Social Problems


  2. A. Course Title: Social Problems
    B. Course Number: SO 223 - 30353
    C. Semester: Fall 2017
    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.



    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 as a facilitated seminar, drawing from the experiences and perspectives of the students as well as the readings, class exercises, videos, and presentations. Assignments are to be read prior to the scheduled class time for that topic on the syllabus. 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. All discussions will be civil in nature and opinions are useful as jump off points to establish critical thinking.

    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 grades and progress.

    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 financial aid. Attendance will be taken every class.

    Exams: Four exams will be administered and the format will be multiple choice covering issues from the text, handouts, and class discussions. All exams will be taken in class.

    Class assignments: Each week there will be short answer questions that must be answered completely in order to receive full credit. The assignment is due at the beginning of the next class.

    This class opens itself up to discussion of 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 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.


    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 in Mansur Hall room 123 and 124.

    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 21, 2016. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.


    We will cover one/two chapters each 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 24. Chapter 1

    Week 2. August 31. Chapter 2

    Week 3. September 7. Chapters 1 & 2 Test.

    Week 4. September 14. Chapter 3.

    Week 5. September 21. Chapter 4.

    Week 6. September 28. Chapter 5.

    Week 7. October 5. Chapter 6.

    Week 8. October 12. Chapters 3-6 Test.

    Week 9. October 19. Chapter 7.

    Week 10. October 26. Chapters 8 & 9.

    Week 11. November 2. Chapter 10.

    Week 12. November 9. Chapters 7- 10 Test.

    Week 13. November 16. Chapters 11 & 12.

    Week 14. November 23. Thanksgiving Break.

    Week 15. November 30. Chapter 13.

    Week 16. December 7. Chapter 14.

    Week 17. December 14. Chapters 11- 14 Test.