Contemporary Social Issues: Analyzing Critically, Arguing Persuasively

Fall and Winter, 2004-05

Faculty: Stephanie Coontz, Dan Leahy, Charles Pailthorp

Enrollment: 72

Class Standing: This all-level program will offer appropriate support for freshmen students as well as supporting/encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Prerequisites: Students must be competent in the mechanics of writing and reading. Any student who demonstrates problems with grammar, sentence structure or syntax will need to participate in additional writing workshops

Special Expenses: Approximately $30 each quarter for travel expenses.

Total: 16 credits each quarter.

Program is preparatory for
: careers and future studies in law, sociology, social psychology, public policy, education, political science and journalism.

This program will use sociological studies of controversial contemporary issues to aid students in analyzing and participating in current debates over social policy. Among the topics we may consider are such questions as the causes of poverty, what reforms are needed in the nation's schools, how we should evaluate and respond to contemporary trends in marriage, divorce and single parenthood, and what areas of personal life and interpersonal relations are properly subject to regulation. Students will read, outline and evaluate a variety of viewpoints on these issues during fall quarter, preparing themselves to research and debate selected topics during winter quarter.

This program stresses the development of critical tools of analysis, observation and argumentation, both written and oral. To hone those skills, we expect students to acquire and demonstrate competence in several different arenas, including: close textual analysis of authors' assumptions, arguments, and use of evidence; ethnographic observations in the public schools; use of graphs and statistics; expository writing; and oral argumentation.

Credit awarded in: sociology, expository writing, history, debate, ethnography, social psychology, civics, sociology of education and family studies.

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