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Welcome to Human Aging in an Aging Society
Instructor: Dr. Parkinson
Office: 229 AC Building
Phone ext. 589-2070
I. Overview of Course
This course is designed to provide you with an overview to the study of gerontology, using psychological, sociological, biological, and historical perspectives. The material will cover considerable breadth across these areas, rather than depth in any one particular area. My goal in teaching this class is to give you the beginnings of an understanding of what it is like to experience the process of aging in our culture, and to have you examine your own attitudes, fears and expectations related to your own future of growing "old."
The text for this class is The Realities of Aging by Cary Kart. There will also be material on reserve in the library which will be required reading, as well as material provided by your instructor.
II. An Important Message
As the instructor for this class, I will take the responsibility of being prepared each day, and I will sincerely try to make the material interesting and challenging. However, it will be difficult for me to keep things stimulating if you come in continually unprepared, unmotivated, or unresponsive. I expect each of you to take the same responsibility as students that I have taken as the instructor--to be prepared for class, and to be interesting and challenging. I strongly believe that all of us should be interested in making this a good class. If you don't want to be bored, get involved!
If, at any time during the semester, you need help with any part of the course, please see me during office hours, or make an appointment for another time if my office hours aren't convenient for you. If you aren't doing as well as you would like to be, please don't wait until the last week of the semester to stop in. . .monitor your grades as the semester progresses, and see me if you need help as soon as the situation looks discouraging.
Exams: There will be two exams throughout the semester.
Written Assignments: There will be four types of written assignments:
1. You will read an article which I have on reserve in the library, and answer questions concerning the article.
2. You will find an article of interest to you in the area of gerontology. Following a set of guidelines which will be given to you, you will write a summary and critique of the article.
3. Throughout the semester, some films and videotapes which explore issues relating to aging will be shown. You may be given questions to consider in relation to this material.
4. You will read the book Kate Quinton's Days, and answer a series of written questions which will be the basis for class discussion.
Oral Presentation: You will give an oral presentation of the article in Written Assignment #2. You will be given guidelines concerning this presentation.
Attendance: You will be allowed a total of three absences (both excused and unexcused) throughout the semester without being penalized. You cannot use those absences on an exam day, or on a day when you have responsibility for your oral presentation. Of course, do not feel in any way obligated to use all three allowed absences. Each absence beyond three which is an unexcused absence will result in 15 points being deducted from your final grade.
Class Participation: Since this is a small class, consistent participation by every class member is especially important. At the end of the semester, you will be asked for an honest evaluation of your efforts in class in relation to class participation. A good level of participation will add points to your grade, which can be especially helpful if you are borderline between letter grades at the end of the semester.
IV. Reading Assignments From the Text
Ch. 1 Myths of Aging (all)
Ch. 2 The Study of Aging (all)
Ch. 3 The Demography of Aging (all)
Ch. 4 The Results of Aging (read p. 69 to p. 80 "Age-Related Physiological Changes"); (read p. 89 "Sexuality and Aging" to end of chapter)
Ch. 9 Sociological Theories of Aging (all)
Ch. 7 Psychological Aspects of Aging (read p. 162 "Psychomotor Responses" to end of chapter); (read p. 143 to p. 151 "Personality Theory")
Ch. 10 Aging and Family Life (read p. 238 "Family in Contemporary Society" to end of chapter)
Ch. 12 Work, Retirement, and Leisure (all)
Ch. 19 Death and Dying (all)