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College Sociology


Introduction to Sociology

Southwest Minnesota State University

SMSU College Now Program

Nikolas Proehl, Supervising Professor

Gloria A. Nachreiner SEHS Teacher

Class Hour:                 Period 1 8:00 -8:47

Location:                     Room 204 and Room 108

Phone:                         507-794-7963 or stop by my room


Prep Hours:                11:40-12:05


I. Course Objectives

This course is designed to provide you with a sociological perspective, and to help you develop a critical framework from which to view, understand, and interpret society. The promise of sociology is to ignite our imaginations, developing what C. Wright Mill’s termed a “sociological imagination”, enabling us to see society in a different way. Using our sociological imagination, we will be better able to understand the connection between the individual and society. The value of sociology lies in linking the micro and macro perspective; showing how the most private elements of our lives are affected by larger social structures such as cultures, groups, organizations, and social institutions. Sociologists have played an important role in contributing to our understanding of social reality. In this course, we will explore the kinds of issues, problems and questions that have traditionally caught the attention of sociologists. We will explore the methods that sociologists use to answer important questions about society. Sociologists do not agree on the answers or solutions to the puzzles that we find in the social world. However, sociologists can provide us with plausible explanations of issues and problems. This sociological dialogue is essential in public debate. Finally, we will explore our role in making, maintaining and changing society. We will examine how we collectively create society, and how individuals play a role in shaping and changing society.


II. Text

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 11th edition New York,



III. Course Requirements

  1. There will be three in class exams. These exams will consist of multiple choice and essay questions, and will cover all of the materials presented prior to the listed date of the exams. The materials included in the exams will be drawn from the text, supplemental readings, lectures, and videos. The exams are designed to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of sociological terms, concepts, and perspectives, and your ability to critically apply them to real world situations.. Each of the exams will be worth 50 points and will be graded on a

                     90% A,

        80% B,

        70%  C,

         60%  D scale. You may not use the text or your notes during the exams.


2. Section based quizzes will be given to ensure that you have mastered the material presented in class. Each quiz may be taken only once. Any quiz not completed by the assigned date will receive a score of “0”, unless prior arrangements have been made.

There are 12 quizzes, each worth 10 points.


There is a time limit assigned to the quizzes, if you exceed the time unanswered questions will not be graded. You may use your notes and the text while taking the quizzes, if you choose, but be mindful of the time restriction.


3. Regular class attendance and active participation in discussion groups is required. Excessive absences will adversely affect your final course grade.

Attendance in class and participation in discussion groups will be monitored throughout the semester.

4. Discussion groups will be held at various points throughout the semester, and will focus on, but not be limited to, material covered since the previous discussion group. Thoughtful, meaningful participation is expected, demonstrating a critical understanding of the material covered. Additional guidelines will be provided in class.


5. Three online (D2L) discussions will take place over the course of the semester. The topics for these discussions will be determined at the time they are posted. In these discussions, you are expected to make thoughtful, quality additions to the discussion, utilizing material from class, as well as any outside materials you think may further illustrate your point. Each student is expected to provide one “top-level” comment, and then respond to three other comments within the discussion, thus ensuring that all points have a chance to be discussed.

6. Assignments will be given addressing the material covered over the preceding section. These assignments make take a variety of forms, and are designed to challenge your critical thinking skills, rather than your ability to retain class materials.

7. Students will be expected to complete a final research paper. Students will be expected to submit their choice of topic in written form to the instructor no later than the midterm date for approval. Further details regarding the nature of this project will be available in class.


IV. Grading Summary

Summary of Course Requirements:

1. Exam 1 (50 pts.)

2. Exam 2 (50 pts.)

3. Exam 3 (50 pts.)

4. Quizzes (120 pts.)

5. Discussions (60 pts.)

6. Assignments (60 pts.)

5. Term Paper (60 pts.)

There are a total of 450 possible points for this class. Letter grades will be determined on the following scale:

Grading Scale                                      Final Grading Scale

90- 100            A                                    405-450          A

80-89               B                                    360-404          B

70-79               C                                    315-359          C

60-69               D                                    270-314          D

Below 60         F                                     Below 270      F

V. Attendance Policy

There will be no make up of exams, discussion groups, or assignments. Exceptions to this will only be granted for students who have provided prior notification of absence as well as written evidence of illness or family crisis.

VI. Academic Honesty

Money and property are the currency of the economic world. Stealing money or property is an ethical violation and a criminal act. Offenders are punished, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Words and ideas are the “currency” of the academic world. Stealing words or ideas is a grievous violation of scholarly norms. Offenders will be punished, and ignorance about plagiarism is no excuse. It is the student’s responsibility to understand what plagiarism is and to refrain from engaging in it. While it can take many forms, plagiarism essentially involves presenting someone else’s words or ideas as if they are your own. If you have ever “cut and pasted” content from another source into your own work without acknowledgement, you have engaged in plagiarism.

The most common forms of plagiarism can be easily avoided by following two basic rules. First, if you are literally reproducing someone else’s words in your own academic work, place those words in quotation marks immediately followed by a specific citation and reference so the reader can easily locate the original source. Second, if you are paraphrasing someone else’s idea that is original, unique or otherwise distinct to them, you should also provide an immediate citation and reference so the reader can easily locate the original source. Whenever drawing on the work of others, the basic safeguard is to always acknowledge the source of specific words or distinctive ideas and never create the impression that they are your own work.

Any form of academic dishonesty (such as cheating on quizzes/exams and plagiarism of someone else’s writing) is considered a serious offense. Those who are caught engaging in such activities will receive no points/grade for the body of work in question. Additionally, that student may also be referred to the College Now Program Director for possible further sanctions, per the SMSU policy.

VI. Class Schedule and Assignments and Time Management Issues:

This course will require a steady, but not overwhelming time commitment. You will be responsible for managing your time in order to meet the class reading and assignment schedule. If you can pace your reading and assignment schedule, this course will be relatively stress free. For example, depending on your course load, think of appropriating 120 hours to a three credit course. You will spend approximately 30 hours during the semester in class, 30 hours reading, 20 hours studying for exams, 20 hours completing assignments and preparing for discussion, and 20 hours crafting your final project.

All of the assignments listed below are to be read prior to the pertinent class section.


1 Introduction, Sociological Imagination, Theoretical Perspectives

Text: Chapter 1

2 Sociological Research

Text: Chapter 2

3 Culture

Text: Chapter 3

4 Socialization

Text: Chapters 4


5 Social Interaction, Groups and Social Structure.

Text: Chapter 5

6 The Mass Media

Text: Chapter 6

7 Deviance, Crime, and Social Control

Text: Chapter 7

8 Education and Religion

Text: Chapter 13


9 Stratification and Social Mobility in the United States

Text: Chapter 8

10 Government and the Economy

Text: Chapter 14

11 Global Inequality and Change

Text: Chapter 9

12 Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Inequality

Text: Chapters 10 & 11




  • Chapter 1. Jan 11 -15th Quiz closes January 17th
  • Chapter 2. Jan 18-22rd Quiz closes January 24th
  • Chapter 3. Jan 25-29th Quiz closes January 31st.
  • Chapter 4. Feb 1-5th Quiz closes February 7th




  • Chapter 5. Feb. 10-19 Quiz closes February 21st
  • Chapter 6. Feb. 22nd-26th Quiz closes February 28th
  • Chapter 7. February 29th March 4th Quiz closes March 6th
  • Chapter 13. March 7-11th Quiz closes March 13th



EXAM MARCH 16th Wednesday


  • Chapter 8 March 21st 25th Quiz closes March 29th
  • Chapter 14 March 28th April 1st Quiz closes April 3th
  • Chapter 9 April 4th-8th Quiz closes April 10th
  • Chapter 10-11 April 11th -15th Quiz closes April 17th




PAPER APRIL 20th TO MAY 20th .