This course focuses on social policy in the United States and examines the causes and consequences of poverty. The course is designed to (1) have students review and understand current social issues and policies related to vulnerable populations, (2) provide students with an understanding of the sources and the role of data in defining social policy, (3) provide students with an understanding of the role of the government in social policies, and (4) improve student research and communications skills (writing and presentation). Weekly lecture topics will include issues such as welfare reform, homelessness, immigration, family structure, economic circumstances of the elderly, and food assistance programs. Students will be responsible for preparing research reports and a final presentation. In addition, students will assist the professor in preparing debate panels.