addresses a contemporary social problem.
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In the final writing assignment, students will be required to research a particular social problem,
critically evaluate theoretical explanations of the particular social problem, the ethical and
human rights dimensions of the social problem, as well as make a comparison of the dimensions
of the social problem as it exists in the United States with another country of their choice. Their
argument and comparison must be presented in a 5-7 page double spaced written essay.
Example of Final Writing Project:
Final Project: Changing Gender Relations and Expectations
We cover consequences of prejudice and discrimination in many areas within sociology,
including the areas of sexism and gender inequality. This is a topic of global concern. Gender
relations and expectations are changing around the world. Gains have been made in gender
equality in the last two decades. Still, nowhere in the world do women experience full parity in
society, work, and government with men. Around the world, people are marrying later and
divorcing more often. The changes in the last half of the twentieth century were most dramatic
in the United States, but parallel changes took place first in Europe and somewhat later in Latin
America and Asia. The economic consequences place more women, than men, at risk for
poverty. Changes in work and marriage have also complicated the task of parenting, sometimes
making relationships between spouses and between parents and children more contentious.
Women still earn less than men, on average, around the world. Women are particularly at risk
for trafficking, exploitation, and sexual violence. These risks are greatest in conflict zones but
have also become part of a global pattern.
After reading the course material on the topic of sexism and gender, viewing films, and
discussing the topic in class, you should develop a position on the topic of changing gender
relations and expectations, in answer to the following questions
Issues to be addressed include the following:
1. What are particular challenges and dangers faced by women in the world, and in the
country you have chosen in particular to compare and contrast with the United States?
2. Are global changes making for stronger, happier, and more equal families and marriages
or are they undermining the traditional strength of marriages and families? What are the
losses and gains as it pertains to the United States and to the country you have chosen to
analyze?
3. What theoretical perspective do you find most valuable in explaining women’s place and
the changes that are occurring?
4. What must be done to make the world a safer, more equitable place for women and
children in the future? What social policies hold out the most hope for future prospects
for equitability for women and children?
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Each essay must be supported by evidence from the text, academic articles, and from such valid
sites as “The United Nations Population Fund,” “United Nations Economic and Social
Council,” “The Millennium Goals,” or a website titled “Half the Sky”
(halftheskymovement.org) in which organizations are listed that are working to empower
women and girls. Organizations are centered around education, maternal health, economic
empowerment, combating sexual violence, and more.
Critical Thinking Skills – to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis,
evaluation and synthesis of information.
During the final writing assignment, students will be required to explore a contemporary social
problem and critically evaluate competing theories of explanation for it. Students’ ability to
achieve this learning objective will be assessed with the critical thinking rubric attached below.
This was adapted from the Association of American Colleges and Universities templates.
Communication Skills – to include effective development, interpretation and expression of
ideas through written, oral, and visual communication.
During the final writing assignment, students will be required to develop an academic argument
in response to the essay prompt. Students will then present this argument in a 5-7 page double
spaced written essay. The written communication rubric attached below will be used to assess
the student’s progress towards the core learning objective of oral communication skills.
Personal Responsibility – to include the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences
to ethical decision-making
During the final writing assignment, students will be required to ethically evaluate the
inequalities produced and their support for a quest for social justice. Progress towards the
development of personal responsibility will be assessed with the attached personal
responsibility rubric.
Social Responsibility – to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility,
and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.
During the final writing assignment, students will be required to examine the consequences of
inequalities in the United States as well as globally. The quest for social justice, a sense of
basic fairness for all, will be a common theme throughout the course. Student progress towards
the development of social responsibility will be assessed with the attached social responsibility
rubric.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Provide any additional information supporting course
inclusion in the core (optional).
PLEASE ATTACH THE FOLLOWING
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SYLLABUS
Course Description:
Social Problems presents basic concepts and analysis of some of the major problems of
contemporary society, in the United States as well as globally. Of interest are the social causes
of these problems and the public policy consequences of solutions. The quest for social justice,
a sense of basic fairness for all, will be a common theme throughout the course. Topics
addressed will include inequality of race and gender, poverty and homelessness, crime and
violence, healthcare and disease, problems of educational discrimination, problems related to
work and the economy, population and immigration, war and global insecurity, technology and
the environment.
This course is writing intensive. There will be three paper assignments. Two papers will be 2-4
pages in length and will be reaction papers to one of the topics as presented in a film, a chapter
from the text, through additional articles on reserve in the library, or through presentation from
a campus speaker or lecturer. Students will have to analyze the film, chapter, article, or the
campus speaker’s presentation in terms of the theoretical perspective presented and how the
explanation or argument either supports, or does not support, what the text has to say about the
topic, thus showing the student can evaluate evidence provided. They will also provide input
on their position of the issue, an evidence-based position is necessary. The third paper will be a
5-7 page paper, due at the end of the semester in which the student will have to critically
evaluate competing theories of explanation for the social problem they have chosen to examine.
They will be required to develop a more in-depth, comprehensive, examination of the social
problem both from the United States and globally, providing complete evidence and a synthesis
that is logical and reveals a sense of personal and social responsibility for understanding how
and why to work to solve our global social problems.
Texas Core Objectives:
This course will support the development of the following state mandated core learning
objectives: Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Personal Responsibility, and Social
Responsibility.
Texts:
Kornblum, William, and Joseph Julian.Social Problems, 2011. Social Problems. (14th Edition),
Pearson.
Sernau, Scott. 2012. Global Problems: The Search for Equity, Peace, and Sustainability. (3 rd
Edition). Pearson.
Additional Readings available on D2L.
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Expectations, Examinations, and Grading:
I wish to provide an open learning environment. I also wish to foster social and intellectual
maturity through individual struggle with unfamiliar ideas. We must recognize that our views
and convictions may be challenged, but we should expect this challenge to take place in a
climate of tolerance and mutual respect. You will find a high correlation between attendance
and class grade. In-class exercises and pop quizzes are part of your grade. Therefore, good
attendance is a necessity. If you have more than 3 unexcused absences, you will be dropped
from this class with an F.
1. QUIZZES /ASSIGNMENTS: I will give quizzes or in-class assignments worth a quiz grade
throughout the semester worth 10 points each. I’ll most likely give 11 or 12 and will drop
the lowest one (or two if I’ve given 12). This will result in another grade worth 100 points.
You will not be permitted to make-up missed quizzes.. This is why I will give “at least” one
extra quiz (and maybe two) so that you can miss at least one without being penalized. The
quizzes not only help to prepare you for the exams, but they also serve as an enticement to
come to class
2. There will be 3 exams. (each worth 100 points). These exams will be comprised of both
multiple choice and essay.
3. There will be 3 writing assignments. As previously discussed, two of these papers will
consist of reaction papers and the third will be a final term paper.
.
The following is the basis for your grade:
quiz grades
Exams (3)
Reaction Paper 1:
Reaction Paper 2:
Paper 3(final paper):
TOTAL
100 points
300 points
25 points
25 points
50 points
500 (divide by 5 for grade)
Grades will be determined by the following scale:
A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69
F = below 60
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COURSE OUTLINE
TOPIC
Definition and Theoretical
Perspectives on Social Problems as
well as social policies for future
perspectives of change
Inequalities of race and gender
Poverty and homelessness
Crime and Violence
EXAM #1
Education and Discrimination
Healthcare and Disease
Population and Immigration
EXAM #2
Work and the economy
War and global insecurity
Technology and the Environment
TEXT CHAPTER
1 (Kornblum)
7 and 8 (Kornblum)
6 (Kornblum)
5 (Kornblum)
4 (Sernau)
2 and 3(Kornblum)
9 and 10 (Sernau)
2 (Sernau)
6 (Sernau)
11 and 12 (Sernau)
FINAL EXAM
ASSESSMENT FOR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
Undergraduate-Level Critical Thinking Rubric
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Critical Thinking, undergraduate-level work in Sociology will be evaluated through the
assessment of a writing assignment in the areas of explanation of argument, evidence, student’s
position, and conclusions. A summary chart is provided to explain how work will be assessed.
Skill
Explanation
of Argument
Evidence
Student’s
Position
Conclusions
Excellent
Good
Satisfactory
Unsatisfactory Poor
Explanation of Argument:
 Does the student clearly state the contemporary social problem examined:
 Does the student comprehensively describe the contemporary issue examined?
 Does the student deliver the relevant information necessary for a full understanding of a
contemporary social problem?
Evidence:
 Does the student use authoritative sources?
 Does the evidence employed enable the student to develop a comprehensive analysis of a
social problem?
 Does the student thoroughly evaluate the viewpoints/positions of the authoritative
sources?
Student’s Position:
 Does the student’s position take into account the complexity of the contemporary social
problem?
 Does the student acknowledge the limits of their position?
 Does the student synthesize other’s points of view within their position?
Conclusions:
 Are the student’s conclusions logical?
 Do the student’s conclusions reflect an informed evaluation?
 Do the student’s conclusions demonstrate an ability to place evidence and perspectives in
priority order?
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ASSESSMENT FOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Undergraduate-Level Term Paper Rubric
Written, undergraduate-level work in Sociology will be evaluated through the assessment of
papers in the areas of argumentation and analysis, evidence and documentation, structure and
style, and grammar and mechanics. A summary chart is provided to explain how work will
assessed. In addition, the areas of evaluation used are outlined below.
Skill
Excellent
Argumentation
and Analysis
Evidence and
Documentation
Structure and
Style
Grammar and
Mechanics
Good
Satisfactory
Unsatisfactory Poor
Argument and Analysis:
 Does the paper contain a clear thesis statement or research question?
 Does the paper have a clear hypothesis and argument, appropriate for college-level work?
 Does the main argument of the paper match or answer the research question or thesis
statement?
 Are the main argument and key points clear?
 Does the paper clearly address the research questions and hypothesis or thesis statement
throughout?
 Does the paper develop its main points well?
 Does the paper address other research in the field to place its argument in conversation
with other work?
 Does the paper address counterarguments and possible limitations of the research
presented in the paper?
Evidence and Documentation:
 To what extent does the paper support its claims?
 What types of support are utilized and are they appropriate for college-level work?
 Are source materials clearly documented in accordance with citation guidelines given in
the course or in college-level writing courses at Midwestern State University?
 Is there analysis of the sources or is evidence used too descriptively?
 Does the evidence offered in the paper help to further the overall argument?
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Structure and Style:
 Is the paper clearly organized?
 Does the paper include required elements of the assignment?
 Is the style of the paper appropriate for a college-level in Sociology?
 Is the tone of the paper appropriate for a college-level course in Sociology?
Grammar and Mechanics:
 Does the paper employ appropriate grammar?
 Does the paper make use of punctuation and mechanics?
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ASSESSMENT FOR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Undergraduate-Level Personal Responsibility Rubric
Personal Responsibility (to include the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to
ethical decision-making) undergraduate-level work in Sociology will be evaluated through the
assessment of written assignments in the areas of ethical self- awareness, understanding
different ethical perspectives, ethical issue recognition and application of ethical perspectives.
A summary chart is provided to explain how work will be assessed. In addition, the areas of
evaluation used are outlined below.
Skill
Excellent
Ethical SelfAwareness
Understanding
Different
Ethical
Perspectives
Ethical Issue
Recognition
Application of
Ethical
Perspectives
Good
Satisfactory
Unsatisfactory Poor
Ethical Self-Awareness:
 Did the student discuss core ethical beliefs?
 Did the student discuss the origins of core ethical beliefs?
 Did the student connect core ethical beliefs with the origins of core ethical beliefs when
examining a contemporary social problem?
Understanding Different Ethical Perspectives:
 Did the student identify sociological theories relevant to the contemporary social
problem?
 Did the student accurately apply sociological theories to a contemporary social problem?
 Did the student accurately identify and apply sociological theory to a contemporary social
problem?
Ethical Issue Recognition:
 Did the student recognize an ethical issue when presented with a complex social
problem?
 Did the student recognize cross relationships among multiple social problems?
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
Did the student identify an ethical issue and link this issue with broader sociological
implications?
Application of Ethical Perspectives:
 Did the student independently apply ethical principles to contemporary social problems?
 Did the student correctly apply ethical principles to a contemporary social problem?
 Did the student consider the full implications of the application of ethical principles to a
contemporary social problem?
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ASSESSMENT FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Undergraduate-Level Social Responsibility Rubric
Social Responsibility (to include cultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility and the
ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities) undergraduate-level
work in Sociology will be evaluated through the assessment of written assignments in the areas
of diversity of social problems in various communities and cultures, ethical issue recognition,
application of ethical perspectives, and support for social justice. A summary chart is provided
to explain how work will be assessed. In addition, the areas of evaluation used are outlined
below:
Skill
Excellent
Diversity of
Communities
and Cultures
Analysis of
knowledge
Social Justice
Identity
Social Justice
Context
Good
Satisfactory
Unsatisfactory Poor
Ethical Issue Recognition:
 Did the student demonstrate an adjustment in their attitudes and beliefs based on learning
from diversity of communities and cultures?
 Did the student promote others engagement with diversity?
 Did the student demonstrate adjustments in their own attitudes and promote engagement
with diversity based on their learning from the diversity of communities and cultures?
Analysis of Knowledge:
 Did the student connect sociological theory to a commitment to social justice
perspectives and engagement?
 Did the student connect sociological theory to their own participation in efforts to support
social justice?
 Did the student display an understanding of the connection between social justice and
contemporary social policy?
Social Justice Identity:
 Did the student identify lessons learned from the assignment?
 Did the assignment shape the student’s social justice identity?
 Did the assignment strengthen the student’s commitment to social justice?
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Social Justice Context:
 Did the student demonstrate an ability to identify a social justice aim for U.S. society or
that of another?
 Did the student demonstrate a need for work to be done within a community context to
achieve a social justice aim?
 Did the student identify a social justice aim and demonstrate a commitment to work
within a social justice context to achieve this aim?
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Social Problems - Midwestern State University