Social Problems


  2. A. Course Title: Social Problems
    B. Course Number: SO 223 - 30353
    C. Semester: Fall 2019
    D. Days/Time: M W F 9:00:00 AM - 9:50:00 AM
    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: 10:00:00 AM-11:00:00 AM (MST);
    Tuesday: 10:00:00 AM-11:00:00 AM (MST);
    Wednesday: 10:00:00 AM-11:00:00 AM (MST);
    Thursday: 10:00:00 AM-11:00:00 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.



    Social Problems: A Down-to-Earth Approach. Henslin, James M. 11th Edition. CRN # 978-0-205-96512-0, Pearson Publishing.


    You can buy your books online at the NMJC Bookstore.


    This class will be run as a facilitated seminar, drawing from the experiences and perspectives of the instructor and students as well as the readings, class exercises, videos, and presentations. Text book assignments are to be read prior to the scheduled class time. Your questions, comments and reactions to the readings can be important contributions to our class discussion. Critical thinking is essential for success in this class and opinions are encouraged and in some instances required. Social problems open up diverse and controversial topics, therefore all discussions will be civil in nature and opinions are useful to establish critical thinking.

    Attendance -- As in job settings, you are expected to contact the instructor if you are unable to attend class. Attendance is important and has been shown to be related to better grades. Failure to attend regularly will result in lowering your grade, as well as affecting any financial aid. This is a five week summer class which means that we are covering a 16 week regular semester in an expedited manner. Therefore, missing class is as much as missing a week of a regular semester.

    Roll will be taken every class and attendance will also be maintained in Canvas where absences and tardy are tracked. In addition to the excessive absenteeism policy, 100 points are available for attendance. Points are lost by being absent and tardy. A roll sheet is passed around each class period and failure to sign in could result in being counted absent.

    Online Discussions: Students are sometimes hesitant to speak out in class; therefore, the instructor will post discussion questions to be utilized via Canvas. Questions will be posed in the chapter modules. Each student must respond individually with their opinion and respond to a minimum of two other students.

    Exams: Three exams worth 100 points each will be administered. They are multiple choice questions covering issues from the text, handouts, and class discussions. Exams cover approximately 1/3 of the course and the final is not comprehensive. All exams will be taken on Canvas. Exams will be timed in order to minimize cheating. 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 missing a test. Contact the instructor if you have conflicts.

    Reaction papers: Two videos will be presented that prompt critical thinking and discussion. At the end of the video, a reaction paper will be required and guidelines will be provided prior to the assignment. Each reaction paper is worth 50 points and will be graded on content and completeness based on the information posed by the Instructor. Papers will be uploaded to Canvas.

    Use Microsoft Word or Google Docs when writing papers to be submitted on Canvas. If you do not have either of these word programs, please use a NMJC computer or convert your work to Word prior to submission.

    Grades will be weighted based on the importance of the assignment. Module Zero will count as 0% of overall grade; Exams will count as 75%; written work consisting of homework and reaction papers will count as 25% of grade. Student grades received will be according to the following general standard: 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, 60-69 = D, 59 or less =F. All grades will be maintained in Canvas where you are able to track your points and progress.

    Module Zero. The first week of class, complete Module Zero on Canvas. This will familiarize you with Canvas as well as completing a variety of assignments. This is a required assignment even though it is not graded and you cannot progress further in Canvas until Module Zero is completed.

    Canvas App. If you have a smart phone, consider uploading the Canvas app. This will allow you to receive messages and announcements of any change or information concerning the course. Make a habit of checking Canvas regularly as this is the means of sending messages and notices to students.

    Late Work. Any paper submitted or exam reopened after the due date will have points reduced at 5 points a day. Students must justify why the due date should be extended. Be sure and stay in contact with the instructor if there is a conflict.

    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 dates.

    This class opens itself up to discussion of current events. Students should be aware of social events 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 a family 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.

    The instructor will respond to student email within 24 hours on weekdays and 48 hours on weekends. Grades for the course will be posted by July 5.


    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 Tuesday, November 19, 2019. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.


    We will attempt cover two chapters a week from the text. 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:

    Week 1. August 19. Chapter 1. Viewing Social Problems: The Abortion Dilemma

    Week 2. August 26. Chapter 2. Interpreting Social Problems: Aging.

    Week 3. September 2. Chapter 3. Social Problems Related to Sexual Behavior. Video #1 & reaction. NO CLASS ON MONDAY THE 2ND FOR LABOR DAY.

    Week 4. September 3. Chapter 3 continued. Video and reaction paper due.

    Week 5. September 9. Chapter 4. Alcohol and other drugs.

    Week 6. September 16. Chapter 5. Violence in Society: Rape and Murder. Video #2 and reaction.

    Week 7. September 23. Chapter 5 continued. Video and reaction paper due.

    Week 8. September 30. Chapter 6. Crime and Criminal Justice. NO CLASS WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 2 FOR DISCOVER NMJC DAY.

    Week 9. October 7. Chapter 6 continued.

    Week 10. October 14. Chapter 7. Economic Problems: Poverty and Wealth

    Week 11. October 21. Chapter 8. Racial-Ethnic Relations

    Week 12. October 28. Chapter 9. Inequalities of Gender and Sexual Orientation.

    Week 13. November 4. Chapter 10. Medical Care: Physical and Mental Illness. November 7 (Thursday) County Wide In-service

    Week 14. November 11. Chapter 11. The Changing Family

    Week 15. November 18. Chapter 12. Urbanization and Population


    Week 17. December 2. War, Terrorism, and the Balance of Power.