Syllabus 2015

Becoming a Global Citizen

4 S.H.

Winter term
January 6- January 27, 2015


Elon University

Instructor:                              Dr. Tom Arcaro

Office Phone:                          336-278-6442
Other phones:                        336-263-4578 (c)
Office:                                        Global Commons 210
Office Hours:                           I will be online at some point most days and in the office early afternoons.

Final Examination:          27 January 2015.  All assignments must be completed by 12:00noon of this day.  We will use this time for final presentations, bringing our work to closure, and planning next steps regarding service work followup (letters, videos and AWV blog post).

I look forward to working with you in probing deeper into the many critical social problems facing our global community.  In many ways I want you to consider this course an extension of what you learned in GST 110, The Global Experience, and indeed I hope you bring much of that learning and growth into our many online discussions.  We have much important work to do in this class, and by the very act of signing up for this course you have begun to be part of an important –no critical- effort to make the world and more just place for all.

Catalog Discription

In this course we will survey a wide range of global social problems including the current Ebola outbreak, the threat of ISIS, child immigrants from Central America, sex trafficking in Nepal, Thailand and elsewhere, and issues related to global climate change, and other issues and news current during the time frame of our session. Using these crises as a backdrop we will examine and critique the global humanitarian responses to these events/phenomena including both emergency aid and development efforts. Special emphasis will be placed on the lives of the aid workers who are the point on contact between the donors and the beneficiaries of humanitarian aid.  Students will read about and research these topics and will be responsible for presenting to the class on an issue of their choice. Students will be challenged to work together on a class project to actively address one or more issues. Work in the course will be geared toward deepening each student’s understanding of what it means to be a globally aware and ethically responsible citizen.

Course Objectives

The objectives for this course include exploring the following subtopics:

1) Review the major theoretical perspectives in sociology
In order to move beyond merely describing the world we must accumulate a set of conceptual and theoretical tools to help us go from asking the what questions to the why and how questions, i.e., from describing to analyzing and explaining.  Our first job will be to look around the world and be able to know what is happening, but in the end, we will have the goal of offering some critical analyses as well.

The main theoretical perspectives in sociology include functionalism, symbolic interactionism, conflict theory and, more recently, evolutionary psychology.  We will do primers of each as we start the course.  Your Intro to Sociology text will have a chapter covering these main perspectives.

2) Explore a wide range of global social problems
We will examine a wide array of global social problems using both the Internet and readings I will post on our blog.  Each student will present what they learned in their GST 110 course and after sharing those insights we will go on to cover more deeply some of those topics as well as break some “new ground.”

3) Examine the concept “global citizen”
Through reading an array of essays and articles we will explore what it means to be a global citizen.

4) Examine the world of humanitarian and development aid and critiques thereof  in both text and other media.

5) Imagine, write, and send a letter to an elected official addressing and/or proposing a piece of  legislation relative to issues discussed in this course (e.g., US policy toward Haiti).


Service component:  Three parts

This course will have a service component in three ways.

1.  In teams of two you will research, write and send a letter to a US elected official.  Detailed instructions will be handed out.

2.  You will either individually or in teams of up to four create a short (3 minutes maximum) video that will be submitted for consideration for either the Golden Radiator Award or the Rusty Radiator Award for 2015.

3.  You will either individually or in teams or up to three research, write and have posted a blog entry 2015 D4D National Conference RFP based on data from the Humanitarian Aid Worker survey conducted by Dr. Arcaro and a veteran aid worker know as J, his nom de plume.

Required Course Materials

I recommend that you get started on these books immediately.  All are available online at and you should order them ASAP.  The Polman book has been ordered through the Campus Shop.

I will post other readings related to our various topics on our blog.  These will either be essays or book chapters.  I may also post numerous “mini lectures” as audio or video podcasts, and you will be required to listen or watch these by specified points in the course.  You will also be sent links to various web sites as we proceed through the term.

Course Requirements
To accomplish the objectives for this course, you will complete the following:

Reading Assignments
You will have several reading assignments throughout the term, beginning with reading the assigned monographs.  There will be additional readings assigned in class from web sources. You should read all material assigned and be ready for discussions on our blog.  All writing that you do for the course should use and reference assigned reading materials as well as any outside research that you do.

Blog posts
General information about content and evaluation:  On a regular basis (at least 2-3 times per week) you will be asked to respond to prompts posted to the blog.  The purpose here is to apply class material with current events as well as expand on and apply sociological thinking.  It is important that students also research and provide academic support for the positions, observations, and perspectives presented.  To be clear, for each blog post prompt you are to (1) respond to the prompt in at least 500 words and with at least two citations (at least one from an assigned readings and/or Sociology Intro book) and one from an outside source, (2) respond to at least two of your colleague’s posts, (3) appropriately categorize your posts. So, for example, for the Assignment 1 post you will click  “Assignment 1″ before you publish. You are advised to write your own response before reading the posts of others.  These posts  (including your responses to colleagues) will be evaluated based on both the quality and quantity of writing.  I will be looking for analytical creativity, good use of research materials, and well reasoned and presented information and points of view.  You cannot pass this course without participating regularly on the blog.  Failure to make regular and timely posts will have major consequences for your grade.

Class Participation and Other Homework
I expect you to participate in class discussions and complete any additional homework assignments that may be asked of you.  All of your interactions on our blog site will “count” toward your class participation.

Summary of Course Requirements and Grading:

  • Blog posts and comments to peers:      30%       at least 2-3 times per week
  • Letter to elected official draft:                15%
  • Letter to elected official final:                15%
  • Video draft w/ documentation:             15%
  • Video final w/ documentation:             15%
  • Aid Worker Voices post:                         10%

General Grading Rubric

Here are the questions I ask when I am grading any student work:

1. Was the assignment turned in on time? (Depending upon the circumstances, late assignments will be accepted but will be downgraded.)
2. Did the student follow instructions completely and correctly?
3. Was the student conscientious in completing the assignment? Did the student put in sufficient time and thought relevant to the assignment?
4. Does the student correctly understand and use the sociological ideas, perspectives, concepts, or theories on which the assignment is based?
5. Does the student follow a format appropriate to the assignment?
6. Is correct spelling and proper grammar used throughout the student’s work?
7. Is the level of depth of analysis, explanation, or discussion appropriate to the assignment?
8. Is the length of the completed work appropriate for the assignment?
9. Has the student shown creativity of thought and style in the assignment?
10. If outside sources were used were they cited properly? Was a list of references included at the end of the assignment?


Plagiarism and Cheating

You are required to abide by the Elon honor code at all times during this class.  We will verify your quoted sources for accuracy and any falsified quotes or sources will result in a failing grade.




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.