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D&D Syllabus

Tuesday 6:00 - 9:00 PM
MBH #113
Spring Semester 2005

Instructor:  Tawna Skousen
Telephone: 363-1978, 652-1399; leave message
Fax: 328-8452
Office Hours:  By appointment
Web address:

Required Text:
DeSpelder, L.A., & Stickland, A.L. (2005). The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying. 7th edition. McGraw-Hill.

Description: This course is designed to explore and acquire knowledge concerning topics related to death and dying. The stages of grief, the dying process, and coping mechanisms will be discussed. The student is encouraged to (1) have an open mind, (2) be willing to explore feelings and concerns related to death and dying, (3) develop critical thinking skills, and (4) recognize that living a quality life often comes from exploring and acknowledging death and dying issues.

Course Requirements:
1.  Attendance and Participation. Your participation is essential for everyone's learning. Come prepared with thoughts and questions from your readings to participate in small and large group discussions with other class members. Because of in-class assignments and guest speakers, attendance is of great importance.

2.  Thought/Reaction Papers. You will be asked to reflect and write on the issues discussed in class and generated by your readings. These are due at the beginning of class. You must have attended the class for the paper to be accepted and graded. One make-up reaction paper will be accepted, if negotiated with me and with the stipulation presented in class.
Papers should follow the following format:
Each paper should be 1-2 pages in length, typed, double-spaced.
Headings must include your name, the date and the topic of the class attended. Also indicate the Reaction Paper #___.
Clearly state (number, bold, or bullet) one-three specific topics/thoughts/ideas you are reacting to. Agree or disagree and/or point out concepts that were important, using quotes or concepts from the book, the speaker, and/or class discussions; add any past experiences and feelings that validate your reaction.

3.  In-Class, Take-Home, and Field Trip Assignments: These assignments will be completed throughout the semester, as there will be various group and individual processes. Some assignments will be graded. Other exercises may be assigned for discussion purposes, not for a grade. The assignments will be graded for completeness and quality of effort (thought processes demonstrated in the exercises). The points for each exercise will be determined by the instructor. In-class assignments can not be made up. Field trip assignments can not be made up; however, they will be accepted up to one week late, with points deducted for each day late.

4. Special Project. Options for the special project will be explained in class.

Course Policies:
1.  Evaluation of work will be based on expected college level of written and analytical thought.
2.  Please make sure your name, date, and assignment title are on every paper handed in.
3.  You should read all assigned readings before the beginning of class and be prepared to discuss them during class sessions. I reserve the right to give unannounced quizzes if I feel that you are unprepared for discussions.
4.  Class disruptions (i.e. excessive talking) will not be tolerated. When you interfere with the learning environment, you will be asked to leave.
6.  If absent, you are responsible for any take-home assignments and lecture material.
7.  We will be discussing some difficult and possibly controversial material. Please be respectful and receptive to all differing ideas and perspectives. There will be guest speakers who will present their views. There will be no effort on the part of the instructor to censor information. Therefore, it is likely that speakers will discuss their relationship to God. You are expected to listen, evaluate and form opinions, but not debate with the speakers. You are, however, encouraged to ask questions to obtain clarity and understanding.
8.  Be true to yourself and share your opinions; they are of great value. I look forward to learning from all of you.
9.  Please feel free to discuss any difficulties or concerns with me in a timely manner (meetings by appointment, email, telephone).

Reaction Papers....……………...……………………...60 points
Worksheets/quizzes...........….……………………….…75 points
Assignments (group, field trips, project)...…………….....75 points
Participation…………….......……………………..........15 points
                                                                     TOTAL     225 points

A   93 to 100% (210-225)     B   83 to 86% (187-195)     C    73 to 75% (164-170)      D    63 to 65% (142-147)
A-  90 to 92%  (203-209)      B-  80 to 82% (180-186)     C-  70 to 72% (157-163)      D-   60 to 62% (135-141)
B+  87 to 89% (196-202)      C+ 76 to 79% (171-179)     D+  66 to 69% (148-156)     Fail  Below 60% (0-134)

Reaction Papers

Worksheets /
 Field Trips; Project;
Group work
W1 (10)
Q1 (15)
W2 (10)
Q2 (15)
W3 (10)
Q3 (15)

Cemetery (20)
Mortuary (20)
Special Project (25)
Group work (10)


                    GRAND TOTAL _____________

Tuesday -- Tentative Schedule: Topics/Dates May Change     
          Topic                           Due at start of class           Assignments               

Introduction, Syllabus

Chapter 1: Attitudes toward death

For next week:
Read Chapter 1
Intake assessments
Group prep

Chapter 1: Attitudes toward death
    [cont. from last week]
Group work
Intake assessments

For next week:
Read Chapter 3
Group prep

Chapter 3: Perspectives on death


Group work, cont.
For next week:
Read Chapter 4


Chapter 4: Health Care Systems

Guest Speaker: Flo Wineriter

For next week:
Read chapter 5
Reaction on today's class

Chapter 5: Death systems

Video: Before I Die

Thought/Reaction Paper 1 (based on 2/1 class)

For next week:
Read chapter 14
Worksheets 1
Quiz 1
Cemetery Visit Paper

Chapter 14: Beyond death/after life

Guest Speaker: Terry Pavia

Cemetery Visit Paper

Worksheets 1 due
Quiz 1 (1,3,4,5,14)

For next week:
Read Chapter 8
Reaction on today's class


Chapter 8: Understanding experience of Loss
Guest Speaker: Steve Mikita

Thought/Reaction Paper 2 (based on 2/15 class)

Mortuary Visit sign-up
For next week:
Read Chapter 7
Reaction on today's class


Chapter 7: End of Life issues

Guest Speaker(s): Hospice For Utah

Thought/Reaction  Paper 3 (based on 2/22 class)

Mortuary Visit sign-up

For next week
Read Chapter 9
Reaction on today's class
Mortuary Visit

Mortuary Visit

Chapter 9: Last rites: Funerals and Body Disposition

Thought/Reaction Paper 4 (based on 3/1 class)

For next class:
Read Chapter 12
Mortuary Visit paper

Chapter 7, cont.
Video: Living Wills
Chapter 12: Suicide

Guest Speaker:
Mortuary Visit Paper
For next week:
Read Chapter 13
Worksheets 2
Quiz 2

Chapter 13: Risks of death


Worksheets 2
Quiz 2 (7,8,9,12)

For next week:
Read Chapter 6
Special Project
6. Facing Death

Guest Panel: Criscell Paskett
                     Kermit Heid
                     Kristy & Randy  Petru

Special Project due
For next week:
Reaction on today's class
Read Chapter 15

Chapter 15: The Path Ahead

Guest Speaker: Michelle Thomas

Thought/Reaction Paper 5 (based on 4/5 class)
For next week:
Reaction on today's class

Thought/Reaction Paper 6 (based on 4/12 class)

For next week:
Worksheets 2
Quiz 3


Worksheets 3
Quiz 3 (6,13,15)
Extra Credit

Disclaimer: This syllabus is intended to be an accurate representation of requirements. However, I reserve the right to change the requirements, point totals, or other aspects of this class based on any of the following: class attendance, progress, or participation; natural or unnatural disasters; possible unforeseen events, opportunities, and/or whims.