The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Gen-Ed's I Recommend: Sociology 222 "The Family"

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University of Massachusetts students discussing their course

"The Family" is a 4-credit class that meets the College of Social & Behavioral Science (SBS) and United States Diversity (U/DU) requirements. While it is a 200-level class, there are no pre-requisites so you do not need to have taken a previous sociology class to enroll. Don't let the 200-level scare you, though! It is actually a significantly less demanding course than the 100-level sociology class I took to meet my requirements last year. There are only three non-cumulative exams, and they are strictly in multiple choice and true/false format. To make it even easier, the professor provides a detailed study guide so you know exactly what to expect on the exam! The other portion of your grade is made up by six one-page reading reflections. Eight are assigned, but only the top six grades are input into your final score, so you can choose to do only six or you have two buffer assignments to help make up for a grade you were'nt happy with. 

As the name suggests, this class is focused on studying the family from a sociological perspective. The course is separated into seven units: the history of families, dating and cohabitation, marriage and living alone, intimate partner violence, parenting and reproduction, socialization and childhood, and contemporary families and aging. While it does require a decent amount of reading each week, the readings are on genuinely interesting subjects. Last week, we read a fascinating article about how being biracial is a significant point in your favor if you are online dating. This week, we read an article about the rise in single-person households that featured interviews of single people living in New York City and what it is like living alone during their middle-age years. We also had a guest-lecturer this week from the UMass Center for Women & Community come and talk about the social-ecological model of dealing with domestic abuse issues.

If any of these topics sound interesting to you, I highly recommend taking this class! The Department of Sociology at UMass is excellent, so even if this particular class does not sound like your cup of tea, try looking at the many other options on Spire when selecting courses for the fall or spring!

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Isenberg is Interactive!

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When you picture what business school classes might be like on a college campus, you might picture a large lecture hall with a professor at the front droning on about corporate finance and maybe scribbling a few numbers on the board. What I love about UMass, and specifically the Isenberg School of Management, is that is certainly not the case! To help show you what I mean, here are some examples of some interactive and interesting assignments that I've had this semester: