SO304 Social Problems

for S2M 2011

Printer Friendly

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


SO 304 Social Problems


S2M 2011 CH


Andrews, Claude ("Tweetybird")


Senior Adjunct Faculty


B. A., M. Ed., M. Div.
Advanced work toward Ph. D, all completed except for dissertation (due to family illness)

Office Location

Home office:  Creative Living Associates, 147 Hoop Pole Creek Drive, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512

Office Hours

Place and time may be arranged ahead of time as needed and requested

Daytime Phone

Cell phone number is 252-903-6666, and if Tweetybird is unavailable, please leave a very brief voice message with phone number with area code--he does not have a land-line phone.  Let him know the best time to call, since his hours are very much variable with his consultation work.


--Please use BOTH e-mail addresses when making contact

Semester Dates

Spring 2, Monday, March 14 through Sunday, May 8, 2011

Class Days


Class Time

4:45 - 7:15 PM


Introduction to Sociology (SO 141)

Credit Hours



Sernau, Scott (2009).  GLOBAL PROBLEMS:  THE SEARCH FOR EQUITY, PEACE, AND SUSTAINABILITY. 2nd Edition.  Pearson and A. B., Boston, New York, USA.  ISBN 0-205-57884-9 (required).
Eitzen, D. Stanley (2010).  SOLUTIONS TO SOCIAL PROBLEMS:  LESSONS FROM OTHER SOCIETIES 5th Edition.  Pearson and A. B., Boston, New York, USA.  ISBN 0-205-69834-9.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

There will be additional handouts and references as the class progresses.  The Internet page below will be useful for the APA style of citations and reference format that is required for this class.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information   NOTE:  Be SURE to use APA citations!

Course Description:
SO 304 Social Problems: Review of major controversial issues facing modern societies, such as poverty, crime, deviance, sexuality, addiction, mental illness, prejudice, changing values, demographic pressure, surveillance, technology, terrorism and war, the provision of social service, and the balance between individual freedom and social responsibility. Special attention is given to global and cross-cultural context, and the causes, consequences and potential public policy solutions for each issue. 3:0:3 Prerequisite: SO141

Educational Philosophy:

The educational philosophy Tweetybird uses in this course (as well as others he leads) is one of interactiveness based on weekly journaling, stimulus materials that the students and he will be presenting, along with story telling, student presentations, videos, possible guest speakers and writings.  Our learning experience is not only individual, but also group oriented.  Everyone is expected to contribute and has the opportunity to learn from each other.  The student's  grade is dependent upon mastery of the material for future professional development AND making use of it for life-long learning and living.  The student will not be "graded" upon his/her opinion, if well developed, but on how well the student uses the learning experience.  There is a LOT of reading and activities for this class--so please keep up with the requirements in a timely manner.  Remember the "mini-semester" philosophy--each class is the equivalency of a regular one-hour class three times per week for one full semester.  Please note that not all material may be direcctly covered in formal class presentations, but the student IS reponsible for the basic content of the handouts and books.  Another further note:  given Tweetybird's background in private practice, consultation work with private, religious, and public agencies, as well as direct service with public safety (law, fire communications, rescue, and emergency medical services), he has many varied experiences and "war stories" that illustrate many of the social issues that are germane to this class.  Given the issues of professional and confessional confidentiality as well as HIPAA laws, the illustrations he uses and the various exercises have been heavily disguised to protect anonymity and confidentiality.  The various activities may have the feel of "reality" because the situations are based on "real life."

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. To be able to define what constitutes a social problem.
  2. To understand the cultural contexts of social problems in the U. S. and to compare and contrast them to some other countries in the world.
  3. To understand how political theories may impact social problems in the U. S. as well as other countries.
  4. To be able to understand social problems that are found in our major social institutions (family, education, health, as well as others) and how other countries may also deal with them.
  5. To understand the impact that the various dichotomies such as rich/poor, healthy/sickly, sexual orientation, war/peace, terrorism/security, use of earthly resources, cultural isolation/cultural globalization, as well as others have on the U. S. and global social problems.
  6. To be able to compare and contrast how U. S. handles social problems and how other countries deal with them.
  7. To be able to develop and reflect on some possible solutions to some of the social problems in the U. S.
Class Assessment:
Individual class assessment is based upon the following:
Participation (represents up to 100 points)
1.  Starting the second Monday class (by mid-night of that Monday as so noted on the e-mail that is received) each student is to e-mail to Tweetybird (to BOTH e-mail addresses) a half-page to one page summary of the previous two classes with a brief statement of what he/she learned new in terms of content (objective infomation) in the first paragraph followed by a second paragraph with his/her reactions to the "new-found" knowledge (subjective) in how this could be used do deal with social problems and current living.  Note:  this journal is to be sent as an "attachment" in .doc format, NOT "in-line" as an integral part of the e-mail.  This is to be done each week for a minimum of 5 consecutive weeks resulting in 5 journal reports.  The journals will not be "graded" as such, but will be attached back to the student with some very brief comments by Tweetybird.  Any information in the journal will be confidential unless Tweetybird obtains the student's permission to share.  If done in a timely manner and attached in proper .doc format, each journal is worth up to 12 points for a total of 60 points for the semester.
2.  Each student is to be active in class by making appropriate comments, raising questions, and other supportive actions indicating he/she has read the material and is actively contributing to the class.  This is worth up to a total of 40 points to be recorded by Tweetybird at the end of the semester.  Any class absenses, excused or unexcused--by the very nature of the student not being present, counts 2.5 off of 40 points for each absence and having to leave early or coming late counts 1 point off.
Mid-term Examination (represents up to 100 points)
The mid-term examination (see schedule) will  over content material covered to that point.  There may be some essay questions to be covered as well for the student to be able to demonstrate his/her ability to contexualize the material.
Final Examination (represents up to 100 points)
The final examination will cover content material on the last section of the class not covered by the mid-term.  There also
may be some essay questions to have an understanding of how students are dealing with the material
Core Assessment  (represents up to 100 points)
As the class nears the end of the semester, each student is to complete research using the following parameters for the core assessment.  This will consist of an electronic document (in .doc format--NOT "in-line") submitted by mid-night of the day it is due, that is attached to an e-mail to the two e-mail addresses of, AND  The time-stamp on the e-mail server will indicate the date and time submitted.  This is to be a 13 pages of content using proper one-inch margins, no more than 12 pt professional font including a title page AND a reference page conforming to APA style (all others or a "hybrid" will be "downgraded") for a total of 15 pages (also be SURE to use "spell" and "grammar check" as well). 
The core assessment is to deal with the following in order to be complete:
               What is the social problem that is being researched?  How is it defined?  What makes it a problem?  How does the issue affect the society as a whole as well as how does it affect the individual?  What solutions have already been attempted and to what success?  How have other countries and/or cultures dealt with the issue?  Then the student is to offer his/her own well thought-out possible solutions and what would it take to operationalize (bring to "reality") his/her  suggested solution.  Part of that solution needs to cover ethical/value  issues as well as how much cost in resources.  There may also be other issues not covered by these questions that the student may wish to cover as well.
                To realize up to the limit in points, the document/research is to have no fewer than 10 academic references (not material found in "popular" media, but rather "real research" as found in academic and research professional peer reviewed journals).  This means, by definition--any form of "Wikipedia" or "look-alikes" or "sound alikes" are not acceptable as a counted reference.  This does not mean that "Wikipedia" cannot be used, but rather it could "point" the student in a positive direction, similar to "google."  It just cannot be used as a reference, as such.  Also, if the student uses an Internet source, it should go back to the "original" source as citation and the student can indicate it was found through the Internet source.
Student Presentation to the Class  (represents up to 100 points)
Near the end of the semester there will be "sign-up" times for when a student is to present his/her findings in terms of the research he/she has done on the chosen social problem.  The student may use any media form to make this presentation such as Power Point, poster board, guest speaker, video, audio or any other form.  The class will evaluate the individual student's presentation using an anonymous form that will be tallied and averaged.  Specific times for this presentation will be on a "first come--first served" basis for signing up for the presentations.  If a student happens to be absent during this time, he/she may be "stuck" with the leftover opening periods.  Note: once a student has signed up for a specific time, that is the time he/she presents.  If he/she needs to change the time, it is up to her/him to find someone already signed up in order to trade and it must be cleared through the instructor.  Presentation grades will also be affected by changing the times of presentations.
There is a possibility that there may be unannounced quizzes, depending upon class participation.


     As you have noticed, each of the five composite evaluation itmes have equal value.  Those items will be totaled to produce the following semester final grades and grade points based upon the course being a three-hour credit course:
         A = 465-500 points (Excellent--12 grade points)
         B = 425-464 points (Good--9 grade points)
         C = 385-424 points (Average--6 grade points
         D = 350-384 points (Poor--3 grade points)
         F = 349 or less points (Failing--0 grade points
     Students are responsible for keeping up with their exam grades as the exams will be recollected and maintained by Tweetybird until all have taken that particular exam.  Special note:  If work is incomplete at the time that grades are required to be submitted to the Registrar's office, in order for the student to receive an "incomplete" (I"), he/she must complete an "Incomplete Contract" which can be obtained from the Park Administrative office and be duly processed beforehand.  If not, then the student would automatically receive a "0" point value for all work not submitted and the point average would depend upon what was actually submitted to-date for the final grade.  As a student, you can keep up with your points by going to for SO-304 and looking at your grades under "gradebook."
     For the student who wants to achieve extra credit, he/she may go to a major 4-year college or university to do his/her research.  This is worth an additional 25 points on the final course tally.  This MUST be documented by the signature of the library staff person on duty the day the studeent was at that library.  This can be simply done on the library's letterhead or other official library document (such as a signed copy with the student's name on it of the library's floor-plan)  and given to Tweetybird for verification.  Additionally, 5 more points may also be gained by going on-line when available to anonymously evaluate this course near the end of the semester--again this MUST be documented by printing the last page that "thanks" the student for participating before closing the page in order to gain this extra credit.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

     The student is responsible for keeping up-to-date in the class.  If he/she knows he/she will be absent for whatever reason, he/she is to inform Tweetybird ahead of time and bring documentation to show for an excused absence and to make up any material within two weeks of the absence.  Note reminder:  Any absences (excused or unexcused) does affect the up to 40 points that are awarded for class participation at the value rate of 2.5 per class missed.
     The student is to plan ahead in terms of the core assessment due dates and the core class presentations.  Modern technology does have a way of failing sometimes--"Help, my 'puter crashed," "dead battery," "the dog chewed on it like a bone"--none of that are "legitmate" excuses--even though it could actually happen.  Park has a computer lab that can be used as well as the MCAS Cherry Point has a lab that students may use.  For each class an item is late (remember, the item is deemed late after mid-night as documented by the e-mail server the student used in attaching his/her document), it automatically drops 25 points from what the grade might have been.  If a student knows, due to work or some other unavoidable situation that he/she will be absent, inform Tweetybird ahead of time--missing a single class in the mini-semester framework is like missing an entire week of regular college classes.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

     Proper decorum will be observed in the classroom at all times.  Attached to this syllabus is an expanded version of what is expected in classroom behavior and a hard copy will be attached to the hard-copy syllabus that you will get on the starting class.  As an attachment, this also becomes part of our contracting together in this class.  The student will also have a copy of the Student-Educator contract that the student will complete and give to the instructor at the first class.  Also, there will be available copies of a brief updated bio-sketch of Tweetybird (for new students who have not had him as an instructor).

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

     The following is the proposed schedule with which we will attempt to follow.  Due to untoward events, there may be some changes in the schedule.  It is important to read ahead (in both texts paralleling the same themes) as much as possible.  It will also help in order that not all of the material in the books will necessarily be covered in class presentations.  Note, too, that the course outline will be following the chapters as listed in the Sernau book.  Parallel chapters in the Eitzen book will vary, but read those parallel chapters as well--we will be referencing them, too.
Note thes dates in the University calendar:
      Spring 2 starts March 14 and officially ends May 8, 2011
      Last Drop date is March 21
      Final Withdrawal date (without grade penalty) is April 17
                  Mar.  14      Orientation to course, overview, contracts, getting started
                  Mar.  16      Looking at class/wealth issues
                  Mar.  21      Work issues, Doing research ***Journal #1 due by mid-night***
                  Mar.  23      Gender, family, orientation issues
                  Mar.  28      Education issues ***Journal #2 due by mid-night***
                  Mar.  30      Legal, crime and violence issues
                  Apr.    4      War and peace ***Journal #3 due by mid-night***
                  Apr.    6      Democracy and human rights ***Mid Term Examination***
                  Apr.  11      Ethnicity and religion ***Journal #4 due by mid-night***
                  Apr.  13      Urbanization
                  Apr.  18      Population and health, Doing research ***Journal #5 due by mid-night***
                  Apr.  20      Technology and energy 
                  Apr.  25      Ecology and environment ***Electronic copy of core assessment paper due by mid-night***
                  Apr.  27      ***Final Examination***  ***Start student presentations***
                  May   2       ***Student presentations***     
                  May   4       *** complete Student presentations*** class evaluation
                        Thanks for being in this class.  If all work is completed and the student can wait a few minutes, Tweetybird 
                        may be able to give the student his/her final grade.      --Have a good school break.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Classroom Courtesy

Student-Educator Contract

Updated Educator Brief Bio-sketch


This material is protected by copyright
                               and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:3/8/2011 10:51:34 AM