Permission of Instructor Information for Sociology of Guns Seminar

In a comment on an earlier student range reflection essay for my Sociology of Guns seminar at Wake Forest University, my online friend from Alaska Matthew Carberry mentioned the possibility that the students’ responses to our gun range field trip is influenced by some self-selection.

It is entirely possible that the general openness students have to the experience of shooting is due in part to their general openness to taking a course called Sociology of Guns.

The students are also self-selected in that they must receive my permission in advance in order to enroll in the course. To be clear, I am not looking for any “type” of student when I give permission. Any student who reads and understands what they are getting into in the course is given permission.

The permission of instructor information form for Fall 2021 is reproduced below for your information.

Notable among the information points are that the course is not just about gun crime, injury, and control; a general “trigger warning” about dealing with issues of violence, injury, and death; and the required field trip.

I do occasionally have students who request the POI and then choose not to enroll after seeing this information, but not many. Self-selection out of the course may happen even before that because the requirements for the course are fairly well known by now (in its 7th iteration). Students talk among themselves.

In any event, the course remains popular and well-received even after all these years. I haven’t gotten tired of teaching it yet, so I am looking forward to teaching Ver. 8 some time in 2022.

8 thoughts on “Permission of Instructor Information for Sociology of Guns Seminar

  1. Based on the fact that they are self selecting, have you done any follow up on what their reactions/feelings are after taking the course? By after I mean say 6 months, a year later?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have never done this, but that is actually a brilliant idea. With education in general it’s not what the students know at the end of the semester but what they retain and incorporate into their lives years down the road that matters.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was also thinking if it maybe changed some behaviors, i.e., maybe further trips to a range, maybe an instructional class on firearms, maybe even buying one 🙂


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