SO332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement

for F1T 2011

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SO 332 Dying, Death, & Bereavement


F1T 2011 DL


Josephsohn, Thomas J.




B.A. University of Missouri, Columbia
M.A. University of Missouri, Columbia

Office Hours

I will respond to emails within 24 hours except on weekends

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

F1T 2011

Class Days




Credit Hours



Type text here
The Last Dance: Encountering Death & Dying, by L.A. DeSpelder, A.L. Strickland, McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2008, 8th Edition, ISBN#: 0073405469.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

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 educational philosophy is that of active learning.  I attempt to ask questions and provoke discussion that provides students with a working knowledge of a subject.  Knowing answers to questions is not enough, a student must be able to find answers and judge their quality.  I do this by emphasizing open ended questions embedded in readings and lectures that are subject to debate using the evidence at hand.

Class Assessment:

Grading Rubric:

Weekly Assignments - Place experiential assignments in the drop box designated for that assignment by Sunday night, answers must contain all elements of the assignments for full credit.

50 points per week, except week 8

350 points

Discussion Assignment

50 points per week

400 points

Weekly Quizs

10 points per week, except week 8

70 points

Core Assessment Assignment - done in all the SO332 Courses - see below for details about the paper written as an aid to a problem area presented in course textbook.

300 points            

300 points

Midterm Exam - Over Chapters 1-5, 10, 11, 14; 39 multiple choice questions taken from study questions. No proctor required.

150 points

150 points

Final Exam- Over Chapters 6 - 9, 12, 13, 15; 50 multiple choice questions taken from study questions and 2 essay questions which must by taken in a physical setting with a proctor, set up in advance, and emailed back to the instructor by the Proctor. Note directions for this on the course home page.

170 point




1440 points




Grading Scale:

100-90% A = 1296 – 1440 points

89-80%   B =  1152-1295 points

79-70%   C = 1008-1151 points

69-60%   D = 864-1007 points

59-0%     F = 863 points and lower

Late Submission of Course Materials:
If your assignments are turned in late regarding your contributions the discussion sections, or other assignments, they will not receive the maximum number of points available. Points deducted will be per day and depend upon the assignment involved. If you do not contribute to your discussion sections, you will not receive credit for it.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1. Courtesy & the "Golden Respect Rule":  Treat others as you would like to be treated - including the Professor. (unless you are a "personality disorder", and then we will have to refer you for treatment!)
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. It can take a few days to adjust to a course site, so take some time to check out the areas and be patient with yourself and others. After exploring and reading all the information, if you still have questions please post them in the Office area so that other students can benefit from reading them. If you have a personal issue you can email the Professor within the course system. The turn around for responding is a maximum of 48 hours, except for weekends.
4. You will post/discuss study questions in the discussion posting area. A minimum of 3 in depth responses is required; "I agree", is not enough.
5. Other assignments that the entire class will participate in will be posted in the special discussion areas created for them each week. A minimum of 3 in depth responses is required also.
6. If doing an interview, remember to use "Active Listening" when asking questions. Note information regarding the interviewee.
7. It's best to do assignments in a word processing program and then cut and paste into the discussion area. This way you can save your work in case of a software problem.
8. Have a BACKUP COMPUTER located in case of problems, and do your assignments early enough to be able to seek another if you have to.  Having a computer problem is not an excuse for not doing an assignment.

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
              Each week: 1.  Discussion questions
                                  2.  Large group (entire class)discussion assignment
                                  3.  Weekly quiz based on the readings

Week 2: Chapter 3 -  Perspectives on Death: Cross Cultural & Historical
              Chapter 14 - Beyond Death/After Life

Week 3: Chapter 4  - Death Systems: Morality and Society
              Chapter 5 -  Health Care Systems: Patients, Staff & Institutions
Week 4: Chapter 10 - Death in the Lives of Children & Adolescents
              Chapter 11 - Death in the Lives of Adults
              Midterm Exam multiple choice questions taken from self study quiz questions/discussion questions
Week 5: Chapter 12 - Suicide
              Chapter 13 - Threats of Horrendous Death
Week 6: Chapter 6 - End - Of - Life Issues & Decisions
              Chapter 7 - Facing Death: Living with Life-Threatening Illness
Week 7: Chapter 8 - Last Rites: Funerals & Body Disposition
              Chapter 9 - Survivors: Understanding the Experience of Loss

Week 8: Chapter 15 - The Path Ahead: Personal & Social Choices
              Final Exam: multiple choice questions taken from self study quiz questions and study questions from Chap 8 - 14.
             Core assessment 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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a courserelated question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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: .

Additional Information:


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Last Updated:8/2/2011 9:20:06 AM