Course Information

This interdisciplinary social science course is designed to explore families through a multicultural lens and help students to evaluate the different ways that groups of people are treated. A broad understanding of multiculturalism is employed that includes race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability so as to acknowledge that personal identity is complex and various. Different aspects of social justice—including power, prestige, and privilege—will be explored as well as the many layers of a family’s environment and how they converge to ease challenges for some while reinforcing challenges for others.

This course meets the liberal education requirements at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in the Social Science Core as well as the Diversity and Social Justice Theme.

The course includes a service-learning component which will need to be arranged by the high school. Possible service learning sites include: after school tutoring programs (e.g., library homework help program or Boys & Girls Club), senior care facilities, K−8 classrooms, food shelves, etc.

Class size limit: 24

Sample Syllabus

U of M Catalog Description

This course is designed as an introduction to multicultural families using an ecological lens. The institution of the family is recognized globally as a basic unit of a society that produces, develops, socializes, and launches the next generation of its citizenry. This course will focus on families in contemporary America, a society that has grown increasingly diverse, and faces many complex challenges in today’s global environment. Using a human ecological lens allows us to examine families in their nested and interdependent environments—how individuals shape and are shaped by families, their human built environments, their sociocultural environments, and their natural-physical environments.

Student Qualifications

Students enrolling in FSOS 1211 must be juniors or seniors in high school. Sixty percent of the students must belong to one or more of the targeted audiences for the Entry Point Project:

  • Multilingual/ELL students
  • Members of racial or ethnic minorities
  • First generation college-bound students and/or
  • From families of low to moderate income
  • Between the top 50% and top 20% of their class

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.

Teachers who teach this course every other year are required to attend U of M-sponsored professional development events for their cohort during their non-teaching years as well as during years when they teach the U of M course.

View the Instructor Applicant Handbook for course-specific qualifications and application steps. 


The course uses a digital course packet that includes 30 articles available through the U of M Library database. These readings are accessible to all students, including CIS students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a remedial class or a college course? 
Students in this course do college-level work, coached by teachers using a developmental (rather than remedial) approach. FSOS 1211 is designed to both tap into the capabilities and experience that students bring to the course and to support their acquisition of knowledge and abilities needed for success in university courses.

Are the readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are the choices? 
The contents of the digital course packet are core to the course and required of all sections. Instructors may add readings to respond to student interest and need.

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments? 
FSOS 1211 has both structure and flexibility. Some assignments are required in order to teach a course that effectively fulfills the social science core. Other assignments, that scaffold some of the content and reading, can be adapted to fit the needs of the instructor and the students.

Who creates the exams? 
The faculty coordinator will create the exam but will welcome any contributions to the test bank.

High school class schedules vary: can a teacher in the block system teach this course? 
All courses offered through CIS have the same minimum number of contact hours as the on-campus sections. Teachers adapt the University schedule to fit the schedules at their high schools.

What happens at typical teacher workshops? 
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.

What happens at typical student field days? 
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus.

High Schools Offering This Course

  • Apple Valley High School
  • Burnsville High School
  • Roseville Area High School