Scott Monsma Professor of Sociology; Department Chair


Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
M.A., University of Pittsburgh
B.A., Geneva College

VPH 311

A champion of social justice, Dr. Monsma is a frequent presenter at Association of Christians Teaching in Sociology conferences and has served as the organization’s president. He also has led students on study abroad trips to Taiwan and three times to the Sultanate of Oman. He was awarded Northwestern's Teaching Excellence Award in 2014.

GEN205 - Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar

A seminar designed to expose Honors Program students to significant issues by means of interdisciplinary study of selected topics chose on a year-to-year basis.Prerequisite: membership in the Honors Program or special permission from Honors Program directors.(2 credits)

GEN350 - Topics in Cross-Cultural Studies

Northwestern College offers a variety of off-campus opportunities with Northwestern faculty in various countries around the world. These courses offer a unique opportunity for students to make the world their classroom, going beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. Topics covered may include, but are not limited to, language, politics, religion, business, education, music, history, and literature. Students are given an opportunity to examine a particular culture through various experiences, such as home stays, ethnographic observation/research, and placement in various social institutions. Past programs have taken students to China, the Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Ecuador, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Oman, Romania, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan.(2-6 credits; summer; may be repeated)

SOC110 - Contemporary Marriage and Family Living

A study of the basic sociological theories of the family from a Christian perspective. Topics include: the structure and functions of families, historical and social changes, cross-cultural analysis, institutional and functional aspects of dating, courtship, marriage adjustment, gender roles, parenthood and child rearing.(4 credits)

SOC202 - Social Problems

A discussion of myths and facts leading toward an understanding of many social problems, such as sexual deviance, drugs and alcohol, health care and illness (physical and mental), crime and delinquency, violence, wealth and poverty, inequality of opportunity, work, aging, sex inequality, racial minorities and discrimination, education, family problems, war, pollution, ecology and population. Emphasis is placed upon difficulties in defining, critiquing and proposing meaningful solutions.(4 credits)

SOC218 - Deviance and Social Control

This class focuses on a sociological understanding of deviance. We will explore how both culture and structure may shape the prevalence, definition and reaction to deviance. Various theoretical perspectives will be examined and discussed to see how deviance may be both understood and even perhaps predicted. Finally, a number of more "concrete" areas will be examined, to both see how the theory holds up in real life, and to deepen the understanding of deviance and attempts at social control of deviance. (4 credits)

SOC303 - The Criminal Justice System

A study of the development of, issues in, and new directions for, the American criminal justice system. Each step of the system is critiqued in terms of intended and unintended consequences as well as official and operative goals, and is related to a detailed discussion of various correctional treatment programs: prisons, halfway houses, group homes, community-based treatment programs, probation, parole and others. Those in the criminal justice career concentration should take SOC218 first. Prerequisite: recommend general education writing requirement. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

SOC309 - Sociology of Gender

An examination of the topic of gender, predominately using a sociological perspective. The study of gender from a sociological perspective develops an appreciation for how social structure, institutions and culture shape gender roles and the lives of those who play these roles - at the same time that gender roles shape culture, institutions and social structure. Attention will also be given to the "inherent or constructed" debate about gender roles, the role of the media in shaping gender, and the intertwining of gender and family, politics, work and religion.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

SOC401 - Sociological Theory

The study of major theories and theorists, addressing such theories as functionalist, conflict, social exchange, symbolic interactionist, ethnomethodological/ phenomenological, and sociobiology. Emphasis is placed on how various perspectives impact and alter our understanding of reality, of causation, of the past, present and future. Prerequisites: SOC101, sociology major or permission of instructor. Recommend general education writing requirement. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

2012: Bulletin Boards and Focused Reading Groups (a presentation on pedagogy) . Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, annual summer conference, Covenant College, Lookout Mountain GA, June 9, 2012.

2011: (Re)reading the text: (Re)telling the fragmented story of Michal. Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, annual summer conference, St. Olaf College, June 11, 2011.

2011: Dialog with people of other faiths, Moberg Conference on sociological perspectives on reconciliation: Experiential learning and strategic approaches to reconciliation, Bethel University, February 19, 2011

2010: Interfaith dialogue: ideas drawn from experience, Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, Annual Summer Conference, Eastern University, June 4, 2010

2009: Defining Marriage: Changes and Challenges. Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, Annual Summer Conference, Northwestern College. Teaching Sociology: Ideas & Resources. Panel Participant.

2005: Critical Integration: Christianity and Sociology. Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, Annual Summer Conference, Wheaton College, Wheaton IL.

2004: Fragmented Women, Destined for Equality. Fern Cliff Gathering, Geneva College (November 16), Guest lectures at Geneva College (November 16 & 17): Max Weber and Islam; Critical Integration: Faith and Sociology; Wealth and Poverty

2003: Teaching with my mouth half shut. Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, Annual Summer Conference, Dallas, TX

American Sociological Association

Association of Christians Teaching Sociology

Society for the Study of Linguistic Subversion

Teaching Excellence Award, Northwestern College, 2014

Finalist for Teaching Excellence Award, Northwestern College, 2004, 2008, 2009