SO332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement

for S1B 2009

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SO 332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement


S1B 2009 BL


Acker, Jessica


Adjunct Faculty


MA Counseling
Certified Anger Resolution Therapist

Office Location

by appointment

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time

8:00- 1:00



Credit Hours



Type text here
The Last Dance: Encountering Death & Dying, by L.A. DeSpelder, A.L. Strickland, McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2009, 8th Edition, ISBN#: 0-07-340546-9.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

2. Suicide Survivor Support Links:
3. Euthanasia, Ethics & Public Policy: 
Note: Video Links regarding death customs in other cultures are inserted into course site.

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.
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Course Description:
SO 332 Dying, Death, and Bereavement: Examines the demographic, cultural, and social psychological aspects of dying, death, and the grieving process. Topics include cultural and individual attitudes toward death, the medicalization of death, associated institutions, end of life care, the social role of funerals, and various forms of death, such as old age, and dying young, euthanasia, suicide, and genocide. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
My teaching style is a positive, practical, hands-on experience that is geared towards developing an understanding of the death, dying and bereavement process.  Class room experiences will include small and large group discussion and activies, lecture, text book reading, videos, research, and reflection on indiviudal and societal misconceptions.  All activities will be geared towards the understanding of a diverse audience including individuals with special needs, multiple learning abilites and styles, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.  Students will be rated on their ability to express themselves effectively through both oral and written assignments, apply critcal thinking skills, and respond with reflective feedback to discussion and subject.

Class Assessment:

1. Weekly journal assignment (50 points each for a total of 350 points)
2. Core Assessment Project/Paper: (300 points)
Write a paper over a current social issue related to dying, death & bereavement - such as the situation that occurred in New Orleans when it was hit by a hurricane and then flooded.
   a. Describe the issue as it is commonly framed in popular discourse.
   b. Provide theoretical and research information from this course and other sources to support your information/viewpoint.
and real world examples.
   c. Discuss  how this issue impacts individuals and the larger society. Explain how and why these effects are important using specific research.
   d. Critically  evaluate the effectiveness of different institutions and cultural strategies for dealing with your chosen issue. Discuss intended and unintended consequences of those social and structural forms now in place.
   e. Include or compare and contrast this issue if appropriate to other cultures.

This paper should be tightly focused. It should be carefully proofread and edited, contain an introductory and concluding paragraph, be clearly organized, and conform to the applicable guidelines of APA format,  including all citations and references. Minimum of 3000 words, plus any tables or figures. Submit by placing in the Assignment Dropbox for the Professor to grade.
3. Midterm Exam (100 points)
4. Final Exam  (100 points)
5. Weekly Questions must be turned in related to reading material (10 points each)
6.  Chapter Presentation (80 points)



A - 900-1000

B - 800-899

C - 700-799

D - 600-699

F - 000-599

Late Submission of Course Materials:

1.  Due to the design of the teaching model and students' presentations, no late projects will be accepted without prior approval from instructor and for reasons beyond the student's control.
2.  Work that is submitted late may result in a reduction of grade.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1.  The time, effort, and expense required for adult learning demands adult behavior.
2.  Please be on time. 
3.  Attendance will be taken before class and after break. 
4.  Please turn cell phones off or to silent mode before class begins.


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1: Chapter 1 - Attitudes Toward Death: A Climate of Change
              Chapter 2 -  Learning About Death: The Influence of Sociocultural Forces
Week 2: Chapter 3 -  Perspectives on Death: Cross Cultural & Historical
Week 3: Chapter 4  - Health Care Systems: Patients, Staff & Institutions
              Chapter 5 - Death Systems: Matters of Public Policy
Week 4: Chapter 6 - Facing Death: Living with Life-Threatening Illness
              Chapter 7 - End - Of - Life Issues & Decisions
              Midterm Exam TBA
Week 5: Chapter 8 - Survivors: Understanding the Experience of Loss
              Chapter 9 - Last Rites: Funerals & Body Disposition
Week 6: Chapter 10 - Death in the Lives of Children & Adolescents
              Chapter 11 - Death in the Lives of Adults
Week 7: Chapter 12 - Suicide
              Chapter 13 - Risks of Death in the Modern World
Week 8: Chapter 14 - Beyond Death/After Life
              Chapter 15 - The Path Ahead: Personal & Social Choices
              Final Exam TBA

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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

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 2008-2009 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 "F".
  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 2008-2009 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: .


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Last Updated:1/4/2009 7:52:06 PM