SO332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement

for S2FF 2010

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SO 332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement


S2FF 2010 FA


Fitzgerald, Christine K.


Adjunct Faculty



Office Hours

by appointment


Semester Dates

March 15 2010 - May 9 2010

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 7:40 PM



Credit Hours



Type text here
The Last Dance: Encountering Death & Dying, by L.A. DeSpelder, A.L. Strickland, McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2005, 7th Edition, ISBN#: 0-07-292096-3.

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 that of active learning geared towards an increased understanding of the death, dying and bereavement process.  Class room experiences will include lecture, text book and other readings, classroom and group discussion, videos, and writings with a focus on personal and societal misconceptions.   

Class Assessment:

1. Weekly journal: (50 points each week for a total of 350 points)
2. Weekly assignments: (50 points each week: 350 points)

3. 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. Worth 300 points.  An oral summary of the paper to be presented the last week of class.  Worth 50 points.
4. Midterm Exam:  100 points. 
5. Final Exam: 100 points


Grading Scale:

100-90% A =  1125 - 1250 points

89-80%   B =  1000 - 1124 points

79-70%   C =  875 - 999  points

69-60%   D =  750 - 998 = D

59-0%     F = 750 points and below

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late assignments accepted only with instructor approval and for reasons beyond the student's control.
Late assignments may not receive the maximum number of points available.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1. Courtesy & the "Golden Respect Rule":  Treat others as you would like to be treated.
2. Everyone has the right to respect regarding their own opinions, feelings if expressed appropriately, ie assertively rather than aggressively. Use "I" statements/messages rather than "you". Use "active listening". Note link to information on appropriate communication. Everyone has the right to be heard - listened to without interruption or judgment.
3. Please be on time and plan to stay until class has ended.  Notify instructor if you plan to be late or leave early to avoid unexcused absence.
4. Please turn cell phones off or to silent mode before class begins.
5.  Students who are absent for reasons other than hospitalization, severe illness with doctors note, deployment or madated service connected activities will be given an unexcused absence.
6.  Please send notification of absence by e-mail no later than the Saturday evening following class to receive an excused absence.

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
              Chapter 4 -  Health Care Systems: Patients, Staff & Institutions
Week 3: Chapter 5 - Death Systems: Matters of Public Policy
              Chapter 6 - Facing Death: Living with Life-Threatening Illness
Week 4: Chapter 7 - End - Of - Life Issues & Decisions
              Chapter 8 - Survivors: Understanding the Experience of Loss
                                 Mid-Term Exam: multiple choice questions Chapters 1 - 8
Week 5: Chapter 9 - Last Rites: Funerals & Body Disposition
              Chapter 10 - Death in the Lives of Children & Adolescents
Week 6: Chapter 11 - Death in the Lives of Adults
              Chapter 12 - Suicide
Week 7: Chapter 13 - Risks of Death in the Modern World
              Chapter 14 - Beyond Death/After Life
Week 8: Chapter 15 - The Path Ahead: Personal & Social Choices
              Final Exam: multiple choice questions Chap 9 - 14.
              Paper due.  Class presentations due.

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

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: .

Additional Information:



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Last Updated:2/25/2010 2:01:55 PM