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.