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Social and Political Systems Courses

SPS 125

Trial Advocacy

This course teaches the fundamentals of trial procedure and advocacy. Taking part in simulated trial exercises, students deliver opening statements, conduct direct and cross-examinations, admit physical and demonstrative evidence, and perform closing arguments. Students develop case strategies, practice when and how to make objections, and learn to use persuasive language to argue their best case while respecting the ethical and procedural rules of the court. The culmination of the course is a full trial in which students act as attorneys and witnesses.

SPS 150
Peace and Conflict Resolution (S-L)*
This is an introduction to the broad field of peace studies and conflict resolution. The course explores three themes: the causes of conflict and violence between and within communities; the uses of nonviolent action in conflict situations; and methods of conflict resolution. The course also involves a practical application of conflict resolution perspectives and techniques through a service project for the College or the larger community. Spring. Group: II or IDS.
*Designated as a Service-Learning course. See the Service Learning course section.

SPS 211
Special Topics in Public Policy
Selects a single topic to illustrate the processes and controversies of social policy formulation. Focus varies with each course offering. Topics might include: AIDS, domestic violence, poverty, and/or drugs. Offered selectively. Prerequisite: Any of the following: SPS 101 (deleted course offered prior to FA16), PS 101, or permission. Group: II.

SPS 220
Local Action—Global Change
Local communities around the world are facing similar problems, regardless of which part of the globe they inhabit. This course focuses on a selection of broad issues and the questions and struggles inherent in them; topics include human rights and social justice, homelessness, and AIDS. The class explores the local and global manifestations of these problems and develops “action plans” for addressing them. Fall. Prerequisites: SPS 101 or permission. Group: II or IDS.  Social Systems Thematic Area Course.

SPS 305
Social Movements and Social Change
Examines the role of organized social movements in promoting social change. Considers theories of social movements, along with an analysis of their life cycles. Examples include: environmentalism in the US and elsewhere; ethno-regional movements in Europe, North America, and South Africa; sub-cultural movements, e.g., the pro-choice and anti-abortion movements. Offered Selectively.  Prerequisite: Any one of the following: SPS 101 (deleted course offered prior to FA16), PS 101; or permission. Group: II.

SPS 381
Methods of Social Research (5 credits) (S-L)*
This course introduces students to research methods and statistics used to answer questions posed in applied settings. We will examine the nature of social science research and describe the methods that set it apart from our more common sense attempts at human inquiry, such as including the posing of hypotheses, development of operational definitions and research measures. Using a community-based research (CBR) model students partner with community organizations to design a research project that answers questions posed by the partner. Students learn various research designs, data collection techniques and build knowledge of descriptive statistics. The research proposal is carried out in SPS 382: Practice of Social Science Research. Fall. Prerequisite: Any one of the following: SO101, PS111, PS125. Group: II (for students who entered prior to Fall 2016).  This course satisfies the QR requirement.  *Designated as a Service-Learning course. See the Service Learning course section

SPS 382
Practice of Social Science Research Methods (5 credits) (S-L)*
Students apply the principles of good research methods and statistics to the community-based projects developed in SPS 381: Methods of Social Research. They increase their knowledge of specific methods of relevance to the projects themselves and in social science disciplines. Students develop their knowledge and competence with inferential statistics. The major assignment for the semester is the completion of the research project from the proposal phase to data collection, culminating in the production of an APA research report and presentation to the community.  Spring. Prerequisite: SPS 381, or permission. Group: II. (for students who entered prior to Fall 2016).  *Designated as a Service-Learning course. See the Service Learning course section

SPS 490
Senior Seminar
This course is a capstone seminar for the B.A. in social and political systems. Students actively engage in the current debates and research related to the social and political studies program. Each year the substantive focus of the course varies, but may include topics such as immigration, welfare reform, or the relationship between democracy and violence. The course involves a significant independent research project that contributes to the student’s College portfolio. Fall. Prerequisite: Senior status. Group: II.

SPS 495
Senior Internship (6 credits)
Provides students with firsthand experience in professional settings related to sociology and/or political science (e.g., social service and government agencies, research, nonprofit organizations). At an appropriate site, students apply and evaluate theories learned in the two disciplines, and acquire new skills that promote career development. Involves 16 hours a week at the placement site, a weekly seminar focusing on common perspectives and work-related issues, relevant and individual presentations. Spring. Prerequisite: Senior status. Group: II.