Human service institutions include the police and legal system, the educational system, the system of health and medical care, the welfare system, social work agencies, the local community and its organizations and associations, churches and other spiritual and fraternal organizations. Taken as a group, these institutions care for the needy, control the troublesome, and socialize the young. This course provides a survey by giving descriptive cases of human service institutions at work and by presenting specific major issues of concern in different ones.
While the course gives a description of human service institutions it also talks about why society needs these institutions and how we create and change policies that shape and affect them. This is the field of policy analysis and it provides the overarching perspective that structures the course.
In addition to formal presentations about the various human service institutions, the course also includes a series of required, targeted field experiences. These are intended to introduce students to human service institutions and to bring their dilemmas into sharper focus and each students must participate in four of them. My intention is for each of the experiences to be 1-4 hours in length. Some of the most interesting opportunities, however, require several visits to the setting (two visits each two hours in length, for example). Students will respond to a specific writing assignment keyed to each setting. Each setting is intrinsically interesting so they will be easy to write about. They also illustrate specific conceptual points from the readings.
To participate in field experiences, students must complete two screening and certification processes. Faiing to complete these certifications on time will give students an automatic zero (0)for 10% of the course grade. The required certification comes from successfully completing the proection of human subjects course that Bucknell requires for research. Access the course at the CITI web site. The required screening is that all students must complete the state police, FBI, and Department of Public Welfare child abuse screenings and this must be complete by the end of the third week of class. Information about how to do this can be found on the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit web site. Students who do not want to complete these screenings must inform the professor and discuss the way that they will complete the field research component of the course. (Not completing the screenings is only an option for students who believe they might fail the screening or who have religious or ethical objections to being screened.)
This course is a core requirement of the Human Services Concentration in sociology. It is meant as the first half of a two course sequence, the second one being SOCI/ANTH 201, Field Methods, which is offered this semester by Carmen Henne-Ochoa and next semester will be offered by Ned Searles. Field Methods provides an overview of qualitative research and places students in community settings where they observe, write, and often help to solve problems.
Field experiences are an essential part of the introduction to human service systems just as the overview provided by SOCI 215 is necessary. This semester field experiences are supported by the new Field Research Teaching Lab located on the first floor of Bucknell West.
Field courses like SOCI 215 and SOCI/ANTH 201 are meant to be preparatory to a variety of 300-level and 400-level courses, like SOCI 318 and SOCI 322, we offer that deal with specific human service institutions. The course is also important preparation forthe many paid summer internships available at Bucknell, especially through the Bucknell Public Interest Program that is run by the Career Development Center (contact Marilyn Shull for more information).
List and Schedule of Field Experiences
Writing Assignments for Field Experiences
Readings Related Questions for Class Discussion