Social Problems


  2. A. Course Title: Social Problems
    B. Course Number: SO 223 - 10080
    C. Semester: Spring 2019
    D. Days/Time: M W F 12:00:00 PM - 12:50:00 PM
    E. Credit Hours: 3
    F. Instructor: Pruitt, Debbie
    G. Office: Heidel Hall (HH) 213
    H. Email Address:
    I. Office Phone: (575) 492-2812
    J. Office Hours: Monday: 8:00:00 AM-9:00:00 AM (MST); 11:00:00 AM-12:00:00 PM (MST);
    Tuesday: 8:00:00 AM-9:30:00 AM (MST); 12:15:00 PM-1:15:00 PM (MST);
    Wednesday: 8:00:00 AM-9:00:00 AM (MST); 11:00:00 AM-12:00:00 PM (MST);
    Thursday: 8:00:00 AM-9:30:00 AM (MST); 12:15:00 PM-1:15:00 PM (MST);
    Friday: 8:00:00 AM-9:00:00 AM (MST);
    K. Time Zone: Mountain Time
    L. Prerequisite(s): None
    M. Corequisite(s): None
    N. Class Location: HH204

    This course includes social problems with analysis of the social principles in group living as well as individual problems arising from social class, social disorganization, and maladjustment. It includes causes, effects, and remedial measures. This is a three credit hour course.


    Social Problems is the study of current aspects of our social system that are dysfunctional. A social problem exists when an influential group asserts that a certain social condition affecting a large number of people is a problem and may be remedied by collective action.

    This course is a general education course with transferability to New Mexico, Texas and other post-secondary schools, but it is always advisable to check with the receiving four-year institution.



    1. SOCIAL PROBLEMS A DOWN-TO-EARTH APPROACH; Henslin, J.M.; Allyn & Bacon; Eleventh Edition, 2014. ISBN#978-0-205-96512-0.
    NOTE: This is the newest edition; prior editions are acceptable but will not include recent findings.


    You can buy your books online at the NMJC Bookstore.


    This class will be run in a lecture format, drawing from the readings, class exercises, videos, and presentations as well as the experiences and perspectives of the instructor and students. Assignments are to be read prior to the scheduled class time for that topic on the syllabus. Your questions, comments and reactions to the text can be important contributions to our class discussion.

    Exams: 4@100 pts. 400 points
    Reaction papers: 2@50 pts. 100 points
    Research paper 100 points
    Attendance 100 points
    Discussion participation: 14@25 pts. 350 points
    Total Points available 1050 points

    Exams: 4 exams to cover text/lecture material worth 100 points each. Each exam will be multiple choice and 50 questions. The final exam will not be comprehensive. All tests will be completed on Canvas, the distance learning medium for NMJC. Exams must be taken on the scheduled date unless special arrangements have been made. Each exam covers approximately one quarter of the course. Exams will be timed in order to minimize cheating and correct answers can be viewed after the test closes. Once you open the exam in Canvas, be prepared to complete it. Exams will be opened enough days that there should be no excuse for not taking the tests on time. Please contact the instructor if you need to make special arrangements.

    Final exam will be comprehensive and cover the State of New Mexico and the institutions mandated learning objectives to ensure understanding. In addition to a reliable computer to complete homework assignments, students must have a reliable Internet connection to complete exams.

    Round-up: If a student is within one point of less (1.00) for the next letter grade, this instructor has the prerogative to round up the final grade based on participation and attendance. For example, if your grade is an 89.58, and you have come to class regularly and participated, I can round your B to an A.

    Reaction Papers: Two reaction papers will be assigned and assessed at 50 points each. Points will be assessed based on the completeness of your response and addressing the posted reference information. Papers will cover video presentations and discussion in class. They will be based on criteria provided by the instructor. Instructor seeks your opinion/reaction of a current event as well as your understanding of the dynamics of the topic. Please let the instructor know if you will be unable to view the two videos because of the sensitive nature of the material presented. Papers will be uploaded on Canvas. As current events become available, this assignment could change.

    Discussions: This class opens itself up to discussions and some students are hesitant to speak up and share their opinion in a classroom setting. There will be discussion questions posed on Canvas that relate to the chapter material and students are required to comment and provide their opinion. They are also required to respond to their fellow students. This allows everyone to express their opinion on topics and discussions are not limited to topics posed by the instructor. Discussions are graded and worth 25 points each. Points may be deducted for not responding to a minimum of two classmates or not providing some depth in the response. Remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion and be considerate of otherís opinions.

    Research Paper: One research paper is required for this class. Students will select a pertinent topic for social problems. This opens up a lot of different topics. If you are unsure whether your topic is pertinent to the class, please get instructor permission. Papers will be at least three, but not more than five pages in length. 12 point font, double spaced. Cite at least three sources, using ASA (American Sociological Association) format. ASA guidelines will be provided as a link on Canvas. REMEMBER PLAGIARISM MAKES A PAPER UNACCEPTABLE AND "TURNITIN" WILL BE UTILIZED. Also, remember that Wikipedia is not a source. If you use that website, go to the bottom of the article and research the references the author used in the information.

    All assignments are open a sufficient time to allow students to submit work. Therefore, LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

    Attendance: As in a job setting, you are expected to attend class and notify the instructor if you are unable to attend class. Failure to attend regularly and participate has been shown to result in a lowering of your grade as well as affecting your financial aid eligibility. Attendance therefore is encouraged. Roll will be taken every class and attendance will be maintained in Canvas where absences and tardy are tracked. 100 points are available for attendance. Points are lost by being absent and tardy. A roll sheet will be passed around each class period and failure to sign in could result in being counted absent.

    Excessive absenteeism will additionally affect your grade. Missing a quarter of the class dates will result in a lowering of your letter grade by one (your A now becomes a B). Missing half of the class will result in lowering your letter grade by two (youíre a now becomes a C). For example, a MWF class may have 44 classroom days. Missing eleven to twenty lectures would results in a lowering of your letter grade. If you do not wish to attend class, consider taking an online class instead.


    It is recommended that you download Firefox or Google Chrome when working on Canvas from your home computer. The software that is most compatible is Microsoft Word when writing papers to be submitted on Canvas. Google Docs may also work. Consider downloading Office 365 if you need the program or please use a NMJC computer or convert your work to Word prior to submission. Uploading assignments via your phone or tablet will not work in Canvas. There is a link on Canvas on how to use Office 365 and download it for free onto your computer if you are a student at NMJC.

    The Canvas help desk is the first resource when needing help with any issues that arise with Canvas. The phone is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Leave a message if no immediate answer. If you call the help line, give them your name, class you are having problems with, your ďAĒ number and the CRN of the class you are calling about. The CRN can be located at the top of your online class and is the second five digit number. The Canvas help desk number is 399-2199.

    If you have a smart phone, consider downloading the Canvas app. This will enable you to see notices and changes that are made to Canvas assignments. Make checking Canvas a regular habit as the instructor will send messages and notices via Canvas. Mobile and tablet devices are for viewing the courses only and not for submitting assignments.

    The first week of class, please complete Module Zero on Canvas. This will familiarize you with Canvas as well as completing a variety of assignments. This is a requirement.

    Instructor Response Time: I will make every effort to grade work in a timely manner. With large classes, this could take a while, but every effort will be made to report grades within 48 hours after due date.

    This class opens itself up to discussion on current events. Students should be aware of social happenings and be prepared to discuss them. There are no wrong opinions, just lack of any opinion at all. We will always be courteous of each other and agree to disagree on some topics. Students should be prepared to participate and stay abreast of current events for class discussions.


    New Mexico Junior Collegeís institutional student learning outcomes represent the knowledge and abilities developed by students attending New Mexico Junior College. Upon completion students should achieve the following learning outcomes along with specific curriculum outcomes for respective areas of study:


    New Mexico Junior Collegeís Social/Behavioral Sciences Department endorses the Core Competencies as established by the State of New Mexico. Within our respective fields, as appropriate, students should:

    A. Identify, describe, and explain human behaviors and how they are influenced by social structures, institutions, and processes within the contexts of complex and diverse communities.

    B. Articulate how beliefs, assumptions, and values are influenced by factors such as politics, geography, economics, culture, biology, history, and social institutions.

    C. Describe ongoing reciprocal interactions among self, society, and the environment.

    D. Apply the knowledge base of the social and behavioral sciences to identify, describe, explain, and critically evaluate relevant issues, ethical dilemmas, and arguments.

    Selected Specific Competencies will be used to demonstrate mastery of the above.


    After completing this course the student should be able to:
    *Identify what constitutes a social problem and why.
    *Identify the three major theories that are used to interpret social problems
    *Explain how alcohol and drugs constitute social problems and their effects on society
    *Explain why deviance is culturally relative.
    *Explain why violence constitutes a social problem and its effects on society.
    *Describe the major features of the criminal justice system in the United States as well as the functions and dysfunctions of deviance
    *Be aware of the social inequality issues facing this country and the policies addressing poverty.
    *Respond to racial and ethnic relations and the problems that arise
    *Explain gender and sexual orientation as they pertain to social problems.
    *Discuss the trends and social changes that are likely to affect family relationships
    *Discuss the likely future of war and terrorism
    *Instill a sense that problems indeed can be solved, while at the same time tempering this optimism with a realistic understanding of the difficulties involved in achieving this end.


    MAKE-UP WORK POLICY: Please make and effort to turn in all assignments on time. If an emergency causes a delay, contact the instructor as soon as possible and we will work it out. Exams must be taken on the date scheduled unless other arrangements have been made. When in doubt, communicate with the instructor quickly! Email or texting is fine and INCLUDE YOUR NAME. Remember: NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED, so use your time wisely.


    Students will be held responsible for the information on these pages.

    Academic Honesty
    Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in online academic and professional matters. The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or otherwise fails to meet these standards. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty in quizzes, tests, or assignments; claiming credit for work not done or done by others; and nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other College records. Cheating or gaining illegal information for any type of graded work is considered dishonest and will be dealt with accordingly.

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information
    Any student requiring special accommodations should contact the Special Needs Student Services Coordinator at (575) 492-2576 or by e-mail at

    Attendance Policy
    Attendance is required at every session of each course for which the student is enrolled. When unavoidable circumstances make attendance impossible, students must provide a satisfactory explanation of their absences to their professors. College-sponsored activities are considered excused absences and the appropriate sponsor of those students who will be absent from class will notify professors. Students having absences due to college-sponsored activities will need to make arrangements with the affected classes / professor to take care of required work; however, arrangements for make-ups should be made within a reasonable time frame, usually within one week of the absence. Regarding make-up work, absences due to late registration are considered the same as regular absences.

    Cell Phones/Pagers
    All cell phones and pagers must be turned off when the student is participating in any lecture, laboratory, or other learning activity.

    Classroom Conduct
    The professor is responsible for maintaining a class environment best suited for effective learning. By registering for this class, the student is assumed to have entered into an agreement with New Mexico Junior College and the professor to attend the class regularly and to behave in an appropriate manner at all times. Disruptive behavior may result in the student being removed from the class.

    Food and Drink Policy
    Food items and soft drinks may not be consumed in NMJC classrooms. Students are also discouraged from bringing food and drink items into the classroom even though these items remain in sealed packaging. Bottled water is permissible.

    No Children in the Classroom
    In order to adhere to instructional procedures as well as maintain the safety of children, NMJC’s policy of no children in the classrooms (lecture, lab, etc.) will be followed.

    Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports, or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism violates the academic honesty policy and is considered cheating.

    Smoking/Use of Tobacco
    New Mexico Junior College is cognizant of the health hazards associated with smoking / use of tobacco for the smoker, as well as the non-smoker. In an effort to provide a healthy environment for students, employees, and others who may frequent the campus, NMJC prohibits smoking / use of tobacco inside any campus building or facility.

    Tutoring Assistance
    Free tutoring services are available to all NMJC students through Brainfuse and the Academic Success Center located at the Pannell Library on the 1st floor.

    Withdrawal Policy
    Regular, punctual attendance is required for all classes at NMJC. Although the professor has the right to drop any student who has missed the equivalent of 2 weeks of instruction (based on a 16 week semester) whether itís a face to face, online, or a hybrid course, it is not guaranteed that the professor will drop the student. If the student chooses to stop attending a class, he/she should withdraw from the class by accessing your student account in the T-Bird Web Portal at, or submitting the required paperwork to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.


    We will cover one chapter each week from the text. Some topics may take a bit longer depending on class participation and information, so we will be flexible. The text will be supplemented with handouts, video presentations and internet resources. The purpose of this class is to identify and discuss social problems.

    The instructor will augment the text information and change the format from the textbook to deviate into current events should that become pertinent.

    Following is a tentative semester outline:

    Social Problems Schedule

    Week 1, January 14 Chapter 1. The Sociology of Social Problems

    Week 2, January 21 (MLK holiday 1-21-19). Chapter 2
    Interpreting Social Problems: Aging

    Week 3, January 28 Chapter 3. Social Problems Related to Sexual Behavior
    Video Reaction #1: Pedophelia

    Week 4, February 4 Chapter 3 continued

    Week 5, February 11 Chapter 4. Alcohol and other Drugs

    Week 6. February 18 Chapter 5. Violence in society: Rape & Murder
    Video Raction #2: Rape

    Week 7. February 25 Chapter 5 continued

    Week 8. March 4 Chapter 6. Crime & Criminal Justice

    Week 9. March 11 Chapter 7. Economic Problems: Poverty & Wealth

    Week 10. March 18 Chapter 8. Race & Ethnic Relations

    Week 11. March 25 SPRING BREAK

    Week 12. April 1 Chapter 9. Inequalities of Gender/Sexual Orientation

    Week 13. April 8 Chapter 10. Medical Care: Physical & Mental Illness

    Week 14. April 15 Chapter 11. The Changing Family

    Week 15. April 22 Chapter 12. Urbanization & Population

    Week 16. April 29 Chapter 14. War, Terrorism, and Balance of Power

    May 6-8 FINALS WEEK. Final exam is Tuesday, May 7th at 10:00 to 11:45