SW305 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I

for FA 2006

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


SW 305 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I


FA 2006 HO


Bachman, Gary E.


Associate Professor, Field Director



Office Location


Office Hours

MTRF 10 –Noon  or by appointment

Daytime Phone

office 816 -584-6504



Semester Dates

August 21 - December 08 2006

Class Days


Class Time

1:50 - 3:05 PM


Acceptance into the Social Work Major

Credit Hours




Contemporary Human Behavior Theory  Second Edition 

Robbins,S.P., Chatterjee,P.& Canda, E.R.  2006   Pearson Education, Inc.  ISBN 0-205-40816-0


Recommended*:  Understanding Human Behavior  6th  Edition


Zastrow, C.H., &Kirst-Ashman, K.K.  2004 Brooks/Cole     ISBN  0-534-60831-0

*Several copies of this recommended text will be on reserve in the library


Additional readings will be assigned throughout the semester and will be available for reading or download on the course “e-Companion” website.     http://parkonline.org/  

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
This course examines the interplay of biological, psychological, social and cultural factors which influence human behavior and human development through the life cycle. This course, which is the first in a sequence of two courses, focuses on the period of infancy to young adulthood. Attention is given to the impact of social and economic deprivation on human development. PREREQUISITE/CO-REQUISITE: SW 205. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

Instructor's Educational Philosophy:  Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities and threats to societies and the world's most vulnerable populations.  The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all. 

It is vitally important that social work professionals be prepared to efficiently and critically consider their environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them.  This is as true in business, science, education and government service as it is in social work. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities, throughout their lives.  Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities,

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss interactions among the biological, social, psychological, and culturally diverse systems from conception through mid-adult life.
  2. Compare and contrast theories of human development and behavior from conception through mid-adult life.
  3. Recognize and interpret contributions of research to the current and evolving knowledge of human behavior in the social environment.
  4. Describe the dynamics of oppression, discrimination and social economic injustice on and transmitted through organizations, communities, social institutions, society and the world at large.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the influence of personal, professional values and ethics on professional practice and the potential of value conflicts.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Critical Analysis of Theory  (10%)(CO 1-6)


The “Critical Analysis” form at the end of this syllabus is to be used for this assignment. . It is available and may be downloaded as a word document from the course e-Companion web-site. Beginning in week three and continuing through the eleventh week of the semester, these review forms are to be completed and turned in at the beginning of class, on the date noted. The forms are designed for your learning and as a way to ‘get you into' each theory.  There will be no grade assigned to the individual weekly assignments. You will obtain full credit if the forms are each appropriately completed and turned in on time. These assignments may be handwritten legibly or typed. 


 In class exercises: (10%)  (CO 1-6) Throughout the semester, a series of short exercises will be distributed.  Most will be completed in class although a couple may be sent home with you to be completed in preparation for discussion in the following class session. Each exercise completed will be worth 2% of the overall grade up a total of 10%.  You must be present both when the assignment is distributed and discussed in order to receive credit. 


ESSAY #1  (20%)  (CO 1,2,5 & 6) The total text length for this paper must not exceed 6 pages.


Apply two theories covered in class to a personal experience.  (Note: you will also be expected to identify two theories to use in your second paper. They can not be the two you use here.  You may want to briefly review the various theories in the text before proceeding.) Use the following outline to complete this assignment.


a)      Introduction (1 page) Describe an “occurance of significance” that you personally experienced.  Briefly summarize the details of the experience including the implications the event has had for you personally, how it affected those around you and your social environment.  Describe your reactions to the experience. (*The focus event does not necessarily need to have been a negative or hurtful experience.)

b)      Comparative analysis of the event (3 pages)
Choose and identify two theories of individual and/or family behavior.  Briefly describe how each theory: (1) explains why the personal experience occurred and why you and others reacted as you did; (2) predicts outcomes for yourself and others; (3) explains actions you took in response to the situation and alternative actions you might have taken.

C) Preference (1 page)
Explain your preference for one of these theories or a combination in relation to your own personal experience


ESSAY #2  (20%) (CO 1-6 )    (six pages maximum – not counting the appendix)


Similar to the previous assignment, apply two (different) theories from the text to a contemporary social event. The focus event should be identified from a popular media source, (e.g., newspaper, newsmagazine, Internet) and should be an event in which a social worker might reasonably be expected to become involved.. Do not use the same theories from paper #1. Use the following outline:


A.    Introduction: (½ page) Identify the focus event. Describe your reason for choosing the particular event. Identify the two theories that you have chosen to apply with reference to the attached article.

Description of the event (1 page)
Briefly summarize the details of the event, its potential implications to the  public welfare and implications the event may have for social work practice with individuals, families, or communities.  Describe the situation and people's reactions to the event in your own language.

A.    Comparative analysis of the event (3 pages)
Applying two separate theories of human behavior addressed in course discussions or readings, briefly describe how each theory would:

a.       Explain why the event occurred and why people reacted as they did;

b.      Predict what may be the consequences for individuals and/or families;

c.       Describe actions a social worker might take to respond to the situation.

B.     Preference (1-2 pages)
Describe and justify your preference for one of these theories or a combination, in relation to this event


Appendix: Please attach 1-2 pages  (original, photocopy or downloaded from the Internet) describing / reporting the focus event you identified.


RESEARCH PAPER (CO  1-6)   (40% - Core Assessment Assignment)


While similar to Essay #2, this paper should represent a much more in depth exploration of the application of human behavior theory within the social context. You are to select and thoroughly investigate the application of a theory or theoretical construct as it relates to a particular practice application.  Choose an issue and applicable theory related to an area of your own personal interest in social work practice.  The theory should be critiqued from the standpoint of its usefulness for application in the identified practice area.  Your selection of topic and theory must be submitted in writing for approval by the instructor, prior to fall recess. 


In addition to relevant course readings and the text, at least ten other SOCIAL WORK scholarly articles or book chapters must be used and referenced. You are strongly advised to obtain resources through the university library and if necessary through interlibrary loan.  You may want to consider visiting the library at UMKC or the KU Edwards Campus as they may have resources not immediately available at Park University.  You are strongly advised not to rely only upon on-line sources that represent peer-reviewed journals.


The following outline must be used.  The page numbers are approximate.


A.     Introduction (1/2 page)  State your practice interest and the theory chosen to connect with it.  This should be presented in the form of a “research question.”


B.     Overview of the Theory in Relation to the Practice Issue (5/6 pages)

Give a detailed description of the theory and its concepts as relevant to the practice area you have selected. *


C.       Critique of the Theory (2-3 pages)  Adapt the criteria for theory evaluation using at least three components from the weekly analysis paper format.  Include scholarly evaluations of the theory in relation to the practice interest.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of applying this theory in your identified practice area.


D.  .Personal Reflections (1-2 pages) Briefly discuss your own values and professional commitments to the focus issue and how this theoretical application relates with them. Identify and reference at least three distinct values from the NASW Social Work Code of Ethics relative to the research question.    Is this theory congruent with your own values?  Why or why not?  Are your personal values consistent with professional values and insights related to this theory and circumstances?  Identify the implications for your own personal and professional growth related to the question.  Identify actions you can personally take to promote this growth.






Grading:    Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner.  This course is part of a professional sequence, leading to a professional degree. You are expected to behave professionally.  That includes being prepared for and attending class on a consistent basis. You are expected to present work that is legible and well considered. Assessment in this course relies heavily upon the evaluation of your written material.  You are encouraged to rely upon the “Guidelines for Writing Papers “ noted below.


The Critical Analysis Papers:   10%     In class exercises:  10%    Essay #1  20%

Essay #2   20%   Research Paper  40%             


Scoring:       A= 90-100    B= 80-89    C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F= 59-0

Late Submission of Course Materials:

 Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically.  The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions.  In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted.  Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day.  If you have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner.  Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:


1.      Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.

2.      Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.

3.      If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.

4.      Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.

5.      If student's behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student's behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:





Topic and Readings



Aug. 21

Aug. 22




Course Introduction  - review syllabus and assignments

Robbins: Chapter 1  “The Nature of Theories” and a framework for critical thinking.



Aug. 28




Zastrow & Kirst Ashman: Chapter 1 “Theoretical perspective on Human Behavior & the social Environment”   (on reserve)

Robbins:  Ch. 2    Systems Theories



(Sept. 4)


Sept. 8

Labor day


Systems Theory (continued)  Zastrow et al: pg. 458-468 “Assessing & Intervening in Family Systems”

Theory analysis (TA) paper due


Sept. 11


Sept. 15

Empowerment Theories   Robbins:  Ch. 4


TA paper due


Sept.  18

Sept.  22



Culture and Oppression: Theories of Assimilation, Acculturation and Bicultural Socialization

Robbins: Ch. 5; TA paper due Essay # 1 Due



Sept.  25

Sept.  29



Robbins: Ch. 6; Psychodynamic Theory

TA paper due



Oct. 2

Oct. 6


Life Span Theory

Robbins: Ch. 7;

TA paper due; Essay One Due in Class


Oct. 9

Oct. 13


Cognitive & Moral Development Theories

Robbins: Ch. 8;

TA paper due;  Topics for Research Paper are Due


fall recess - Oct. 16 - 20 - no class



  Oct. 23


Oct. 27

Justice for Everyone: Reframe, Repair & Restore (off campus event – details will be provided in class) www.cofchrist.org/peacecolloquy


Oct. 30


Nov. 3

Symbolic Interactionism and Family Development

Robbins: Ch. 9;

TA paper due


Nov. 6


(Nov. 10)

Robbins: Ch. 10;  Phenomenology, Social Constructionism, and Hermeneutics             TA paper due Essay 2 Due in Class

Veterans Day  (no class on Friday)


  Nov. 13


  Nov. 17

Robbins: Ch. 11  Behaviorism, Social Learning, and Exchange Theory

TA paper due


Nov. 20


 (Nov. 24)

Robbins: Ch. 12; Transpersonal Theories   TA paper due




Nov. 27


Dec. 1

Robbins: Ch. 13; The Critical Application of Theories to Practice  - Selection and Integration of Theories



    Dec.  4


Dec. 8

Critical Application of Theories to Practice  - Selection and Integration of Theories

Final Paper Due



Dec.  11


This course will not have a final.     (3:15-5:15)


















student name:___________________________________________________

Critical Analysis of:


Theory:  ___________________________________________________Date______________











Key concepts:










To what extent does the theory account for biological, psychological and spiritual factors?  (personal focus)










To what extent does the theory account for social, cultural and economic forces? (environment focus)?








What is the theory's relevance and application to individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions and communities (system relevance)?








How consistent is the theory with social work values and ethics?









What are the theory's assumptions or philosophical underpinnings?








What are the methodological issues and evidence for empirical support?









Do you think this theory would be useful in your social work practice?  Why or why not?

What would the social worker and client's role be?  What kind of relationship would the social worker have with the client?


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:8/8/2006 2:04:14 PM