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WELCOME TO LIFESPAN ISSUES SEMINAR
Instructor: Dr. Beth Parkinson
Office: 229 AC Building
I. Overview of Course
Psychology 420, Lifespan Issues Seminar, is designed as an upper-level seminar style course. Its objective is to examine psychological concepts, issues, and phenomena which can be considered as occurring throughout the lifespan, such as personality development, gender identity, problems in development, and social and personal relationships. Due to the time constraints of a three-hour course, it may not always be possible to study a topic all the way "from womb to tomb." It will, however, be possible to analyze it from a developmental or process-oriented perspective at a particular stage of the lifespan, such as gender identity in childhood or personality change in adulthood and older age.
For this Spring Semester, we will examine factors which influence the development, maintenance, and deterioration of relationships, focusing on the close relationships (CRs) of heterosexual dating and marriage. The objective of this course is to provide you with knowledge concerning various ideas and theories about relationships, and to stimulate you to think about and examine your own relationships from new vantage points.
It has been impossible to select a single book which supplies the breadth of readings needed for the course. Therefore, you have purchased one book which examines ideas and theories about relationships, Relating to Others, by Steve Duck. Lest you think that you have "gotten off easily" with such a small amount of reading, let me assure you that I will provide you with scads and reams of paper containing additional readings.
II. An Important Message
As the instructor for this course, 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 continuously 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!
Written Assignments: There will be three types of written assignments.
WA #1. Quite often throughout the semester, you will be asked to turn in a written "Summary and Discussion" of the assigned reading that will be covered during that particular class day. Obviously, this assumes a thorough reading of the assignment prior to class.
WA #2. The Miscellaneous Written Assignment: From time to time, you will be asked to write a short assignment, such as the one you will receive on the first day of class. These assignments will generally be due the class meeting following the meeting on which they are assigned.
WA #3. You will find an article of interest to you in the area of relationships. Following a set of guidelines which will be given to you, you will write a summary and critique of the article.
Oral Presentations: There will be three types of oral presentations.
Oral presentation #1. From time to time, various students will be asked to give a short presentation of the WA #1 due that day. You will not receive advance notice of this, so be prepared
Oral presentation #2. For one or two readings, each student will write a "Summary and Discussion" for a specific section of the reading and will conduct a class discussion of that section.
Oral presentation #3. You will give an oral presentation of the article in WA #3. You will be given guidelines concerning this presentation.
Attendance: You will be allowed a total of four absences (both excused and unexcused) throughout the semester. You cannot use those absences on a day when you know that you have any type of oral presentation due. Each unexcused absence beyond four will result in fifteen points being deducted from your final grade. Of course, do not feel obliged to use all four absences.
Late Assignments: You can give me a late WA #1 at the beginning of the next class day, but you will have points deducted from your grade. No late WA #2s will be accepted.
Class Participation: Consistent class participation of a high quality is expected. A low level of participation will hurt your final grade.
IV. A Final Note
Obviously, I expect that you will all be dedicated in both your reading and your written work.