Book Marriages and Families

The American Family
BHST 2113 56
This course on American Family covers the origin and development of marriage and family
institutions, the role of the family in development , family and marital organization and
disorganization , the changing status of women , and the adjustments of the family to social change.
The course will also look at the sociological literature and theories on the family.
Class Meets………. Tuesdays
Location of Class… Walker Center, Room 144
Course Number …BHST 2113 56
Faculty: Dr. Howard Kurtz, Full Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice
Dr. Kurtz taught American Family for ten years when he first came to OCU. He has worked with autistic
children, probation and parole, prisons, juveniles and youth sports. His dissertation dealt with the effects of
victimization on parenting. He has written numerous books and scientific articles and is currently a
consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, the American Council on Education and The Justice
Office Location…Walker Center Room 212
Office Phone ………………………………405-521-5231
E-mail address…
Office hours……MWF ( 10-11 and 12:30-1 ) TR ( 1-2) Best by Appt. Monday ( 4-5)
Credit earned for completion of course……………………………………. 3
Course Prerequisites ………………………………………… See Instructor
Foundation Curriculum……………………………………… See Advisor
Graduation Requirement (if applicable)…………………….. See Advisor
Texts, required and supplemental ----- see below
Required and supplemental supplies …………None at this time
Course Objectives: The objectives of the course may vary for individual students since this course cuts
across disciplines . Students wishing to aquire a deeper understanding of the family , modern family issues
and ongoing trends and problems should take this course. This course covers the origin and development
of marriage and family institutions, the role of the family in development , family and marital organization
and disorganization , the changing status of women , and the adjustments of the family to social change .
The course will also look at the sociological literature and theories on the family to include the instructors
insights and experiences with this topic.
Course Requirements
The student will write a paper that describes and examines their own family. This
paper should be part family history and part family social history. You should begin
the paper immediately by deciding who the significant members of your family are
and doing a background on them. as the semester proceeds we will discuss the
family in social contexts that should allow you to do your own social analysis of
your family. In doing this paper use a tape recorder or video camera and interview
your oldest relatives. They are generally the keepers of your own family legends.
when they pass on the stories will be forever lost so use this as a stimulus to
preserve them. My own mother was the head story keeper of my family and when
she died suddenly we all lost a big part of our past. So, your paper is part biography
and part sociology. It is due on the last night.
An A Paper will contain few errors in style or form and will be easy to read. The student will integrate the
course material with their own ideas and demonstrate that they understand and can apply the concepts we
will discuss. I will not say how to write a B, C, D or F paper for someone might use the example as an
Course Calendar:
Due Dates and Exam Dates
Exam One, TBA will occur before March 14, 2005
Exam Two , TBA will occur after March 18, 2005
Papers –Due on Last class
Presentations to be assigned a date.
Week One
Why Study Families and Close Relationships?
Social Science Research and Family Studies.
Week two
Importance of Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Class.
The Meanings and Practices of Love.
Week Three
Sexual Identity, Behavior, and Relationships.
Making Commitments: Marriage.
Week Four
Making Commitments: Singlehood and Cohabitation.
The Transition to Parenthood.
Week Five
Relationships Between Parents and Children.
Working Families: The Intersections of Paid and Unpaid Work.
Week Six
Family Crises and Stress: Poverty, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse.
The Process of Divorce.
Week Seven
Family Life, Partnering, and Remarriage After Divorce.
Families in Middle and Later Life.
Week Eight
Looking Ahead: Helping Families Flourish.
Final Papers Due
Book: Marriage and Families: Relationships in Social Context (with InfoTrac)
Karen Seccombe, Portland State University
Rebecca L. Warner, Oregon State University
ISBN: 0-534-55881-X© 2004
Seccombe and Warner provide a comprehensive look at close relationships and the family in
just 15 chapters. Examining close relationships and families by placing them in social
context, the authors offer a unique emphasis on the structural and relational aspects of the
family with a focus on family resilience.
The text weaves together a macro view – social structural analysis of close relationshipswith the macro – an individualist view. The authors demonstrate the interaction of theory
and methodology in family studies in Chapter 2 and blend cutting-edge research and
practical applications throughout. Among the highlights of this first edition are the
exceptionally thorough exploration of the topics of single-hood and cohabitation in Chapter 7
and the unique six-chapter core (8-13) that focuses on all aspects of parenthood and the
challenges and crises that families face today.
The authors' emphasis on family resilience and how families can be strengthened is reflected
in the "Constructing Strong Families" boxes that appear throughout the text. These features
encourage students to apply groundbreaking research on what makes a family strong to their
own families and in the concluding chapter, "Looking Ahead: Helping Families Flourish,"
which examines the factors that successful families –regardless of ethnicity, culture, or social
class—consistently exhibit.
The Rules of Order that follow have evolved from university directives, departmental policies, and
suggestions from my colleagues and from over twenty years of university teaching. They are not meant to
overly burden students with regulations but rather they are meant to enlighten and insure a level playing
field for everyone including students and the instructors. Please take time to read them so that we can avoid
unnecessary confusion and time consuming misunderstandings.
Grievance Policy
I do not anticipate any problems this semester but I feel obligated to inform students about the folly of
complaint. We live in a world where Wall Mart returns our broken purchases without a receipt and
restaurants comp our meals even when they are half eaten. It is a consumer world that often leads to
unrealistic expectations. We at OCU want you to be treated fairly and with kindness but this is not
MacDonald’s and the customer is not always right.
Teachers have the tough job of evaluating others work. It is hard, time consuming and we take the job
seriously. Emotions and feelings sometimes replace even our best student’s logic and reason when they fail
to achieve their best. This sometimes makes things appear to be unfair or personal even when the process is
both fair and impartial. These feelings have been a part of higher education as it has gone on through the
centuries. That said; let me turn to the heart of the grievance policy.
First, If you are unhappy with a grade but the professor has generally followed university policies a protest
is not going to result in a change of grade.
Secondly, The Grievance Procedure begins with your professor. Students must make formal contact with
their professors and give them a chance to address grievances.
Third, Grievances are those situations involving; violations of established university policies, procedures or
regulations, substantial error, bias or miscarriage of justice. After meeting with the professor the next step
may be to talk with the department chair but only if the complaint meets the burden of proof and
Fourth; Professors at OCU are hired after an exhaustive national search to assure that your instructors are of
then highest quality. They are chosen for their expertise in their discipline not solely for their personalities.
We have extensive evaluation procedures for our faculty and additional non-sanctioned evaluations by
students violate faculty rights and might lead to law suits against you and the university should they result
in a negative situation for the faculty member in question... In addition, it is unethical and a violation of
faculty rights for students to organize or plot to prejudice faculty teaching reviews in any manner. Such
attempts render these evaluations invalid.
We at OCU use our time well and so should you. Frivolous complaints or slandering of your professors
could result in legal action if their reputation or career is damaged by unfair remarks. The evaluation of
student work is an inexact science but we all do our best. Visit your professors if you have a concern. You
may be surprised to find that they really pretty understand.
Fifth; if you have evidence that your rights have been violated I will personally champion your cause but I
am not the complaint department at Wall Mart so please be realistic. Students in Sociology and Criminal
Justice tend to be drawn to those fields because they want to change the world or fight injustice. Those are
admirable qualities and focused on your career will serve you in good stead. Rolling around the deck like a
loose cannon though may result in friendly fire casualties so please tie down your guns and aim at the field
not the messengers.
Academic Honesty
Oklahoma City University was founded upon strong values and high standards. Honesty in academics is a
priority. Students should be advised that cheating and plagiarism are not tolerated. Based on its
philosophy of education, Oklahoma City University is strongly committed to academic excellence, truth,
honesty, and personal integrity. The University expects all students to maintain a high standard of ethics in
their academic activities. Hence, any form of academic dishonesty is considered a serious matter.
In this context, forms of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to the following: cheating on
tests, examinations or other class/laboratory work; involvement in plagiarism (the appropriation of
another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own); collusion (the
unauthorized collaboration with another person); misrepresentation of actions; and falsifying information.
Each case of academic dishonesty will be reported to the associate dean and the VPAA, and if a student has
a total of three cases during his or her academic career, the student may be expelled from OCU. The first
case of academic dishonesty will result in a “zero” for the assignment; the second case will result in an “F”
for the course; the third case will result in dismissal from the Arts and Sciences degree program and the
university. All students will sign an academic honesty contract that is included in each course syllabus. A
copy of the signed contract will be kept by the instructor of the course for the semester. Students dismissed
from the university for academic dishonesty reasons will not be eligible for readmission.
My class cheating policy is as follows:
If a student is found cheating on a test or other assignment he will automatically receive a zero for that test
or assignment. any additional attempts at cheating will result in the student being dropped from the course
with a failing grade. Should a student be dropped from a class for cheating, a departmental committee will
convene to draft a recommendation that will be forwarded to the academic dean.
Let me assure you that I am keenly aware of the pressures that students experience in college. But,
adherence to anything but the highest ethical standards would cheapen the experience for everyone at OCU
Rules for
Test Security
In the interest of test security I do not return tests to students. This is done to assure the integrity of the
course. I will allow you to come to my office and check out the test (in office) and go over your responses.
In addition, if you think a test has been improperly scored or if you wish to discuss a question I will do so
with you at that time. I find that this increases the time in class we can devote to new material and reduces
the likelihood of tests being compromised. I will hand out a computer printout of your exam scores in class
containing your raw score, your letter grade, your rank in the class and any prior scores.
Test Reviews and test content
I am under no obligation to provide reviews. They are a gift so treat them as such. Everything covered in
class, the book, handouts and assignments is fair game on exams. I usually give study guides or in-class
reviews which are your responsibility to attend and procure. If you miss a review or you are late for are
class ask your fellow students for the notes reviews etc. I will not repeat reviews or give private review
sessions, as this may constitute an unfair advantage. Conversely, if something is not covered in a review
that is in the reading assignments or was discussed in class you are still responsible for it. If something is
covered on a test that was not covered in class in the book or in assignments I will strike it from the exam.
The Curve
I curve the grades and that almost always results in a better result for you the student. If a question or two is
thrown out after a test is given this will change the curve since fewer items will be in the test sample. This
may actually result in a lowering of grades in some cases. In such cases I will generally do what results in
the best grades for the class overall.
Test Dates ... I will announce the date for tests at least one week before the exam. It is your responsibility
to come to class so you will know when these exams are to be held. If you are late for a test for what ever
reason you may not be able to finish the exam in the allotted time. The Instructor is under no obligation to
provide additional time or allow students more than 15 minutes late to sit for the exam.
Papers and Academic Honesty
The college has encouraged professors to adopt a new paper service that compares your papers to others
written by term paper companies etc. I have not yet made a decision of the use of this service. You can
come by and pick up your graded papers from the PLUS office, the following term if you wish. Papers may
be randomly or intentionally kept on file to assure that all work in all classes is original and meets
university regulations
Your paper must generally include (unless otherwise stated) an interview with a professional in the area
you choose. Due date for your paper will be announced and will be graded down 5 points each day it is late.
It must be typed and double-spaced with dark type. Covers are not required. Style is important in your
paper and it should be free from grammatical errors and poor sentences. If you need help in these areas.
(And you should know better than I if you do) our writing center will be happy to assist you. Don’t; wait
until the end of the term to ask for their help or mine.
An A Paper will contain few errors in style or form and will be easy to read. The student will integrate the
course material with their own ideas and demonstrate that they understand and can apply the concepts we
will discuss. I will not say how to write a B, C, D or F paper for someone might use the example as an
Grading Procedures and Scales
I use Micro Test a Micro Soft Product that automatically norms and stores my grades. I have used it for
many years and it is extremely reliable. The scale is as follows.
60= F +65=D+70= D+75=C+80=C+85=B+ 90=B +90=A +95=A
Attendance Policy ………………………One unexcused absence
There will be 1 unexcused absence allowed during the regular semester. After this you may begin to lose
points on your final grade. Each cut after this may result in a 5 point reduction in your final grade. I realize
that emergencies and illness are significant events over which you have little control. The wise student will
save their absences to cover such occurrences. If you must be gone on school related or job related
business you must make arrangements in advance. Such absences may be verified by official letter Should
your schedule require you to miss an unusual number of classes you must meet with me to discuss your
enrollment. A student who misses excessiively cannot pass this course.
Policy for work to be made up ……………At discretion of Instructor
I do not generally give make up exams or extra credit. Should you miss an exam you must see me to make
up the work. Make up work will be done at the instructor’s convenience. Any make up exam not taken
before the next major exam will be given a failing grade. Students not completing all class work by
semesters end will be given either an f or I depending upon the nature of the work left undone.
A special Note on Incomplete work…………………………”A&S Dean 2004”
An Incomplete grade can only be given under the following circumstances:
"When a course in not completed by the end of the semester or summer session because of circumstances
beyond the student's control, an "I" to indicate "Incomplete" may be assigned by the professor. The course
must be completed within the next year unless there is significant and compelling reason to warrant an
extension of time" (page 41, Undergraduate Catalog)
Beyond the student's control means an
1. Illness/accident/hospitalization of the student that prevents the student from completing the course
2. Death in the family and the student must return home
The student can not receive an "I" because
1. They need more time to write the paper they should have started a month ago.
2. They need more time to study for the exam
Student responsibility in preparing for class. (Be prepared, read ahead, you are responsible to know
what the assignments are.) This is an eight week class so begin reading immedietly and stay current on your
Class cancellation policy. (Call the PLUS office (521-5265) if you have doubts) . I will generally leave an
email announcement on the EDUCATOR WEB SITE if I am going to miss class.
Class conduct/participation. We expect all students to treat all class participants and instructors with
dignity and respect. Students deemed out of order will be asked to leave for the day. We have high
expectations of your level of writing skill. (If you have trouble writing at the college level make an
appointment for writing help at out Learning Center.)
“If you have a need for special accommodation, please see the OCU Student Handbook”.
“If you need an accommodation due to a disability under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, please contact Student Health and Disability Service Office
immediately at 521-5991 or 521-5090. Advance notice is required for many
Peter Berger in ‘invitation to sociology’ said” people who like to avoid shocking discoveries, who prefer to
believe that society is just what they were taught in Sunday school, who like the safety of the rules and the
maxims of what Alfred Schuetz has called the “world taken-for-granted,” should stay away from sociology.
we seek answers, and new questions. In sociology we do not simply confirm traditions or validate existing
social facts we explore and probe into areas that are often sensitive and personal so please consider yourself
Brief Biography
Dr. Kurtz is tenured with the rank of Full Professor. He is a Criminologist with an international reputation...
He served as director of programs in Sociology and Criminal Justice at Oklahoma City University for 18
years before returning to full time faculty status in 1998. When he agreed to chair the department in early
eighties he became one the country’s youngest department chairs. During his tenure as chair Dr. Kurtz
rewrote the curriculum in Criminal Justice and sociology and established ongoing relationships with local
and state criminal justice agencies. He also established off campus programs with the Republic of China
Taiwan R.O.C. and domestic programs with the U.S. Military, The United States Marshals Service and
General Motors. He designed courses in Germany and England and China to explore comparative issues in
criminal justice systems. He will direct his 15th international seminar this winter in the United Kingdom.
He is one of the founders of the Oklahoma State Criminal Justice Research Consortium. a statewide
research consortium that funded evaluation and research in criminal justice. The John F. Kennedy School at
Harvard University chose this program for an award for Innovations in Government in 1999. Dr. Kurtz has
been invited to be a guest speaker at the National Institute of Justice in Washington D.C. and is an invited
speaker consultant and panelist around the world. He continues to do consulting and grant review work for
The National Institute of Justice, The American Council on Education, The National science Foundation,
The US Department of Educations Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools and other organizations. Dr. Kurtz
was selected as one of the “Outstanding People of the 20th Century,” by IBC, Cambridge, England, 1999.
Dr. Kurtz has been actively involved in research and scholarly activity since arriving at OCU. He has
received funding from the State of Oklahoma to study Electronic Monitoring, Criminal Justice
Flow-Charting, Prison Escapes and Victims services. His paper on the effects of Truth in sentencing
Legislation on Victims was accepted as a concept paper by the National Institute of Justice. He has recently
been involved with a grant review for the National Terrorist Institute .He has recently been contracted by
the American Council on Education to provide curriculum reviews for courses involving Weapons of Mass
Destruction and Terrorism. His other publications and presentations are listed on his personal web site at
Early in his career Dr. Kurtz worked with Autistic Children and served for a time as Probation and Parole
Officer in Pennsylvania He has also worked as a jail counselor in Texas and worked on Federal Research
Grants. He has attended the University of North Texas (PhD), Penn State (Probation Institute) and Rice
University (Post Doctoral Study). He has taught at OCU, North Texas State, and The University of
Oklahoma. His Classes and interests include: International Systems of Justice, Introductory Sociology,
Social Problems, Social Control, Deviance, Evaluation Research, Social Research Methods, American
Family, and Sports in American Society, Probation and Parole, Criminology, Criminal Justice Systems,
Sociology of Police, Behavioral Change, Juvenile Delinquency, Consumer Behavior, Practicum,
Victimology, Sociology of Rock Music, Sports in America.
Dr. Kurtz plays five instruments; Guitar, Slide Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin and Bass Guitar. He is also an
accomplished vocalist and began performing professionally at a young age. He has appeared on stage with
national acts and has used his insights in this area to develop a very popular class on Rock Music. HE
plays, jazz, folk, rock, blues and country. He is currently playing on weekends with a country band that was
selected Country Band Of The Year by The Oklahoma Country Music Association. An Independent Artists
Organization from Nashville selected them the Band of the Year in the European Market due to their
music’s popularity over seas. They have had three number one songs on New Artist Radio, all written by
Dr. Kurtz.
Dr. Kurtz is active in the community working with young people. He coached basketball and soccer for
twelve years and is licensed to coach both sports at the advanced level. Stressing goal attainment and
teaching through positive reinforcement, his teams won over twenty local, state or regional championships.
He has two older children who are both honor students and competitive athletes. His daughter played
College Soccer at OCU and his son was a member of the U.S. Olympic Training Program for soccer. and
has accepted academic scholarships to the University of Oklahoma... Many of his former players have gone
on to play Collegiate sports including JR. Giddens who is a McDonalds All American. He is also the father
of six year old twin girls who play soccer and participate in gymnastics and dance.
I have dedicated my adult life to helping others. That is the reason I have chosen a career at a university. I
believe that we are both teachers and students forever. My greatest pleasure is to infuse value into people
and things that others have overlooked.
A Final Note: Universities are not MacDonald’s restaurants and that unlike the world of business the
customer is not always right. In my opinion professors are mentors and guides and that is not always a task
appreciated by their students. We must give you both negative and positive feedback. It means we care
enough to help when we correct mistakes. I was once a very successful coach at the state and national level
because I was not afraid to tell my players the truth and enjoyed paying them compliments when they
excelled. Be assured that your success is my legacy. I want you to do well. Turning my head from your
deficiencies though robs you of a fair, quality laden education and it robs me of my legacy. Of course in the
end If we treat each other with respect and kindness rules become unnecessary.
Guidelines for Access to Educator Platform
In order to access online courses or other course materials that are made accessible online by
your instructor, you will need to know your Educator username and password. This username is
the same as your OCU email username without the
Educator username: eshort
Educator username: eshort1
If this is the first time you are accessing the system, your password will be the same as your
username. You will then be required to create a new password and log-in again. The gateway to
your course(s) should be visible on the day your class begins. Please note that not all instructors
place course materials online.
If you are certain that your course has online components and you are unable to access
 Double-check your username at the Student Login ID Lookup Page.
 Check your CAPS LOCK key and make sure you are entering your password exactly. If your
password is lower case and you enter a capital letter, it will not work.
 Try at least three times to get in by typing your username and password carefully.
 If you still cannot get into your course, contact Denise Short at or 405-2085288.
*Incomplete grades should only be given if extraordinary circumstances (beyond the
student’s control) occur that preclude students from completing the course. They should not
be given to students who have not completed assignments because of their own propensity to
*This policy excludes the Asian off-campus program because of the post-assignment
component of the courses.
*The Academic Council has established a policy that retroactive withdraws will not occur
after the semester has concluded. Please do not advise students to attempt this course of