SO210 Social Institutions

for S1QQ 2013

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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.


SO 210 Social Institutions


S1QQ 2013 HI


Beal, John G.


Senior Instructor Sociology/ Adjunct


USU, MS Sociology with Graduate Certificate in Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
MSU, MS Business Management with Graduate Certificate in Knowledge Management
WSU, BA Sociology and English

Office Hours

Before and after class and by appointment

Daytime Phone

270.350.7220 (cell phone and text)


Semester Dates

1/14/2013 to 3/10/20113

Class Days


Class Time

4:30 - 7:15 PM


SO141 Introduction to Sociology

Credit Hours



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

Additional Resources:
Provided by instructor

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

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:

43 provocations
12 section essay quizzes
Final essay exam
Class participation
Bonus Points (earned by students bringing in related subject material for class discussion and analysis) 


43 provocations: 10 points each for a total of 430 points (provocations will be graded on form and content)
12 section essay quizzes: 20 points each for a total of 240 points
Final essay exam: 100 points (exam will be graded on form and content)
Class participation: 10 points per class period for a total of 160 points
Bonus points (earned by students bringing in related subject material for class discussion and analysis): 5 points each up to 70 points
Total points possible: 1,000

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.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
No texting during class sessions.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1.
Introductions, course overview and expectations, analysis of liberal and conservative perspectives, Preface and Introduction to Social Problems
Systemic Problems--Part One, Corporate Power; Part Two, Economic Crisis with provocations; quiz
Week 2.
Systemic Problems (cont.)--Part Three, Inequality; Part Four, Racism; Part Five, Sexism with provocations; quiz
Week 3.
Institutions in Crisis--Part Six, The Family with provocations; quiz
Week 4.
Institutions in Crisis (cont.)--Part Seven, The Environment with provocations; quiz
Week 5.
Institutions in Crisis (cont.)--Part Eight, Work and Welfare;  Part Nine, Health and Medical Care with provocations; quiz
Week 6.
Institutions in Crisis (cont.)--Part Ten, The Schools with provocations; quiz
Week 7.
Institutions in Crisis (cont.)--Part Eleven, Crime and Justice with provocations; quiz
Week 8.
Institutions in Crisis (cont.)--Part Twelve, America in the World with provocations; quiz, Final Exam








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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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 95

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

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: .

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:12/12/2012 4:01:08 PM