SO332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement

for U1M 2011

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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.


SO 332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement


U1M 2011 CH


Andrews, Claude ("Tweetybird")


Adjunct Faculty


B. A., M. Ed., M. Div.
Advanced work toward Ph. D all completed except for dissertation was not completed due to family illness.  For other information, location, and particulars, see bio-sketch

Office Location

Home office:  Creative Living Associates, 147 Hoop Pole Creek Drive, Atlantic Beach, N. C. 28512, Mailing address:  P. O. Box 478, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512

Office Hours

Place and time may be arranged ahead of time as needed and requested.

Daytime Phone

Cell phone number is 252-903-6666, and if Tweetybird is unavailable by phone, please leave a very brief voice message with phone number with area code--he does not have a land phone.  Let him know the best time to return call, since his hours are very much variable with his consultation work.


--please e-mail both addresses when making contact.

Semester Dates

June 6,  2011--July 31, 2011

Class Days


Class Time

4:35-7:15 PM


There are no prerequisites, although since this is an upper level course, good reading and writing skills are important.

Credit Hours


DeSpelder, Lynne Ann and Strickland, Albert Lee.  THE LAST DANCE: ENCOUNTERING DEATH AND DYING, 8th Edition (2008). New York:  The McGraw-Hill Companies.   

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Additional resources and readings will be cited as we proceed through the class. The first four sites listed below may be useful in terms of proper APA style references that are to be used for work presented in this class with the last two being good sites for further themes dealing with our subject matter:

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 or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information apacrib.htm

Course Description:

Consideration is given to sociological, psychological, as well as practical perspectives on  life, death, and the cultural and ritual issues that deal with dying, death, and breavement.  Some consideration will also be given from a sociological perspective to the concepts of beyond death/after life in terms of religions.  The course also gives attention to  such matters of contemporary concern as the denial of death, counseling,  the dying and bereaved, the right to die, and funeral practices.  

Educational Philosophy:

     The educational philosophy Tweetybird uses in this course is one of interactiveness based on weekly journaling, stimulus materials that he and the students will be presenting, along with story telling, student presentations, videos, possible guest speakers and writings.  Our learning experience is not only individual, but also group oriented.  Everyone is expected to contribute and has the opportunity to learn from each other.  The student's grade is dependent upon mastery of the material AND making use of it for life-long learning and living.  The student will not be "graded" upon his/her opinion, if well developed, but on how well the student uses the learning experience.  There is a LOT of reading for this class--so please keep up the reading between classes.  Remember the "mini-semester" philosophy--each class is the equivalency of a regular one-hour class three times per week for one full semester.  Please note that not all material may be directly covered in formal class presentations, but the student is responsible for the basic content of the readings.  Another further note: given Tweetybird's background in private practice, consultation work with private, religious, and public agencies, as well direct service with public safety (law, fire, communications, rescue, and emergency medical services) he has many varied experiences and "war stories" that illustrate many of the issues that are germane to the class.  Given the issues of professional and confessional confidentiality as well as HIPAA laws, the illustrations he uses have been heavily disguised to protect anonymity and confidentiality.  The stories may have the feel of "reality" because the situations are based on "real life."
     Note:  Attached to this syllabus are three additional documents:  Two involve the use of you as a student to evaluate your fellow-student in two presentations that each student will be making during the mini-semester.  One is the student evaluation form for the practical work each student will present in class and the other is the student evaluation form for the research presentation.  In addition, also is attached is a brief biographical sketch about Tweetybird for those students who may not be familiar with him.  

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will be able to demonstrate basic understanding of the dying process as we currently know it from a physical and mental perspective including dying due to aging, illness, suicide, as well as premature dying and death so demonstrated by a paper as well as a class presentation.
  2. The student will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the complexity of life-and-death issues including the complex ethical, social, and religious issues from a sociological perspective as illustrated in the paper and presentation.
  3. The student will be able to demonstrate his/her understanding the implications and process of bereavement in terms of family, friends and society as illustrated in his/her paper and presentation.
  4. The student will be able to demonstrate how he/she would deal with his/her own needs in practical ways in terms of grieving, advanced directives and medical rights, near-death experiences, and other such issues in the dying process by reviewing his/her own possible choices and presenting them in class.
  5. The student will be able to demonstrate how he/she may reflect upon the sociological, psychological, and perhaps values/belief systems, dealing  with his/her own death in facing issues as cremation, funeral rites and other consumer issues.
Class Assessment:
Individual class assessment is based on the following: Participation Assessment will be achieved successfully by the following activities: 
Participation:  25% of grade 

     1.  Starting the second Monday class each student is to e-mail to Tweetybird a half-page to one page summary of the previous two classes with a brief statement of what he/she learned new in terms of content (objective) in one paragraph.  In the second paragraph the student is to describe his/her reactions to the new-found knowledge (subjective).  This is to be done each week for a minimum of 5 weeks (5 journal reports consecutively numbered for all five weeks).
     2.  Each student is to be active in class by making by  appropriate comments, raising questions and other supportive actions indicating he/she has read the material and is actively involved in the class.  This also means that the student must actually be present in class in order to participate, and points will be deleted for all absences as well as some deductions for being late or leaving early.   
Research assessment:  25% of grade
     1.  The student will complete a research paper of a minimum of 10 pages (plus title page and bibliography page) on a theme that grows out of the course involving living, dying, and possibility of after-life from a sociological/psychological perspective.  This is to be done in 10-12 point professional font with one-inch margins.  The student is to use APA style format (see sites for APA information previously cited).  There should be a minimum of 7 academic sources in compiling the work.  The student will check with Tweetybird in terms of appropriateness of the research.
     2.  The student will present to the class a summary of his/her research work for about ten minutes.  He/she may use any form of media to present the work and also be prepared to respond to questions and comments from other students.  (Note:  Start preparation early, some students may need to present before the "hardcopy" is due.)  Please be aware that there will be a "sign-up" sheet for the presentation schedule and each student is to present on the actual time for which he/she commits (this is done on a "first come-first served" basis).  If, for some reason, that person cannot present at that agreed upon time, he/she has to have another student to present in his/her place--this needs to be "cleared" with the instructor ahead of the presentation time.  If the sign-up contract is not honored and is presented at another date later without an instructor-agreed change, then the paper drops to a lower level by loss of points.  See the attachment for the form that will be used by your fellow students for evaluation of your presentation. Your total grade in this area will be dependent upon the student evaluation of the presentation as well as the actual paper evaluated by the instructor.
Practical Assessment:  25% of grade
     1.  The student is to review and plan any medical directives he/she wants including such concepts involving advanced directives such as a living will, durable power of attorney, do-not-resusitate, and organ/body donations (or others the student may deem appropriate).
     2.  The student is to compose his/her anticipated obituary.  (Obviously--certainly, hopefully, this would also be somewhat ficticious in nature.)  
     3.  The student is to put in writing his/her reactions to having made a visit to a local funeral home and plan his/her own desires in terms of caskets, clothing, viewing (or whatever)--including a "ball-park" final price, plus plan an order of service and a memorial/funeral/church bulletin that the student may wish to have.  These three items will consist of three or more pages with appropriate APA documentation and will have a checklist and the attachments to match showing what was done "practically."  See also the attachment for the evaluation form your fellow students will be using to evaluate this aspect.  The practical assessment grade is based upon how well the student did the checklist with attachments and also how the students responsed to the "practical" presentation.  This practical assessment will last approximately ten minutes and is to start your presentation.  
   Comprehensive/content assessment:  25% of grade
      1.  Completing the mid-term examination in a timely fashion--see schedule.
      2.  Completing the final examination in a timely fashion--see schedule 


     As noted in the class assessment above, each of the four areas count 25% toward the total of 100% in terms of the final grade.  The grading scales are as follows:     
                        93-100 = "A"      85-92  = "B"      77-84  = "C"      69-76  = "D"      68 or less = "F"

     Bonus points on the overall average may be earned by the following:     
     1.  Five points may be gained by going to a local four-year college or university library and doing some of research there, however the student needs to bring to the instructor a document from the official on duty at the library stating that the student was present in the library.  This can be a simple document that the staff person signs saying the student was there on a particular date.  This can be done on a simple library document stating on where the books are located or any other university/library printed document.     
     2.  Going on-line toward the end of the semester and completing a course evaluation--but be sure to bring a printed last page (before you sign off) that you were there for the evaluation. This will give 1 point on the student overall evaluation.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

     If material is submitted late, one letter-grade (point) is counted off of the original grade for each class late.  If an exam is missed, it must be made up within two classes after missing.  Plan ahead and let Tweetybird know, if for some reason you will be absent--he may be willing work with the student.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

We are talking here about not only "classroom rules of conduct," but also of courtesy.

     1.  What goes on in the classroom remains in the classroom.  Sometimes in our enthusiasm some people make comments that they really did not mean to say and would not wish them to be revealed beyond the doors of the classroom.  Thus, the first rule is that we observe other people's classroom confidentiality.  If a student says something about him/herself and wishes to repeat it out side of the classroom, that is his/her prerogative.
     2.  Personal perspectives will be valued.  No personal or character attacks are allowed.  Any degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors to or about the person are not acceptable nor are they conducive to learning.  If the issue at hand may be appropriately challenged based upon educational constructs, then that is allowed.
     3.  All discussions will reflect an exchange of informational  experiences, ideas, and opinions focused on the subjects at hand.
     4.  Because of some potential sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times.  From time to time there may be words or expressions used that may appear "offensive" to some, but yet often used by others without intending to "offend."  Generally, while in class, we will use more "neutral" and academically correct terms.
     5.  Remember what we learned in kindergarten:  talking one at the time, no hitting, no wandering around from our seats, and no private conversations while the class is in session.
     6.  Active cell phones, PDA's pagers and/or laptop computers are not permitted during any scheduled class period unless directly used in a presentation.  This means no use of any forms of electronic communications or devices during class--whether they are verbal, pictorial, or text messaging.  Such devices ar disruptive of the class.  Remember, you signed up for this class, knew the hours of attendance, thus you are to have planned to focus your time on this class.  Use break times to conduct personal communication.
     7.  Communication with instructor between sessions of class:  From time to time, it may be necessary to communicate with Tweetybird between classes.  The best way is by e-mail and those addresses are posted as above.  From time to time, it may be necessary for him to communicate with the class as a whole or individually.  He will be using the Park University e-mail address which can be reached from any computer with internet access throughout the world.  If you have not activated your e-mail account, you can very easily do so by using your student id number and password.  If you do not know that information, you can contact the Park University administrative office at 252-447-0461 and they will be pleased to help you.  Since Tweetybird is on-call through out the state and nation, he does not use a traditional land-line phone, but rather his cell phone.  He will return the calls or messages as soon as practical for all incoming calls (see "caveat" above in terms of late calls.)

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

These are the dates we will attempt to fulfill, although there may be variations in terms of our schedule.  Important dates:  U1M2011 term is Monday, June 06, 2011 to Sunday, July 31, 2011.  To add courses the time is from June 6-10, 2011; last date to drop is Monday, June 13 and the last day to withdraw without grade penalty is Sunday, July 10.    

June 6     First class, orientation to syllabus and class.  Individuals in class will also complete a "time-line."
June 8     Attitudes toward death, learning about death, Chapters 1, 2
June 13   Perspectives on death cross culturally and historically, Chapter 3 *****Journal #1*****
June 15   Health care systems and dying and death, Chapter 4
June 20   Public policy and death, Chapter 5 *****Journal #2*****
June 22   Dealing with life-threatening illness and death, Chapter 6
June 27   Research (If not this day, use time wisely for research on papers and document on your 
               citations page after listing references.)  *****Journal #3*****
June 29   End of life issues, Chapter 7 *****Statement of Research and practical presentations*****
July 4      Happy Birthday, America!!  ...And thank you as our students, for helping bring another "birthday!"
               *****Journal #4*****
July 6      Dealing with survivors, Chapter 8, Last rites and rituals, Chapter 9 *****Mid-Term Exam*****
July 11    Premature deaths of children and adolescents, Chapter 10  *****Journal #5*****
July 13    Adult deaths, Chapter 11
July 18    Suicide issues, Chapter 12 *****Research paper due by mid-night electronically*****
July 20    Risks of death in the modern world, Chapter 13 *****Final Exam*****, start Presentations*****NOTE:  the "practical" part will be the first part of the presentation and the "research" part will be the second of
the presentation for about a total of 20 minutes of presentation by each student followed by possible student questions.  The "practical" three pages and check list may be turn in on your day of presentation.
July 25    Beyond death and possible after-life, Chapter 14 *****Presentations*****
July 27    Personal and social choices, Chapter 15 *****Presentations*****  Evaluation, party, wrap-up (Last class: IF you have all your information in, and you are willing to wait for a few minutes, I may be able to give you your final grade.) 
     Thanks for being in our class.  Have a great holiday break!  I hope to see many of you for our F1MCH 2012 semester!

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 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. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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: .

Student evaluation of practical experience

Student evaluation of research presentation

Practical Checklist for SO 332

Brief bio-sketch of instructor


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Last Updated:5/19/2011 12:38:16 PM