Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

SOCI 365: *American Social Policy

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  Course Description

Emphasis on the nature and development of American social policy, including the history of current structures of social welfare services, the role of policy in service delivery and analyses of current social policy issues including family policy, health care policy, drug policy, tax policy and other topical issues. Cross-listed as SOCI 365.

Prerequisite: Junior Standing

Proctored Exams: None


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Segal, Elizabeth A. . (2016). Social Welfare Policy and Social Programs (4th ed). Cengage.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

Social welfare policies have considerable impact on clients, agencies, and the general public. In order to be effective, human service workers need to understand the policy environment in which they work, including knowledge of policy and processes, and have the ability to critically analyze policies.

This course examines the historical, political, and economic influences in the development and evolution of social welfare policy. The formation and implementation of policies will be studied with examples taken from both the state and national levels. Some international comparisons will also be made. The role of the voluntary and for-profit sectors in implementing policy will be discussed as will the role of technology in understanding social welfare policy and advocating for policy change.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the values that shape American social welfare policy.
  2. Describe the process by which social policies are formulated and implemented on the federal, state, and local levels.
  3. Discuss how social policy impacts vulnerable populations.
  4. Describe the concepts of human rights and social justice in the context of social policy.
  5. Describe how American social policies are similar to and different from the social policies of other industrialized democracies.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 450-500 90-100%
B 400-449 80-89%
C 350-399 70-79%
D 300-349 60-69%
F 0-299 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (14) 140 28%
Policy Analysis Paper (1) 100 20%
Assignments (3) 150 30%
Quizzes (8) 110 22%
Total 500 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 2 10
Quiz 1 15 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 4 10
Quiz 2 15 Sunday
Assignment 1 50

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 6 10
Quiz 3 15 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10
Quiz 4 15 Sunday
Assignment 2 50

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 10 10
Quiz 5 15 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10
Quiz 6 15 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Policy Analysis Paper 100 Thursday
Discussion 13 10 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 7 10 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Assignment 3 50 Wednesday
Discussion 14 10 Friday/Saturday
Quiz 8 10 Saturday
Total Points: 500

  Assignment Overview


There will be 14 discussion topics, with 1-2 topics to participate in each week. Discussion activities will be graded based on student participation. To receive full credit, you will need to provide an initial response to the prompts given for each assignment and then reply to the responses of at least two other students. Participation should reflect understanding of the concepts discussed in the assigned readings. Very brief one-sentence responses such as, "Good point, I agree." will not be accepted. Your comments should contribute an idea or make a relevant point of their own. Citations formatted correctly in APA style are required. Do not submit your responses as attachments.

Discussion topics will become available at 12:01 am CT Monday and all work must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Sunday. You must post your original response to the prompt by 11:59 pm CT Friday, and then respond to at least two other students by 11:59 pm CT Sunday. A grading rubric will be provided. Each Discussion assignment is worth 10 points.


You will complete three written assignments that must be submitted via the dropbox. Assignments 1 and 2 will be due at 11:59 pm CT Sunday of the respective weeks they are due (Weeks 2 and 4). Assignment 3 will be due at 11:59 pm CT Wednesday of Week 8. Full sentences, paragraphs (as appropriate), and proper grammar are expected and will be considered in the grading of all assignments.

Assignment 1 will be a brief paper that answers specific questions regarding state government representation, controversial state issues, and legislation. Assignment guidelines and specific prompts will be provided in the Content area.

Assignment 2 is intended to be a starting point for your final Policy Analysis Paper. You will choose a piece of legislation, research and answer specific questions about the legislation, including but not limited to the name and number of the bill, the sponsor, last action taken, support, and opposition. Full assignment guidelines and prompts will be provided in the Content area.

Assignment 3 will require you to write a letter to an elected official to support or oppose legislation, bring attention to a social condition you feel should be addressed, or respond with a letter to the editor regarding a newspaper article. Assignment requirements and guidelines will be provided in the Content area.

Grading rubrics will be provided. Each Assignment is worth 50 points.


There will be a Quiz each week covering the assigned chapters for that week. Quizzes will open at 12:01 am CT Monday and will close at 11:59 pm CT Sunday* of their respective weeks.

Quizzes for Weeks 1-6 will consist of 15 true/false or multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth 1 point. Quizzes for Weeks 7 and 8 will consist of 10 true/false or multiple-choice questions.

Quizzes are open-book and students will have 60 minutes and only one attempt to complete.

*The Quiz in Week 8 will be due Saturday.

Policy Analysis Paper

You will devise a policy analysis paper that identifies proposed or current legislation (State or Federal) you would like to explore. The paper is comprehensive and acts as a cumulative knowledge assessment for the course. You will choose a topic/question and proposed legislation in Week 4 (Assignment 2).

The paper should be 8-10 pages in length, double-spaced, and formatted in APA style. The paper must include clearly identified sections, and include a title page, abstract, and reference page that includes a minimum of 6 references. See the APA Manual for formatting requirements.

An outline of areas/questions to be answered, as well as further formatting guidelines and resources will be provided in the Content area. A rubric will be provided for grading expectations. The paper will be worth 100 points. It is due at 11:59 pm CT Thursday of Week 7.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Segal, Chapter 1: Social Welfare Policy and Underlying Values; Chapter 2: Historical Foundations of Social Welfare in America
Review Instructional Materials
Discussion 1

Introduce yourself to the class. Tell us your name, location (city/state, if you feel comfortable), your major, and what you hope to gain from taking this class. Are there any specific social welfare policies or topics that are of interest to you?

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Discussion 2
What is social welfare policy? Why should we study it? What is the relationship between social welfare policy and the provision of social welfare services? Discuss how values and beliefs guide policy and influence the U.S. social welfare system. Discuss some of the values and beliefs that resonated with you. An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.
Quiz 1
Covering Chapters 1 and 2 of the text.
Segal, Chapter 3: Conceptual Foundations of Social Welfare Policy; Chapter 4: Analyzing and Researching Social Welfare Policies
Review Instructional Materials
Discussion 3

What is the difference between an ideology, a theory, and a paradigm? Choose at least one of the ideologies, theories, or paradigms that resonated with you and discuss how it is relevant to the study of social welfare policy.

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Discussion 4

Go to the Library of Congress website. Find a piece of legislation on a topic of interest to you. In your own words, report what you found. Identify a bill by name and number. Who is the sponsor of this bill? When and what was the last action taken on this bill? If this bill has already passed both houses and signed by the President, when did it become law? Is there a public law number? Briefly, tell us, in your own words, what this proposed legislation is about. Provide a direct link to this bill/law. Then, see if you can find this same bill on the govtrack.us website. Is there any additional useful information that you can find on this site?

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Quiz 2
Covering Chapters 3 and 4 of the text.
Assignment 1
Once the student completes the readings, they must download and complete a worksheet about state government representation, controversial state issues, and legislation. Once completed, it must be submitted the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 2.
Segal, Chapter 5: The Delivery of Social Welfare Services; Chapter 6: Social Justice and Civil Rights
Review Instructional Materials
Discussion 5

Discuss the differences between public and private providers of social welfare services. Which of these two types of agencies would you most prefer to work for? Why?

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Discussion 6

What is social justice? What do civil rights have to do with social justice? Discuss the relationship between the two terms; provide examples.

An initial post and two replies to classmates are

Quiz 3
Covering Chapters 5 and 6 of the text.
Segal, Chapter 7: Poverty and Economic Inequality; Chapter 8: Economics, Employment, Budgets, and Taxes
Review Instructional Materials
Discussion 7
Define poverty. Why is it so difficult to define poverty? What are some of the risk factors associated with poverty? Describe two key programs that serve individuals and families who are poor. An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.
Discussion 8
According to the author of our textbook, major social welfare programs such as unemployment insurance, minimum wage, and the income tax credit are tied to economic conditions. Explain and discuss whether or not you feel this is true and defend your reasoning. An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.
Quiz 4
Covering Chapters 7 and 8 of the text.
Assignment 2
Assignment 2 is intended to be a starting point for your final policy analysis paper. Students will choose a piece of legislation, research and answer specific questions about the legislation, including: the name and number of the bill, the sponsor, last action taken, support, and opposition. See assignment guidelines/worksheet. Once completed, it must be submitted the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 4.
Segal, Chapter 9: Social Insurance; Chapter 10: Aging and Social Welfare Policy
Review Instructional Materials
Discussion 9

Discuss the differences between social insurance and public assistance programs. Be specific. Give examples.

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Discussion 10

Discuss at least two key social welfare policies that promote well-being and provide protection for older Americans. Why are these programs so crucial to this population? What changes should be made to improve them or make them more accessible? Defend your reasoning.

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Quiz 5
Covering Chapters 9 and 10 of the text.
Segal, Chapter 11: Children and Families; Chapter 12: Health Care Policy
Review Instructional Materials
Discussion 11

(Part1) Discuss problems or issues in providing services to abused and neglected children. Discuss current attempts and possible solutions to address these issues. Defend your

(Part 2) Identify and discuss what you believe to be the most important policy issue facing children today. Why do you think this policy issue is so

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Discussion 12

(Part 1) Is health care a social justice issue? Why or why not? Should the U.S. adopt a national health care policy? Discuss.

(Part 2) Discuss the tensions and controversies surrounding involuntary commitment of the mentally ill. What solutions/recommendations can you suggest? What are some of the social costs associated with poor mental health? Who should be responsible to pay for the costs of mental health

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Quiz 6
Covering Chapters 11 and 12 of the text.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Segal, Chapter 13: United States Social Welfare Policies and International Comparisons
Review Instructional Materials
Policy Analysis Paper
Submit completed Policy Analysis Paper to the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT Thursday.
Discussion 13

How does the U.S. social security system differ from some of the social insurance and public assistance programs developed in other countries (Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, France, England, etc.)? Choose a specific country for comparison with U.S. Discuss and defend your reasoning.

Note: You will need to conduct research online to develop your answer. Search the internet for countries to compare and add key phrases such as “social welfare programs” or “social insurance” to your search.

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Quiz 7
Covering Chapter 13 of the text.
Segal, Chapter 14: Policy Practice and the Impact of Social Welfare Policy
Review Instructional Materials
Assignment 3
Write a letter to support or oppose legislation, bring attention to a social condition you feel should be addressed, or respond with a letter to the editor regarding a newspaper article.
Discussion 14

Discuss some of the ways in which social policy affects what we can and cannot do in practice. Do people who work with vulnerable populations have a responsibility to advocate on behalf of the people they serve?

An initial post and two replies to classmates are required.

Quiz 8
Covering Chapter 14 of the text.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. All exams must be completed by the exam due date unless prior approval has been granted by the instructor. Late Dropbox Assignments and papers also require instructor approval and there will be a 5% deduction on the points earned for each day late; after 4 days, the assignment will not be accepted.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.