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SSZ501: Contemporary Issues (2012-2013)

COURSE TITLE: Contemporary Issues
CALENDAR YEAR: 2012-2013

Major Concepts/Content: The contemporary issues course examines contemporary world problems and problem areas. Emphasis will be placed upon the role of the United States in these areas. In preparation, the historical shaping of United States foreign policy will be studied in some detail, and a necessarily brief exposition of the history, nature, and development of communism will also be included. In addition to studying the relation-ship between the superpowers and how it got that way, “hot spots” such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America will be on the agenda, with primary emphasis upon the past, present, and future interests of the United States in these areas. Problems of the world such as the population explosion and its connection with worldwide environmental degradation, poverty, and famine will be analyzed. Other worldwide problems such as the nuclear arms race and its connection with the possible degradation of global population will be looked into, as well as terrorism and major environmental concerns.

Major Instructional Activities: Instructional activities will consist of a global geographical review. Upon completion of the review, students will be able to locate at least fifty nations upon a blank map of the world. Later work will emphasize activities that enable the student to analyze and propose solutions to the various problem areas covered by the course. Most topics, therefore, are presented primarily as problem-solving activities, with two or more possible courses of action to be debated in class. Students will also be required to Prepare and present oral and written reports on assigned topics. A large part of instructional activity will be devoted to students working together in small study groups. The use of media resources will broaden student’ perspectives and understanding of various subject areas covered by the course. Periodically class sets of major news magazines will be used to instruct and inform the class of current events.

Major Evaluative Techniques: Evaluation will consist of assessing the content of various worksheets, group activity presentations, individual oral and written reports, and unit tests.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of the con-temporary issues course, students should be able to:

  • Use critical thinking skills to resolve issues.
  • Expand social consciousness. Increase knowledge of current events and their implication.
  • Relate contemporary concepts, themes, and events to historical concepts, themes, and events.
  • Analyze the effects of overpopulation on scarce resources and the environment.
  • Determine sources of global pollution and possible solutions.
  • Identify the problems of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean and analyze the role of the U. S., past, present, and future, in creating and/or solving these problems.