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SO 210 Social Institutions
McGinty, Patrick J.W.


Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.

Course

SO 210 Social Institutions

Semester

U1T 2012 DL

Faculty

McGinty, Patrick J.W.

Title

Adjunct Instructor of Sociology

Degrees/Certificates

Ph.D. (2005) University of Missouri-Columbia
M.A. (1994) Western Illinois University
B.A. (1992) Knox College

Office Location

Online via Instructor Office link in eCollege Classroom

Office Hours

24/7 via Instructor Office link, e-mail or phone

Daytime Phone

309-331-4796

E-Mail

Patrick.McGinty@park.edu

Semester Dates

June 4, 2012 - July 29, 2012

Class Days

TBA

Class Time

TBA

Prerequisites

SO141 Introduction to Sociology

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:


Skolnick, J. H., & Currie, E. (2007). Crisis In American Institutions (14th ed.).  Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
ISBN-13:          9780205610641

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

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Course Description:
SO 210 Social Institutions: An overview of major social institutions, such as education, family, religion, culture and media, science and health care, politics, and the economy. Discusses their historical development, modern forms, social functions, and the ways in which they relate to one another and shape individual lives. 3:0:3 Prerequisite: SO141

Educational Philosophy:

My philosophy of teaching and learning is rooted in three significant influences: my formal training in sociology as well as the interdisciplinary area of education studies; my commitment to quality undergraduate instruction and improving the educational opportunities in the academic and disciplinary communities of which I am a part; and my ongoing research interests and agenda. I believe that the classroom, course material and methods utilized by instructors need to actively reflect what is known about the multiple ways in which students learn, and with respect to the discipline of sociology, what it is that is central to the sociological enterprise. Accordingly, my approach to teaching and learning focuses on active student participation, quality faculty-student interaction, and the construction of an empowering classroom culture. To that end, I believe that:

1)   Course activities and assigned coursework should focus on students learning to use their minds well.

2)   Course goals and curricular decisions should be directed toward student mastery of the tenets of the area of study where the emphasis is on student mastery of a few core ideas as opposed to the presentation of numerous disconnected facts.

3)   Course goals and objectives apply to all students and classroom practice is geared toward meeting the needs of all students.

4)   Teaching and learning should be personalized to the maximum feasible extent.

5)   The governing metaphor of the course should be ‘student as producer of knowledge’ as opposed to the more prevalent metaphor of ‘professor as deliverer of instructional services.’ The aim is to provoke students to learn how to learn.

6)   The tone of any course should stress unanxious expectation, trust until abused, decency, fairness, generosity, and tolerance.

Within this set of principles there are two inextricably linked conceptions, the first is that of learning, and the second is that of teaching. Learning does not occur in isolation, it is not passive, nor is it the same for each student. What can be said is that learning is an active social process involving both interaction and interpretation. Just as students learn from their course professor, they also learn from each other and from interaction with materials which exist outside the limited set of “required” readings. Additionally, students navigate this learning process by becoming sophisticated problem solvers, using multiple intelligences, and by drawing upon their experiences and existing stocks of knowledge. The courses I develop use a wide range of instructional techniques such as class discussion, small group and oral presentations and written assignments in the attempt to draw more students into participation and active engagement with the material, ideas, concepts, and people associated with the course. Doing so, I believe, also helps the students manage and take ownership of the learning process.

Similarly, teaching does not occur in isolation, though we often act as if it does. Teaching is not passive and it cannot be a static endeavor. Teaching is a process of constant reevaluation and renewal. What could be done better? What isn’t working? What new opportunities or innovations are at my disposal? These are the questions that beg answers. Just as I encourage students to learn how to learn, I learn from them how I can better meet their needs. I learn from faculty who have previously taught the course or similar courses and the dialogue among said parties helps to develop points for reflection. Teaching is an active process –one of engagement, dialogue, and perhaps confrontations with conventional wisdom or other forms of “the way things have always been done.” Teaching must be flexible and accommodating of the “teachable moment” as well as the changing cohorts of students, but still grounded enough not to lose the critical thinking and higher order thinking skills as well as the course content being promoted. In sum, the style, form, and function of teaching must be a dynamic endeavor.

Finally, I have developed an unwavering commitment to teaching high quality courses with high expectations for my students. As a result of my commitments I have come to the conclusion that the teaching of sociology should be done in a sociological manner by stressing the rejection of dichotomous thinking and instead seeking out plausible explanations of social phenomena in the structural, interactional, and environmental conditions of human activity. To that end, while I have high expectations of myself and my students, my foremost goal for all students is the creation of an analytic mindset and a constructively critical approach to knowledge and human social life while developing a competency in the subject matter of the course and course content.

Class Assessment:

Class Discussion                                                                           200 points (20%)  
   Weeks 1 through 8         (25 points each week)
Each week, sudents are asked to participate in three discussion topics by offering quality responses to each of the three discussion topics (by the posted deadline) as well as to two classmates in each discussion thread (by the end of the week). 
 
 
Quizzes                                                                                          100 points (10%)
     Weeks 2, 3, 4, 6, 7       (20 points per quiz)
Short multiple-choice/true-false online quizzes involving 5 to 20 questions based on material from assigned readings.
 
 Institution in My Life” Essay                                                       100 points (10%)
       Week 1
 A 500-750 word essay that reflects on the ways in which our experiences are reflected in our relationship to social institutions and the roles and functions they play in human social life. 

Institution in My Community” Essay                                            100 points (10%) 
    
Week 3 
A 500-750 word essay that explains how social institutions impact the way life in our local communities are organized by drawing on student examples
 from their current hometowns.
 
Institution in the News” Essay                                                       100 points (10%) 
    Week 5 
A 500-750 word essay that explores a current news article and explains 
which social institutions are implicated in the issue and how they are involved.
 
Core Assessment: Data Analysis Assignment                            200 points (20%) 
    Week 7 
A 2500 word essay (maximum, plus tables, figures and references) in which students will choose one of the institutions discussed in this course as their essay focus. The essay must address the following issues:
1.      How has the American form of this institution developed since World War II? 
2.      Compare the American form of this institution to its expression in two other countries? 
3.      Discuss how this institution positively and negatively affects individuals. How might individuals work to change it for the better? 
4.      Apply one institutional theory in an extended critical analysis to more clearly understand the workings of this institution. 
5.      Evaluate how this institution is adapting to pressures from globalization or changes in other institutions. 
Each essay should incorporate the results of several sources of original sociological research, provide clear and well-developed examples for each of your major points, and critically evaluate the effects of this institution in the Information Age.

Proctored Comprehensive Final Exam                                          200 points (20%)   
   Week 8 
Proctored exam involving 40 multiple-choice/true-false questions
(4 points each) and 2 short-answer essays (20 points each).

Grading:

Course grades will be assigned based on the total points earned during the term. The grading scale is as follows: 

Point Range            Grade 
1000-900                   
800-899                     
700-799                     C 
600-699                     
000-599                     F   
 
 In addition, individual assignments will be assessed as follows: 
 
Class Discussion  (Weeks 1 through 8)           
      Response to each initial Discussion Question posted by established deadline         up to 9 points
      
Responses to at least two classmates in each discussion thread by end of week    up to 12 points
      
Quality of weekly comments and responses                                                          up to 4 points
 
Institutional Essays* (Weeks 1, 3, and 5) 
Clarity of Thought                                                                        5 – 20 points 
Organization                                                                                 5 – 20 points 
Attention to Issues and Ideas Raised in the Course                      5 – 20 points 
Attention to Grammar/Punctuation/Structure of Writing            5 – 20 points 
General Assessment                                                                      5 – 20 points 
* A detailed Essay Scoring Guide can be found in Course Documents  
 
Data Analysis Assignment* (Week 7)
Clarity of Thought                                                                                                                               3 – 15 points 
Organization                                                                                                                                        3 – 15 points 
Attention to Issues and Ideas Raised in the Course                                                                             3 – 15 points 
Attention to Grammar/Punctuation/Structure of Writing                                                                   3 – 15 points 
Synthesizes and Analyzes Multiple Sources of Sociological Research                                                 3 – 15 points 
Provides examples to highlight Major Points of the Analysis                                                             3 – 15 points 
Critically evaluates the effects of the Institution in the Information Age                                           3 – 15 points 
Explains how the American form of this institution developed since World War II                            9 – 15 points 
Compares the American form of this institution to its expression in two other countries                  9 – 15 points 
Discusses how the institution positively and negatively affects individuals                                        9 – 15 points 
Applies an institutional theory                                                                                                             9 – 15 points 
Evaluates institutional adaption to pressures from globalization or changes in other institutions    9 – 15 points 
General Assessment                                                                                                                             4 – 20 points 
* A detailed Data Analysis Assignment Scoring Guide can be found in Course Documents
 

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late assignments will be accepted by the course instructor. However, ALL work that is submitted and/or received past the established deadline will be assessed a penalty of 50% of the value of the assignment. This policy does not extend to weekly discussion topics. Students who do not participate in the weekly discussions in a timely manner are encouraged to participate in past discussions as possible, but no points will be awarded for said late participation.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
 

Week 1: Understanding Social Institutions – Theories, Concepts, and Analysis

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

Henning, “Institution” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Ingram, “Institutionalism” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

________, “Institution” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/institution)

________, “Social Institutions” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/social institutions)

 

 

Discussion Topics

Social Theory and Institution(s)

Tuesday

Institution in My Life

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

 

Assignment

"Institution in My Life" Essay

Sunday

 

 

Week 2: Institutional Change in Contemporary American History

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

6 – Generation Broke: Growth of Debt among Young Americans

7 – Retirement’s Unraveling Safety Net

10 – From Poverty to Prosperity

26 – Domestica

29 – Flat Broke With Children

 

 

Discussion Topics

Social Change and Institutional Change

Tuesday

Institutional Change and Lived Experience

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

 

Assignment

Quiz #1

Sunday

 

 

Week 3: Family, Education and Religion

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

20 – Beyond the 'M' Word

22 – More than Welcome: Families Come First in Sweden

33 – The Shame of the Nation

34 – Class Conflict: The Rising Cost of College

Photiadis & Schnabel, “Religion: A Persistent Institution in Changing Appalachia” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

 

 

Discussion Topics

The Family in International Perspective

Tuesday

Family, Education, and Religion and 'Functional Imperatives'

Thursday

Institution in My Community

Saturday

 

 

Assignments

Quiz #2

Sunday

Institution in My Community” Essay

Sunday

 

           

Week 4: Work/Economy, Politics and the Media

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

2 – Tax Cheats and their Enablers

3 – The Commercial

5 – Nickel and Dimed

8 – The Squandering of America

 Silverblatt, “Media as Social Institution” (.pdf file in Course Documents)                                                                       Appalachia” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

 

 

Discussion Topics

Work and Economy

Tuesday

The Media

Thursday

Politics, Policy, and Institutional Forms

Saturday

 

Assignments

Quiz #3

Sunday

 

           

Week 5: Law, The Justice System and the Military

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

38 – Wild Pitch: “Three Strikes, You’re Out” and Other Bad Calls on Crime

40 – Unjust Rewards

Perry, “Organizations as Coercive Institutions” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Soeters, “Organizations as Total Institutions” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Dornbusch, “The Military Academy as Assimilating Institution” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

 

 

Discussion Topics

Laws and the Justice System

Tuesday

The Miltary and the Total Institution

Thursday

Institution in the News

Saturday

 

Assignments

Institution in the News” Essay

Sunday

 

 

Week 6: Science, Technology, Medicine and Health Care

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

Merton, “Social and Cultural Contexts of Science” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Rees, “Science Across Cultures” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Zola, “Medicine as an Institution of Social Control” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

30 – Sick Out of Luck

31 – Why Not the Best?

32 – Universal Health Care…

 

 

Discussion Topics

Science as Institution?

Tuesday

Medicine and Health Care

Thursday

Institutional Arrangements and Social Control

Saturday

 

Assignments

Quiz #4

Sunday

 

 

Week 7: An International Perspective on American Social Institutions

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

41 – Blowback

42 – Oil, Geography, and War

43 – A Global Strategy Against Terrorism

 

 

Discussion Topics

Culture and the Structure and Function of Institutions

Tuesday

Cross-Cultural Perspective on Social Institutions

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

 

 

Assignment

Quiz #5

Sunday

Core Assessment: Data Analysis Assignment

Sunday

 

 

Week 8: Institutionalized Inequalities: Systems of Stratification – Race, Class, and Gender

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

 

Readings

9 – Increasing Inequality in the United States

12 – As the Rich-Poor Gap Widens...

13 – The Roots of White Advantage

14 – Schools and Prisons: Fifty Years after Brown v. Board of Education

17 – The Conundrum of the Glass Ceiling


19 – Learning Silence

 

 

Discussion Topics

Social Inequality as Social Institution

Tuesday

Race, Class and Gender Inequality in the U.S.

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

 

Assignment

Proctored Final Exam

Sunday

 

 

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 (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Plagiarism:
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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:


Incomplete Policy
Receiving an “Incomplete” (a course grade of "I") indicates that the student was unable to complete coursework due to extenuating circumstances within the time allotted in the term.  The notation "I" may be issued only upon completion of a Contract for Incomplete signed by the instructor and student, and placed on file in the Office of the Registrar. 

Additionally, please be aware that:



       
  • An Incomplete may NOT be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
       

  •    
  • Instructors may grant an extension of no more than 60 days after the last day of the term in which the "I" was granted.  However, a student may submit a written request for one 30-day extension beyond the 60 days.
       

  •    
  • Failure on the part of the student to complete the work will result in a grade of "F".
       

  •    
  • Taking an "I" may suspend a student from receiving financial aid benefits.




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Last Updated:5/29/2012 7:01:49 AM