COURSE SYMBOL AND NUMBER:
Selected Topics in Psychology: Environmental
COURSE DESCRIPTOR: “Intensive study of an area of
psychology selected by the instructor on the basis of student need or current
issues.” (Park University 2004 – 2005, Undergraduate Catalog, 2004, p.
TERM COURSE BEING TAUGHT: Fall, 2004.
NAME OF FACULTY MEMBER: Dennis D. Kerkman, Ph.D.
TITLE OF FACULTY MEMBER: Associate Professor.
FACULTY OFFICE LOCATION: MA 223.
FACULTY OFFICE HOURS: M: 1:30 – 2:30, T: 1:00-2:00,
W: 10:00 – 12:00, TH: 1:00 – 2:00, or by appt..
FACULTY OFFICE TELEPHONE NUMBER: 584-6502
FACULTY PARK EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
OTHER FACULTY EMAIL ADDRESS: none.
FACULTY WEB PAGE ADDRESS: to be announced.
DATES OF THE TERM: Aug. 23 – Dec. 19, 2004.
CLASS SESSIONS DAYS: M, W, F.
CLASS SESSION TIME: 9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
PREREQUISITE(S): PS101: Introduction to Psychology.
CREDIT HOURS: 3.
CLASS MEETS in Mackay, Room 23.
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
Park University will be a renowned international
leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the
COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Intensive study of an area of
psychology selected by the instructor on the basis of student need or current
issues.” (Park University 2004 – 2005, Undergraduate Catalog, 2004, p.
FACULTY’S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY: “Philosophy” is
the love of knowledge. “Education” is the process of guiding people out of
ignorance into the light of understanding. “The Liberal Arts” are a set of
disciplines that enable students to think critically and communicate
effectively so they can understand themselves and the world around them, and
how they can act for the purpose of serving a global community. Studying
these arts therefore liberates, or frees students from the constraints of
ignorance so they can understand and improve the world around them. To
understand the Liberal Arts, one must cultivate certain literacies:
analytical and critical thinking, community and civic responsibility, scientific
inquiry, ethics and values, literary and artistic expression. In this
course, the primary methods used to cultivate the literacies are: (1)
learning by inquiry, reflection, and interaction (the Socratic Method of guided
questioning in group discussions), (2) learning by experience (readings,
lectures, demonstrations, videos, internet and other presentation media), and
(3) learning by doing (hands-on interaction with the environment (e.g.,
collecting of one’s own research observations). The Socratic Method will be
used in the form of “Weekly Discussions” to cultivate the development of
analytic and critical thinking, community and civic responsibility, and ethics
and values by guided questioning in group discussions of perennial themes
and controversies (e.g., nature vs. nurture), and current events (e.g.,
political campaigns, obedience to authority versus personal conscience, the
validity of eyewitness testimony, etc.). These discussions frequently focus on
issues with direct implications for community and civic responsibility.
They also highlight cultural diversity issues and ethical and value
judgments. Scientific Inquiry will be directly addressed through reading
assignments, lectures, and hands-on assignments for learning how to collect and
summarize the student’s own observations of naturally occurring human behavior.
Please note: A major portion of Environmental
Psychology is about how people get along with or do not get along with other
people. This topic is inherently controversial. We all have very dearly held
beliefs and attitudes. No one likes to consider, much less admit, that they
might be wrong, especially in the ways that that think and feel and act toward
other people. However, in order for us all to make progress toward being more
educated, rational human beings, we must consider points of view other than our
own, and we must be willing to dispassionately and objectively consider points
of view other than our own, being sufficiently open-minded to acknowledge the
fact that we might be wrong.
A university is first and
foremost a place for the free and frank exchange of ideas. The founding
father of Western philosophy, Socrates, the Athenian, devised a method for
getting people to examine their beliefs and points of view other than their own,
which has come to be known as “The Socratic Method”. Socrates said that he
didn’t know anything for certain, all he had were lots of questions. He asked
his students questions that made them seriously re-consider and even doubt the
validity of their most dearly held beliefs about themselves and others. This
can be rather uncomfortable, because no one likes to consider the idea that they
might be wrong. In fact, Socrates’ questions made the citizens of ancient
Athens so uncomfortable that they voted to have Socrates stoned to death
for allegedly “corrupting the youth of the city” by encouraging the young people
of the city to question their parents’ most dearly held beliefs. Rather than be
stoned to death, Socrates committed suicide. I have no desire to be stoned to
death or to commit suicide, but I do want all of us to become more balanced and
rational and objective in our knowledge how people do and do not get along with
So, I am going to tell you in
advance that I will intentionally challenge some of your beliefs and you also
are free to challenge mine, so long as we all understand that we are doing this
for the purpose of helping each other gain a more balanced and rational
understanding of ourselves and each other. No one is perfect, and that from
time to time all of us have been wrong. In this class, we will all have to be
open-minded enough to consider the possibility that some of our thoughts and
feelings and attitudes toward other people might be wrong, and we have to be
forgiving enough to accept the fact that when someone challenges our beliefs, he
or she is doing so for the purpose of trying to understand our point of view and
helping us to understand points of view other than our own. This will be much
easier said than done, but it is the oldest and still the best way of teaching
that I know.
Notice: If you do
not feel comfortable with the idea of having your beliefs challenged, then you
should drop this course immediately.
COURSE OBJECTIVES. On completion of this course,
student should be able to:
1. identify and explain the basic vocabulary and concepts
of environmental psychology and how these relate to the student’s life.
2. apply analytical and critical thinking as
well as and ethics and values to the concepts and issues of environmental
3. understand and apply the principles of scientific
inquiry to the study of environmental psychology.
4. apply the literacies of analytical and critical
thinking, scientific inquiry, and ethics and values to issues of
mutliculturalism and diversity in order to prepare students for lifelong
learning and serving a global community.
COURSE TEXTBOOKS: (1) Environmental Psychology,
Bell, Greene, Fisher, & Baum, 2001. Thompson-Wadsworth. & (2) Mapping Murder,
Canter, 2003. Virgin Books.
ACADEMIC HONESTY: “Academic Honesty is required of
all members of a learning community. Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or
plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments. Students
who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from
PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism—the appropriation or
imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as
one’s original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.
Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult
ATTENDANCE POLICY: Instructors are required to keep
attendance records and report absences. The instructor may excuse absences for
cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.
Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of
enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties. In the event of
two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student
will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “F”. An Incomplete
will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded
for a course. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans
Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused
absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the
appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student. Reports
of F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for
students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will
be reported to the appropriate agency.
LATE SUBMISSION OF COURSE MATERIALS: The instructor
will not accept assignments late. Assignments not submitted on the due date
will receive a grade of “zero” (Discussion questions) or as indicated below.
1. To assess the students’ achievement of Course
Objective #1. Performance on the essay exams and objective, multiple-choice
examinations that test their knowledge of these contents will be evaluated.
2. To assess the students’ achievement of Course
Objective #2 (to apply analytical and critical thinking as well as and ethics
and values …”, students’ resolutions to the Weekly Discussions on these
topics will be evaluated. Each Weekly Discussion Question that students
submit is worth 5 points.
3. To assess students’ achievement of Course
Objective #3 (to understand and apply the principles of scientific inquiry
…, students’ term papers will be evaluated. The report should be written
according the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual (5e)
and submitted via email as a Microsoft Word document. (See handout for the
exact specifications and form for this assignment.) The research reports will be
worth a maximum of 100 points and will be scored by the instructor as follows:
written proposal = 20 points, written report = 50 points, oral presentation = 30
4. To assess student’s achievement of Course
Objective #4 (to apply the literacies of analytical and critical thinking,
scientific inquiry, and ethics and values to issues of mutliculturalism
and diversity in order to prepare students for lifelong learning and serving
a global community), students’ performance on specific Discussions that directly
address these issues will be evaluated.
CLASSROOM RULES OF CONDUCT:
1. Computers make writing and revising much easier
and more productive. Students must recognize though that technology can also
cause problems. Printers run out of ink and hard drive crash, emails bounce
back, and servers go down. Students must be responsible for planning ahead and
meeting deadlines in spite of technology. Be sure to save copies of your work
to disk, hard drive, and print out paper copies for backup purposes.
Make sure your email account saves copies of all sent mail so you’ll have a
time-stamped copy of each question you submit, so you can re-send it in case of
2. The instructor reserves the right to assign
student seating as he deems necessary.
3. Students who arrive late should sit only in the seats
designated by the instructor for ‘late arrivals and early departures.”
Remember: those who arrive after their names have been called will be counted as
absent. No one may start to take an exam after the first person is finished and
leaves the room.
4. Students who have a serious reason for needing to
leave class early must obtain permission from the instructor and sit in one of
the late arrival/early departure seats, so as to minimize disruption of the
class’s lectures, discussions, or presentations.
5. Make-ups for exams will be given only to those who
have notified the instructor BEFORE the regularly scheduled time for that exam.
6. A university must be first and foremost, a place
for the free and frank exchange of ideas. The pursuit of academic excellence
can only take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect. We all have the right
to use logic and evidence to disagree with each other’s positions, but none of
us has the right to make derogatory or harassing statements or actions against
any other member of this class. The only thing I will not tolerate in this
class is intolerance or disrespect for others.
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 American with Disabilities
Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent 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:
COURSE TOPICS/DATES/ASSIGNMENTS: The Instructor
reserves the right to amend this schedule and course policies at his discretion
based on the progress of the course and the needs of the students.
The general procedure: On Mondays and
Wednesdays we will have group discussions on the reading assignments in the Bell
et al. Environmental Psychology textbook. Fridays will be devoted to
Canter’s Mapping Murder.
WEEKLY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In general, on
Mondays (see schedule, below) you should turn in a Discussion Question based on
either this week’s reading assignment. You should (1) email the question to
firstname.lastname@example.org by 8:00 a.m., and (2) bring a hard copy with you to
class. These should be questions for discussion, not True/False or Multiple
Choice. There should not be a correct answer. Rather, they should be questions
about current events, or important ethical issues. Each question must be typed
on a full sheet of paper with the Heading “Question # (insert appropriate Week
#)”. Questions with spelling or grammatical errors will receive a grade of zero
(0) – Use spell-check. The question must show the page number in that day’s
reading assignment where the relevant theory and/or research findings are
discussed. There is no way to “make-up” one of these questions.
Form for Weekly Questions:
Your Name. Environmental Psychology, Text, Author Chapter
#. page number. Your Question.
Joe Parkite. Environmental Psychology, Bell Chapter1.
p. 3. “Bell’s text notes certain characteristics of urban environments that are
associated with crime. Kansas City has some neighborhoods that are notorious
for high crime rates. Name one high crime neighborhood in the KC Metro area.
What characteristics of the physical environment of this neighborhood lead to
high crime rates? What changes in the neighborhood’s physical environment could
be made to make this neighborhood safer?”
In general, these weekly discussion questions are due at
the beginning of class on Mondays. This is to encourage you to read the
assignments before you come to class. These questions will be read in class to
encourage class discussion.
On Fridays, we will view and discuss David Canter’s
Mapping Murder, to focus on how Dr. Canter applies the principles of
environmental psychology to catch criminals. During the first part of the
semester, we will view the video program. During the second half of the
semester, we will read and discuss the book, Mapping Murder.
The exams will cover each of the chapters
that have been assigned since the previous exam, plus lectures, discussions,
videos, etc. Each exam will consist of a one-page essay in which students will
be asked to demonstrate their ability to comprehend, integrate and apply of the
theories, principles and empirical findings discussed in that week’s
assignments. Grammar, spelling, and penmanship count! For example, how do the
basic principles in the Bell et al. text relate to the specific cases and
investigative techniques applied in Mapping Murder.
Term paper and in-class presentations. We
will be covering Bell, Chapters 1-4, and 6-10, and all of Canter’s television
series and book. During the second week of classes, each student will choose
topic for a term paper on some topic in Environmental Psychology. These will be
presented in class on the last week of the semester. You should prepare (1) a
one-page summary to hand out in class, (2) a PowerPoint presentation to guide
your presentation (about 8 slides, approximately 10 minutes), and (3) a term
paper (10 pages, APA Publication Style, at least 5 references other than the
Bell or Canter texts) on that topic. The proposal is worth 20 points, the
presentation is worth 30 points, the written paper is worth another 50 points.
TENTATIVE SCHEDULE OF CLASS ASSIGNMENTS AND ACTIVITIES
(NOTE: THE INSTRUCTOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE
ADJUSTMENTS TO THIS SCHEDULE AS HE DEEMS IT NECESSARY).
Aug. 23 – Aug. 27
Mon.: Introductions, Syllabus, etc.
Wed.: Bell, Chapter 1. Question-Bell Chapter 1 is Due.
Fri.: Canter, Episode 1.
Aug. 30 – Sept. 3
Mon.: Bell, Chapter 2. Question-Bell Chapter 2 Due.
Wed.: Bell, Chapter 2.
Fri.: Canter, Episode 2.
Sept. 6 – Sept. 10
Mon. No Class (Labor Day).
Wednesday: Bell, Chapter 3. Question-Bell Chapter 3
Fri.: Canter, Episode 3.
Sept. 13 – Sept. 17
Mon.: Bell et al. Chapter 4. Question-Bell Chapter 4
Wed.: Bell et al. Chapter 4.
Fri.: Canter, Episode 4. Term paper outlines are Due
Friday, Sept. 17.
Sept. 20 – Sept. 24
Mon.: Exam 1 (Bell, Chapters 1-4, Canter,
Episodes 1-4, class discussions, etc.).
Wed.: Bell, et al., Chapter 6. Question Bell, Chapter 6
Friday: Canter, Episode 5.
Sept. 27 – Oct. 1
Mon.: Bell, et al., Chapter 7. Question Bell, Chapter 7
Wed.: Bell, et al., Chapter 7.
Fri.: Canter, Episode 6.
Oct. 4 – Oct. 8
Mon.: Bell, et al. Chapter 8 Question Bell, Chapter 8
Wed.: Bell et al. Chapter 8.
Fri.: Bell et al. Chapter 8.
Oct. 11 – Oct. 15
Mon.: Catch up, Review for Exam 2.
Wed.: EXAM 2 (Bell, Chapters 6-8, Canter,
Episodes 4-6, discussions).
Fri.: Individual consultations re: term papers.
Oct. 18 – Oct. 22
NO CLASSES! FALL BREAK.
Oct. 25 – Oct. 29
Mon.: Bell Chapter 9.
Wed.: Bell, Chapter 9. Question Bell Chapter 9.
Fri.: Bell, Chapter 9.
Nov. 1 – Nov. 5
Mon.: Bell, Chapter 10. Question, Bell Chapter 10 is
Wed.: Bell, Chapter 10.
Frid.: Bell, Chapter 10.
Nov. 8 – Nov. 12
Mon.: Canter, Chapters 1-4. Question Canter Chapters
Wed.: Canter, Chapters 1-4.
Fri.: Canter, Chapters 1-4.
Nov. 15 – Nov. 19
Mon.: Canter, Chapters 5-7. Question Canter Chapters
Wed.: Canter, Chapters 5-7.
Fri.: Canter, Chapters 8-11.
Nov. 22 – Nov. 24
Mon.: Canter, Chapters 8-11. Question Canter Chapters
Wed.: Exam 3 (Bell, Chapters 9, 10 & Canter,
No Classes Thursday or Friday (Thanksgiving break).
Nov. 29 – Dec. 3
Mon.: Canter, Chapter 12-17. Question Canter Chapters
Wed.: Canter, Chapter 12-17.
Fri.: Canter, Chapter 18-22.
Dec. 6 – Dec. 10
Mon.: Canter, Chapters 18-22. Question Canter Chapters
Wed.: Student presentations.
Fri.: Student presentations.
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19
Exam 4 is the FINAL EXAM (The Final Exam in this
class is NOT Comprehensive. It only covers Chapters 12-22 Lectures, videos,
etc. that have occurred since exam 3). The Final Exam for this class is
scheduled for Wed. Dec. 15, 8:00 a.m. (Note: No one may start the exam after
the first person has finished, so don’t be late!)
Questions: 14 @ 5 points (minus your 2 lowest scores) = 60 points.
4 @ 50 points = 200 points.
Term paper: 1 @ 50
points (20 points for proposal, 30 for paper itself) = 50 points.
Presentation = 50 points
Total Points = 360
360 – 324 A
323 – 288 B
287 – 252 C
251 - 216
215 – 0
Note: Grades will not be rounded. 288 points is a “B”, but
287 points is a “C”. I have to draw the line somewhere, so I’m doing it now and
telling you in advance. This will not change. Please don’t ask.
Behavioral Contract: I, the undersigned, have read
the policies and rules stated in this syllabus and agree to abide by them.
_______________________ __________________________ _____
- __ - ______. __________________.
Signature Name (Please
Print) month-day-year Park U. Student Id #