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WELCOME TO TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY
Instructor: Dr. Beth Parkinson
Office: 229 AC Building
I. Overview of Course
Psychology 450, Topics in Psychology, is designed as an upper-level seminar style course. Each year, one member of the Psychology Department teaches this class in order to present a topic not typically covered in the regular course offerings.
For 1995, the seminar will focus on two topics - sexuality will be the focus of the first half of the semester, while death/dying will be the focus of the second half.
It has been impossible to select two textbooks to cover these diverse topics. Therefore, with the exception of the book Last Wish, you will be reading articles and book chapters supplied by your instructor.
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 four types of written assignments. The first three are required. The last one is optional.
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 sexuality or death/dying. Following a set of guidelines which will be given to you, you will write a summary and critique of the article.
WA #4. This assignment is optional. Toward the end of the semester, you will be informed of your grade thus far. If this grade is acceptable to you, you do not need to write a "final paper" of 5-7 pages on any topic related to sexuality or death/dying. However, if you would like a chance to improve your grade, you can choose to write this paper. Details will be explained in class.
Oral Presentations: There will be three types of oral presentations.
Oral presentation #1. You will give an oral presentation of the article in WA #3. You will be given guidelines concerning this presentation.
Oral presentation #2. 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 #3. 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.
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. If you use an unexcused absence on the day that a Written Assignment #1 or #2 is due, you cannot give someone else your assignment to hand in, and you cannot give it to me outside of class. You can give me a WA #1 at the beginning of the next class period, but you will have penalty points deducted from your grade. No late WA #2s will be accepted.
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.
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.