Betwixt and Between: Social Problems in the U.S. and the U.K.

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Dr. Vicky L. Elias specialized in inequality and social psychology; her areas of emphasis are gender, marriage and family, and human sexuality. She has been published in the Journal of Sex Research, Teaching Sociology and Psychological Report s and reviews for Psychological Reports, Sociological Inquiry, and The Archives of Sexual Behavior . She has been featured as an expert on WalletHub (2017’s Best and Worst States for Singles) and the Cody Daniels Group (Students and Families Planning for College). Dr. Elias frequently utilizes new and innovative teaching techniques. In 2015 members of the A&M-SA National Society of Leadership and Success presented her with their Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2012 she received a Texas A&M System Teaching Excellence Award. She teaches a wide array of classes including:Social Problems; Sociological Theory; Myths and Realities of Marriage and Family; Demography and Population Problems; Family as an Economic Unit; Deconstructing Disney: Race, Gender, and Age; Sex, Sexuality, and Society; and Sociology Capstone. She serves as the Sociology Program Coordinator and is a member of the President’s Commission on Equity, the Undergraduate Research Committee, the Experiential and Service Learning Committee, and the Student Media Board.

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Betwixt and Between: Social Problems in the U.S. and the U.K.

Program Dates:

Honors Credit:

WKU Course:

Sociology , Public Policy , Criminal Justice

Course Description:
Why are British citizens less likely to be teen parents, to go to jail, or to become homeless? How can two nations so alike have such different strategies for solving social problems and such different outcomes? In this class we will examine the schools, hospitals, and courts to uncover similarities and differences. We will visit the historical roots of institutions in both nations such as Oxford, the Tower of London, and Parliament. Students will complete a lower-division course that is a requirement option at many schools, is required in most sociology programs, and that will give you a broad worldview of social problems and solutions.


Physical Activity Requirements:
will be somewhat extensive on some days (5-10 miles, some covered via Underground System).

Course Highlights:
This course will challenge students’ ethnocentric views and assumptions by taking a comparative view of social problems in the U.S., the U.K., and other Western nations. We will explore the legal, governmental, and social foundations that the U.S. and the U.K. share, but will also identify differences in how the two countries address social problems today and compare the outcomes in the two nations. We will focus on four social institutions: criminal justice, education, health care, and poverty. Assignments will include photo essays and journals, with ample time to get to know British culture and people. Anticipated field trips include:
    Criminal Justice: Marshalsea Prison and the Tower of London Education: Oxford, a visit with near peers from a local school Inequality: Parliament, Waterloo Station, and other London spaces
Designed for undergraduates needing social science courses to complete core requirements and/or majors in sociology and closely related fields such as political science or public health, or criminal justice. Designed to be taken with Pomp, Proper and Punk: Principles of British Society which may fulfill two common sociology requirements: Principles of Sociology and Social Problems.