Introduction to Contemporary Social Problems - 2nd year

A theoretical and practical survey of selected social problems. Students will explore approaches for defining problems, explaining causes, and critiquing solutions. Emphasis is on generating questions rather than finding answers.


Upon successful completion of the course, student will be able to:

1. Demonstrate social responsibility through service to the community;

2. Reflect on the cognitive and developmental impacts of service learning;

3. Demonstrate ability to use service learning as course content;

4. Identify and define social problems in terms of origins, contributing factors, and alternate points of view;

5. Employ an interdisciplinary approach to consideration of social problems;

6. Apply critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate social problems; and

7. Synthesize theoretical and practical sources of information.


Course topics will include the following:

1. Consideration of various paradigms for studying and analyzing social issues

2. Orientation to service and service learning

3. Development of appropriate library and field research skills

Topics will vary from term to term but may include:

1. Health care

2. Alcohol and drug dependency

3. Crime and violence

4. Family problems

5. Ageism and the cult of youth

6. Gender inequality

7. Racial and ethnic relations

8. Immigration

9. Wealth and poverty

10. Education

11. Population and the environment

12. Advocacy of social issues

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Discussion

3. Lab

Types of Assignments:

1. Course readings

2. Field journal

3. Article annotation and summary

4. Short essay responses to questions

Sample Text:

1. Mooney, L.A., et al. Understanding Social Problems, 5th ed. Cincinnati: Wadsworth
Publishers, 2007.

2. Cuba, L., A Short Guide to Writing About Social Science, 4th ed. New York:
Longman, 2002.