Core Curriculum

The Social World

Course Structure

A menu of three-hour courses to be taken from the first year onward.

Learning Objectives

  • To study selected questions about human beings and the social, cultural, economic and political world in which they are embedded.
  • To develop an understanding of the variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods social scientists use to study the social world.
  • To develop the ability to discern the social, scientific and ethical dimensions of issues in the social world, and to understand the interaction between a society's values and its definition of social problems.

"Many students may have never questioned their assumptions about health, or vulnerable or marginalized populations," yet students in Dr. Priscilla Ryder's Health Disparities course engage directly with the issues of health inequalities, public health, social justice, diversity, and the social determinants of health.  Students' perceptions of what "health" means are challenged and enriched by interactions with community partners-mentoring, tutoring, kinship care and support-at places such as the you and kinship care programs at the Martin Luther King Community Center and the Kaleidoscope Youth Center.

In his course, Understanding Global Issues in the Twenty-First Century, Dr. Antonio Menendez expects students to "critically reflect on issues that affect both the United States and the international community," and to view these issues as keenly interrelated.  The goal, Menendez indicates, is for students to "gain a greater sense of responsibility for their community's role in fostering just relations with other societies."

Dr. Brooke Beloso expects her students, in Intersections of Identity, to explore the social construction of difference and inequality with particular focus on race, gender, sexuality and class (primarily) in the United States.  And like Ryder's students, Beloso's students directly engage with the the social, cultural, economic and political world in which they are embedded through active and reflective protest.  "Students are able to discuss hot topic issues," she explains, "in a safe space that they co-create… in this setting," she continues, students are "able to both refine their opinions and change them."  They come to better understand the interaction between a society's values and its definition of social problems, and to better discern the social, scientific, and ethical dimensions of issues in the society in which they live.