Perspectives on crime, poverty, hunger, sexual discrimination, alcohol/drug abuse and the threat of war all are on the syllabus for a new course at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The class, Sociology of Social Problems, will focus specifically on marginalized groups including those with addictions, the homeless, or people who identify as LGBTQ+ and on the problems people within these populations experience. Students will review current social issues, possible solutions to those issues and integrate that knowledge into real-life situations.
At UTC, the sociology program and the anthropology program together form the Sociology and Anthropology major, which offers a Bachelor of Science degree.
Sociology of Social Problems is taught by Dr. Lori Waite, a sociology lecturer at UTC and an associate professor of sociology at Tennessee Wesleyan University.
“We will use service-learning as a critical approach to the study of social problems,” Waite said. “Service-learning is a dynamic process that encourages students to become engaged, active participants.”
The course requires students to complete 36 hours of service-learning work at the Salvation Army location on McCallie Avenue, adjacent to campus. The Salvation Army offers clothing, short-term living arrangements and weekly chapel services to those in need.
Students in this course will participate in a clothing drive at the Salvation Army on April 10-11. While completing service-learning hours, students will reflect on their experiences by keeping a journal. The course also requires a final project, a short documentary about students’ experiences working at the Salvation Army.
Sociology of Social Problems is described by Waite as a course for students interested in helping their community and learning how to assist with societal issues.
“Because of the hands-on learning experience students gain in this course,” she said, “it is a steppingstone for people who would like to work in social services and people who want to see their community thrive.”