Sociology 210  


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Sociology 210  
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Soc 210, Social Problems, is a study of the social and cultural aspects, influences, incidence, and characteristics of current social problems in the light of sociological theory and research. It seeks to answer the question, "what is a social problem?" and maybe, maybe, hopefully, develop some solutions. If nothing else, I hope to make you think. At least invite you think. Ideally, challenge you to think.  

We will also examine the sociological theories and realities that guide the science of sociology. It is my hope that you will leave this class with a better understanding of the social influences on the most personal and intimate human thoughts, beliefs and behaviors, and thus will have a better comprehension of what is needed to better our world. 


Note: the absolute BEST way to get in touch with me with questions, or to make an appointment is email:

Special Needs: Students requiring special accommodations or who are concerned about their performance in the course are encouraged to contact me. If you require assistance due to at disability, contact Martha Smith at 856-7731, or

Required Reading:  Social Problems   2nd Edition   John J. Macionis


PAPER/PRESENTATION ASSIGNMENT: Each Student will be required to research a social problem that is of interest to them, write a paper which will be graded and returned, and present the work to the class. We will discuss this more as the term progresses. The paper should be typed, double spaced, Times New Roman or Arial, 12 pt font, 1inch margins, and will be due April 3. Note: If you donít know how to make a 1inch margin, or find 12 pt font, please learn by the time you have to write the paper. This should be part of the college student's basic stock of knowledge.


READINGS: All reading assignments should be completed before the lectures to which they relate. Information will also be presented in class through films. Lectures, readings assignments, and in-class films are of equal importance for examination purposes.  In addition, all information contained in course handouts or obtained through homework assignments will also be subject to testing on the scheduled examinations.


Course Requirements:


1.         Students are expected to attend two lectures per week.  Students are responsible for all substantial information presented in each lecture, except for material specifically noted by the instructor as not to be tested.

2.         Students are required to purchase the course text (in its proper edition) and complete each of the reading assignments listed below. 

3.         Students are required to attend examinations at the scheduled times.  I donít care much for make-up examinations. You know ahead of time when they are, so do not schedule appointments, surgery, vacations, illnesses, dates, weddings, etc. on those days. If you MUST miss an exam, you need to discuss this with me ahead of time.  If you miss an exam without letting me know you may or may not be allowed to make it up. If you are, it is likely to be a horrible, all essay exam. You really donít want that.  Early final examinations will not be available.  Please note well the date and time of the final examination scheduled for this section. If you know that you will not be available to take the final examination at that time, please do not enroll in the course.  

4.         Unless tardiness really becomes a problem I will allow students to come in late. BUT if it does become disruptive to the students who do make it on time, I will start closing the door and not allowing you in. If you are late you are responsible to get the information you missed from someone in the class.


Examinations and Course Grades:

There are 350 possible points to be gained in this course.  Course grades will be based on two written examinations, class participation, the paper, and the presentation. The first examination will consist primarily of "objective" questions in the form of multiple-choice, true-or-false, and matching items but may also include essay and short-answer questions.  The final exam will be in essay form and will require you to pull together your knowledge from the course.  Dramatically improved performance on successive exams will be considered when calculating final grades.

***If you arrive 15 minutes after any examination has been given out you will not be allowed to take it. This applies to all examinations, including the final.


This class will be conducted as a seminar class, meaning that you will be involved in the teaching. Therefore, if you do not plan to regularly attend class this is not the class for you. There are 50 class participation points, and if you are not here when it is your turn to present, or are not prepared you will not get those points.

 Spontaneous questions and comments by any member of the class at any time are both welcomed and encouraged by the instructor. In fact, I insist on discussion J


This is the plan. However, things happen, and plans change, so I reserve the right to make changes as needed.


Lecture Topics and Reading Assignments:

We will basically spend one week per chapter


I. Introduction--what is a social problem? Lecture             Readings: Ch: 1 


Chapters 2-18 will be presented by the class. We will divide in groups, assign chapters to the groups, then the group leader will assign segments of the chapter to individuals. Each individual will write a summary of his or her section and present that to the class. Then turn in the paper to me. You will lose points by reading from the book. You may make a poster, find something that supplements the points, pretty much anything that fits into the class. Strong class participation = strong grade. Skimpy class participation  = skimpy grade. If you are not there on the day you are to present you will lose that dayís class participation grade. Every chapter is assigned reading for everyone, and I am not limited to what is presented in class when writing test questions.




Important note: You will notice that the last month of class is spent giving presentations. This does not mean that once you present you are finished and may stop coming to class. If you miss class on these days I will deduct points from your paper/presentation grade. We are all in this together until the end.


May 1/2 10:30-12:30  Final Exam


Again: this is the plan, but, things happen and plans change, so I reserve the right to rearrange things if necessary. We might get behind (VERY likely). We might get ahead (NOT very likely).

We might decide to add something cool. But we will so some sociology: LOTS of sociology.

I will learn from you, and I hope you will learn from me.     


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This site was last updated 01/10/06