Borough of manhattan community college

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It is the student’s responsibility to read this syllabus entirely and ask questions if anything is unclear.

This course utilizes e-reserves, email and Blackboard as a regular part of the course.

Department of Social Sciences and Human Services

Human Services Program
HUM 411/985: Social Welfare Programs and Policies

Fall 2012

Tuesdays 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Room M1212

and Blackboard online: one hour weekly

This course is designated Writing Intensive

Assistant Professor Debra Greenwood

Office: N-626

Phone: 212-220-8000 X 7259

(Do NOT add me to your personal email list!)

Office hours: Wed 12 – 2 pm, Thu 3 – 5 pm

Course Description:
This course is intended to provide students with an understanding of historical and contemporary social welfare policy issues/programs and to sharpen students’ ability to analyze these issues and programs.
Prerequisites: POL 100; ACR 095, ENG 095, ESL 095.

In HUM 411, there is an additional expectation of professional behavior from the student. You have chosen to take courses that will lead eventually to a professional position, and at some point you will engage in field internships in professional settings as a part of the curriculum. Class time is an opportunity to practice those professional skills. Please see the syllabus section labeled “Professionalism” for classroom expectations.
This course is a “hybrid” Distance-Learning course:
E-learning is a flexible and exciting way to learn. You will log on to Blackboard during the time of day that suits you best. Much of your coursework, including some class participation, is completed through the Internet. There are three types of E-learning approaches at BMCC: 100 percent online, hybrid (typically 33 – 67% online, the rest in class), and web enhanced (meets in person but utilizes online resources).
This course is a hybrid course; we’ll meet in person on campus for 67% (1.5 hours) of the course, and in an asynchronous online instructional environment (Blackboard) for the remainder of the course.
Required text:

  • Segal, E. 2009. Social Welfare Policy and Social Programs: a Values Perspective. Tompkins: Brooks-Cole. Second edition. ISBN- 0495604194. ISBN13- 9780495604198 Available on reserve in the library

  • McKnight, J. The Careless Society: Community and its Counterfeits. ISBN-13: 9780465091263 (on Blackboard)

  • Amidei, N. So You Want to Make a Difference: Advocacy is the Key (on blackboard)

  • Other readings as assigned in class

Student Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcomes

Measurements (means of assessment for goals listed in first column)

Communication Skills - Students will be able to write, read, listen and speak critically and effectively (general education).

Debate paper, Blackboard discussions, class discussions, quizzes.

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Students will be able to apply the concepts and methods of the social sciences (general education).

Debate paper, Blackboard discussions, class discussions, quizzes.

Values - Students will be able to make informed choices based on an understanding of personal values, human diversity, multicultural awareness and social responsibility (general education).

Blackboard discussions, class discussions.

Complete (a) formal writing assignment(s) of at least 10-12 pages in length that has/have gone through the revision process (e.g. research paper, content-related report, essay) (writing intensive).

Blackboard discussions, debate paper.

Generate pieces of informal writing in response to a variety of prompts, concepts, situations or reading assignments (writing intensive).

Blackboard discussions, debate paper.

Students will be able to discuss the history of social policy development in the U.S. (course specific).

Blackboard discussions, class discussions.

Students will be able to define a number of key concepts on social welfare policy including universal and residual policies, and public assistance and social insurance (course specific).

Debate paper, Blackboard discussions, class discussions, quizzes.

Students will be able to discuss contemporary issues of social welfare and analyze the impact in terms of social justice (course specific).

Blackboard discussions, debate paper, quizzes.

Important BMCC Policies
While I support all BMCC policies, the following policies refer directly to the classroom and are therefore important to discuss as a class. It is your responsibility to read and fully understand these policies. They can be found in the BMCC student handbook.
College Attendance Policy:
“At BMCC, the maximum number of absences is limited to one more hour than the number of hours a class meets in one week. For example, you may be enrolled in a four-hour class that meets two times per week. You are allowed five hours of absence (not five days). In the case of excessive absences, the instructor has the option to lower the grade or assign an F or WU grade” (p. 166, Student Handbook).
This particular course (HUM 411) meets for 2 hours and 30 minutes per week – 1.5 hours in person, and one hour online; this means that BMCC policy only allows you to miss 3 hours and 30 minutes of class/Blackboard, which is the equivalent of roughly three class periods.
Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities:
Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments for this course must contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. BMCC is committed to providing equal access to all programs and curricula to all students.
BMCC Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Statement:
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s ideas, words or artistic, scientific, or technical work as one’s own creation. Using the ideas or work of another is permissible only when the original author is identified. Paraphrasing and summarizing as well as direct quotations require citations to the original source. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Lack of dishonest intent does not necessarily absolve a student of responsibility for plagiarism. Students who are unsure how and when to provide documentation are advised to consult with instructors. The library has guides designed to help students to appropriately identify a cited work. The full policy can be found on BMCC’s website, (see Student Handbook, page 168).
My policy on plagiarism: on the first incident, the assignment will not be graded; it will receive a zero grade. The second incident will result in a failing grade for the course.
Children on Campus:
“…[Y]oung children who are not registered in the child care center should not be brought to the campus, and, of course, may not attend classes with their parent or guardian. There may be occasions when brief visits by children of students may be necessary. Children may visit college offices and facilities, other than classrooms, for limited periods of time when their parent or guardian is conducting routine business at the college” (p. 166, Student Handbook).
Food and Drink in Classrooms:
“Food should not be eaten in classrooms and hallways. Food should be consumed in the cafeteria on the second floor” (p. 167, Student Handbook).
“Elevators may not be used by students. This rule is waived only for students who have chronic or acute physical disabilities or who are non-ambulatory. Students should utilize the escalators and stairways” (p. 167, Student Handbook).
If you see someone who is disabled, a professor with audio-visual equipment, or food/maintenance staff with equipment waiting for the elevator, please step off the elevator and take the escalator/stairs. The elevator situation has become quite severe with the additional student enrollment this academic year.

Do not thank me at the end of the semester for ‘giving’ you an ‘A.’ Do not ask me at the end of the semester why I ‘gave’ you a ‘D’ or an ‘F.’ I do not ‘give’ students grades – students EARN their grade.
So how does a student earn a passing grade in this course? (Please note: a ‘passing grade’ is not necessarily synonymous with an ‘A’ grade.)

  • Attend class regularly

  • Be on time for class

  • Respect your professor and fellow students

  • Comply with BMCC policies, especially those listed within this syllabus

  • Participate in class or group discussions and activities

  • Give equal time to fellow students rather than monopolize discussions

  • Complete any in-class or additional, ungraded assignments

  • Be present for, and receive a passing grade on, all quizzes (I do NOT give makeup quizzes)

  • Turn in all written assignments on time (I do NOT accept late assignments) and receive passing grades for those assignments. Assignments are due by midnight sharp on the due date unless otherwise specified. You may not use class time to complete an assignment; please plan ahead for computer issues.

That’s it – it’s that simple.

Graded Course Assignments (details of these assignments are provided later in this syllabus):
How do I figure out my grade for the semester?
Easy. You simply add all the points you earned and divide that number by the total possible points for the semester.

For example:

Assignment Maximum possible points
Professionalism 15

Blackboard discussions (6 x 10) 60

Quizzes (3 x 25) 75

Debate paper 40

Total possible points for semester 190

Let’s say a student earned the following points:
Professionalism 10

Blackboard discussions 50

Quizzes 65

Debate paper 30

Total points earned 155

The student earned a total of 180 points. Divide that 180 by the total possible points for the course: 155/190 = .8157. Turn this into a percentage by moving the decimal two places to the right and rounding: 82%. Then use the BMCC grading policy, which can be found online at: I have included it here as well.
BMCC Grading Policy:

Points/% Letter GPA

100-93 A 4.0

92-90 A-

89-87 B+

86-83 B 3.0

Points/% Letter GPA

82-80 B-

79-77 C+

76-73 C 2.0

72-70 C-

Points/% Letter GPA

69-67 D+

66-63 D 1.0

62-60 D-

59-0 F 0.0

You can see that 82% is the equivalent of a letter grade of ‘B-.’ This is the grade that the student in this example would earn for the semester in this course.

I do not give grades over the phone or via email. They will, however, be posted on Blackboard as soon as they are available.


Values, History, Basic Concepts


In Class (IC)

90 minutes

On Blackboard (Bb)

60 minutes


Assignments due

Aug 28

Week 1

Introduction to the course, content and structure.

Handout instructions to log on to Blackboard.

Basic concepts and values

Chapter 1, Segal

  1. Log onto Blackboard – see handout. Now is the time to troubleshoot any problems logging on – do NOT wait.

  2. Read the Syllabus and Course Map carefully; be sure you understand all course expectations.

  3. Edit your email and personal information so it is accurate.

  4. Breaking the ice: Write a brief post on Bb discussion board; tell us a little bit about yourself, and say hello to your fellow students.

Say hello on Bb

Sep 4

Week 2


Chapter 2, Segal

Elizabethan Poor Laws

Participate in Bb discussion.

Bb discussion

Sep 11

Week 3

Delivery system

Chapter 4, Segal

Read from the McKnight book: John Deer and the Bereavement Counselor, pp 3-15.

Sep 18

No In-Class Session

Participate in Bb discussion based on last week’s McKnight reading.

Bb discussion

Sep 25

No In-Class Session

Read from the McKnight book: Do No Harm, pp 101-114.

Oct 2

Week 4

Budget, taxes, employment

Chapter 9, Segal

Participate in Bb discussion based on last week’s McKnight reading.

Review the charts discussed in class on the federal budget expenses and revenue, and listen to the following podcast: Where do our federal tax dollars go?

Bb discussion

Oct 9

Week 5

Small group review – 45 minutes

Quiz – 45 minutes

Quiz 1


Policies and Programs Addressing Poverty


In Class (IC)

90 minutes

On Blackboard (Bb)

60 minutes


Assignments due

Oct 16

Week 6

Social insurance programs

Chapter 7, Segal

Read from the McKnight book:

The Need for Oldness, pp 26-35.

Oct 23

Week 7

Poverty and public assistance programs

Chapter 8, Segal

Participate in Bb discussion based on last week’s McKnight reading.

Video: Watch A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay, on electronic reserves in the library.

Bb discussion

Oct 30

Week 8

Food policy programs

Reading: The Politics of Food Policy and Rural Life, Karger & Stoesz (on Bb)

Listen to the following podcast: Food insecurity

Draft of debate paper due by midnight on the 30th via


Nov 6

Week 9

Health insurance programs

Chapter 11, Segal

  1. Read from the McKnight book: the Medicalization of Politics, pp 55-62.

  2. Listen to the following podcast: How the health reform law reduces the deficit, parts 1 and 2

Participate in Bb discussion.

Bb discussion

Nov 13

Week 10

Small group review – 45 minutes

Quiz – 45 minutes

Quiz 2


How Policy is Made, Advocacy


In Class (IC)

90 minutes

On Blackboard (Bb)

60 minutes (see due dates)


Assignments due

Nov 20

Week 11

How policy is made; who makes policy; stages in policy making process

Reading: Politics and Social Welfare Policy, Popple & Leighninger (on Bb)

Video: Watch Unbought and Unbossed, on electronic reserves in the library. Read the discussion guide first (available on Bb) for background information.

Nov 27

Week 12

Agency & legal advocacy


Agency Advocacy, Mark Ezell (on Bb)

Reading: Legal Advocacy, Mark Ezell (on Bb)

Participate in Blackboard discussion about last week’s video.

Bb discussion

Dec 4

Week 13

Policy advocacy

Reading: Legislative Advocacy, Mark Ezell (on Bb)

Final debate paper due by midnight on the 4th via SafeAssign

Dec 11

Week 14

Policy advocacy, cont.

Reading: Community Advocacy, Mark Ezell (on Bb)

Dec 18

Week 15

Small group review – 45 minutes

Quiz – 45 minutes

Quiz 3

You have made a conscious, informed choice to be a member of this class, and a student in the Human Services program. It is expected that you will use the opportunity to practice – and demonstrate – professional behavior. Professional behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Attending class

  • Arriving on time for class and not leaving early

  • Reading assigned readings prior to class

  • Completing any in-class or additional, ungraded assignments

  • Participating in class and group discussions and activities

  • Giving equal time to fellow students rather than monopolize discussions

  • Listening respectfully when others are speaking

  • Coming prepared with textbooks, paper, writing utensils

  • Keeping private conversations with fellow students outside of the classroom

  • Staying awake in class

  • Taking care of personal business before or after class (not during)

  • Turning off cell phones for both calls and texts

  • Putting cell phones and all other electronic devices away before entering class (including laptops)

  • Not eating or drinking during class (water is allowed)

  • Not packing up personal items to leave before class is over

  • Cleaning up your space when you leave

  • Communicating appropriately to the professor in person and via written communications

Regular attendance is necessary to successfully complete this course. An absence is an absence; there is no ‘excused’ absence policy. It is your responsibility to be sure you have been marked present and on time each day; you cannot come to me later and insist that you were present on a particular day earlier in the semester.

  • Students with more than three absences will note an adverse affect on their grade; students with more than five absences may receive a failing grade for the course.

  • If you miss class, it is your responsibility to follow up on any material you may have missed. Check the syllabus, Blackboard, with fellow students, or make an appointment to meet with the instructor – but do so in a timely manner. Class time will not be used to cover past material for students who were absent.

This class will begin and end on time. Being tardy, or leaving early, is disruptive to the learning process. Coming in before class, leaving your personal belongings at your desk, and then leaving (for any purpose) does not constitute being on time. There is no ‘five minute leeway.

  • If you are not in your seat and prepared to begin when roll is taken, you are late.

  • If you leave class before it is over, you will be marked as if you were late.


This course utilizes e-reserves, email and Blackboard as a regular part of the course. Class videos are available for viewing on the library e-reserves. All assignments are submitted via SafeAssign on Blackboard, unless otherwise noted. You can use any personal email address you prefer for communication, but you will still need to check your student email account weekly, as that is the email account to which announcements on Blackboard are sent.

The following link will help you to access Blackboard:
The following link will help with accessing e-reserves (the password is dgreenwood):

Emails to your professor are considered to be professional communication. You should take care to explain yourself fully, use complete sentences, include your name and put something appropriate in the RE: line.


  • All assignments are due by midnight on the due date specified in the syllabus. Be sure you allow ample time for computer crashes and Blackboard issues.

  • Late assignments are not accepted for points/grade; I will read and give feedback, but the assignment will receive zero points. There is a late assignment contract which can be used once (not for quizzes) over the course of the semester.

  • Keep your copy of all quizzes, papers, and assignments until after final grades have been submitted at the end of the semester. Also, keep computer copies of all formal writings and copies of emails with the date and time stamp if you contact me for any reason. These are your backup documents to support yourself if there is a discrepancy. This is your responsibility. Always back up your work to a second, safe place, and save changes daily; the worst can, and will, happen – ensure that your work is not lost in cyberspace.

  • The writing assignments are a mix of formal and informal writing assignments. For formal assignments, papers should follow standard APA formatting, including: typed and double spaced, Times New Roman size 12 font, with one-inch margins all around. See page 18 of your syllabus to see how the finished paper should look. You should spell-check your paper and work toward correct grammar and punctuation.

  • The sources for your papers should be cited correctly, and there should be a reference page. Please see page 17 of your syllabus for citation examples, or your library website:, or this quick guide:

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