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Dr. Andrea Button

Email Addresses
My Websites

Assistant Professor

Office Location
O'Donohoe Hall 133
Office Hours

MW:  12:30-4:00

TTH: 1:00-3:30

Voice: (940) 397-4592
  Semester Course # Section Course Name Location Days / Times
Details Fall 2018 2233 Global Social Problems Bolin Hall

SOCIOLOGY 2233 - Social Problems



Instructor: Andrea Button

Office and hours: O’Donohoe-133

MW (9:00-10:30; 1:00-3:30) TTH (10:00-12:00; 2:00-3:30)                                Email:


Course Description and Objectives


Social Problems

This course is a brief introductory examination of problems facing the United States and the world. We will look at these problems with a critical eye that challenges conventional wisdom. The main objective of this course is to produce students that view social problems in a broader, sociological context.


Required Text


  1. Understanding Globalization by Robert Schaeffer (available in bookstore)
  2. Additional, required readings will be posted on the course website.


This Course Includes the Following Content:


  • Definition and theoretical perspectives of social problems
  • Social policies for future prospects of change
  • Inequality of race and gender
  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Crime and violence
  • Healthcare and disease
  • problems of educational discrimination
  • problems related to work and the economy
  • population and immigration
  • war and global insecurity
  • technology and the environment



Skills to be Learned in This Course:


  • Students will display effective communication skills.
  • Students will critically evaluate the appropriateness of rival explanations of current social problems and the implications for a world community.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of ethical decision making and participation in a global marketplace filled with graft and exploitation.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of their role as global citizens in exploring equity, peace, human rights, and sustainability in a global community.




Exams:  There will be 3 exams in this class, in addition to a comprehensive final exam.  Each exam will be worth 100 points (400 points total).


In-class assignments:  There will be 12 unannounced in-class assignments (short essays, pop quizzes, concept application, etc).  These assignments will count toward your final grade in this class, a total of 100 points.  HINT: if attendance is poor, there will most likely be an assignment that day! 


Writing assignments:  This course is writing intensive.  There will be three paper assignments.  The first paper will be an interview paper – you are required to identify and interview 3 individuals regarding perceptions of social problems – this paper will need to be 2-4 pages in length.  Additional details will be given in class.  The second paper will be a reaction paper to one of the topics as presented in a film, a chapter from the text, or through presentation from a campus speaker or lecturer, and will be 2-4 pages in length.  Students will have to analyze the film, chapter, article, or the campus speaker’s presentation in terms of the theoretical perspective presented and how the explanation or argument either supports, or does not support, what the text has to say about the topic, thus showing the student can evaluate evidence provided.  They will also provide input on their position of the issue, an evidence-based position is necessary.  The third paper will be a 5-7 page paper, due at the end of the semester in which the student will have to critically evaluate competing theories of explanation for the social problem they have chosen to examine.  They will be required to develop a more in-depth, comprehensive, examination of the social problem both from the United States and globally, providing complete evidence and a synthesis that is logical and reveals a sense of personal and social responsibility for understanding how and why to work to solve our global social problems.


Class Policies

Readings: This course requires structured reading in order to further your knowledge base. The class discussions will require your careful attention to all assigned reading materials. Please note that you may need to read each chapter more than once. While not difficult to read, the book does contain technical terms that are unfamiliar to many readers.


Discussions: The course will involve frequent, in-depth discussions.  The more that everyone contributes and encourages contributions from others, the more engaging and well-rounded the class will be. Please help to stimulate lively discussion in a context of respect, consideration of others, and open-mindedness.  Also, please be prepared to draw on course material to elaborate your thoughts and comments.

Attendance. Welcome to college-where “free choice” is both a blessing and a curse!  I will not take attendance in this class, but s will cover both lecture and textbook materials.  Lectures will include information not in the textbook, so attendance will prove beneficial to you. In addition, not attending class will result in missed in-class assignments, and will negatively affect your grade.  I will post each lecture outline online -this outline will not include examples given in class during the lecture and discussion.  Students are required to read and abide by the attendance policy of Midwestern State University. 

Tardy Policy:  Being on time to class is important due to the fact that in-class assignments often use material presented in the first few minutes of class, therefore, being late to class will result in a point reduction from total points.


Late Assignments.  Time management is a crucial skill and your timely submission of assignments enables me to provide you with feedback.  Late assignments will be marked down -5% per day.


Academic Honesty: Students are expected to maintain the scholastic integrity of Midwestern State University by refusing to participate, condone, or tolerate any form of academic dishonesty.  Any incidence of academic dishonesty, including cheating and plagiarism, will be referred to the administration for disciplinary action as stated in the Midwestern State University Student Handbook. 


CHEATING: Cheating will not be tolerated under any circumstances and will result in immediate disciplinary action.  “As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so” (Midwestern State University Student Honor Creed)


Makeup work.  There will be no make-up s given in this class.  (Early ing, with instructor approval, is possible).  Students missing a will have the opportunity to replace the resulting “zero” grade as their lowest score with the comprehensive exam.


Borderline grades, curves, and other grade inflators.  I do not curve grades, and I do not “haggle” over grades.  You will receive the grade that you earn.  


General Class conduct

Turn cell phones off during class.  Do not make or accept phone calls during class, or text message-this is a distraction to others, and irritates me.  As a general rule, if you are staring at your lap and smiling, you are likely texting – yes, it is that obvious.  I understand that laptops may be used for taking notes during class, and this is fine with me.  You may not, however, check email, Facebook, surf the web, watch movies, play games, write movie scripts, chat, plan global disasters, start a new cult, or otherwise abuse this privilege.  Please do not disrespect your fellow students and ruin the learning environment for others.



Schedule of Class



Chapter 1 Social Problems

Chapter 3 Racial and Ethnic Inequality

Chapter 4 Gender Inequality





Chapter 2 Wealth and Poverty

Chapter 10 Health Care




Chapter 6 Sexual Orientation

Chapter 7 Pornography and Prostitution

Chapter 6




***Final Exam***




This document does not constitute a contract, expressed or implied, and the instructor reserves the right to make modifications in content and schedule as necessary to promote the best education possible within prevailing conditions affecting this course.



We will be discussing sensitive material in this class.  Please feel free to look ahead at the chapters selected for classroom discussion.  If you have any concerns regarding this material, please talk with the instructor about your concerns.


Details Fall 2017 4133 101 Race and Ethnic Relations Prothro-Yeager Hall 101
Details Fall 2017 1143 Sociological Inquiry Dillard College of Business Administration
Institution Degree Graduation Date
Stephen F. Austin State University Bachelors of Arts - Sociology 2003-8-15 0:0:0
Kansas State University Master of Arts - Sociology 2007-8-17 0:0:0
Kansas State University Doctorate of Philosophy - Sociology 2015-12-18 0:0:0
Institution Position Start Date End Date
Kansas State University Graduate Teaching Assistant/Instructor - Sociology 2007-01-15 2011-5-15
Stephen F. Austin State University Instructor - Sociology 2009-07-09 2011-07-15
Kilgore College Instructor - Sociology 2011-08-15 2014-08-07

Britton, Dana M. & Button, Andrea. 2007. “This Isn’t About Us:” Benefits of Dog Training Programs in a Women’s Prison.  In Miller, Susan (ed.) Criminal Justice and Diversity: Voices from the Field.  Boston: Northeastern University Press. 

Britton, Dana M. & Button, Andrea. 2005.  “Prison Pups: Assessing the Effects of Dog Training Programs in Correctional Facilities”.  Journal of Family Social Work (9) 4: 79-95.