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Honors - Death: Planning for the Inevitable

Course Details

Course Number
MWSU 4433 2H2
Spring 2011
Bridwell Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Tuesdays, 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Dr. Betty Carlson Bowles PhD, MSN, RNC, IBCLC (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Course Objectives

Objectives:  Upon completion of this course the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss beliefs and fears about death and dying.
  2. Compare and contrast various religious and cultural beliefs, customs and rituals surrounding death and dying.
  3. Discuss spirituality at the end of life and steps in taking a spiritual inventory.
  4. Identify legal and ethical issues related to death.
  5. Discuss age-related issues surrounding death and grief.
  6. Discuss organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
  7. Explore the tasks of dying and the characteristics of a good death.
  8. Identify common signs of approaching death, and ways to be with a dying person.
  9. Recognize the stages of grief and ways to support a grieving person through those stages.
  10. Demonstrate appropriate and inappropriate expressions of condolence and sympathy.
  11. Compare and contrast various methods of body disposition after death.
  12. Identify various ways to memorialize a deceased person. 
Course Expectations


Cultural or Religious beliefs, customs and rituals surrounding death and dying.

Ethical Will

Cemetery Observation

Letter of Condolence

Obituary or Eulogy

Team Presentations:

Cultural beliefs, customs and rituals surrounding death and dying. 

Religious beliefs, customs and rituals surrounding death and dying. 

Movie Analysis

Memorial Photo Novella

Discussion Topics

Class Participation

Final Examination

Grading Standards

Grade Determination:

Papers                                                                                                     36%              

  1. Cultural or Religious beliefs, customs and rituals surrounding death and dying                                                                                                           20%
  2. Ethical Will                                                                                                  4%
  3. Cemetery Observation                                                                               4%
  4. Letter of Condolence                                                                                  4%
  5. Obituary or Eulogy                                                                                      4%

Team Presentations                                                                            20%

  1. Culture                                                                                                        5%
  2. Religion                                                                                                       5%
  3. Movie Analysis                                                                                            5%
  4. Memorial Photo Novella                                                                              5%

Discussion Board (15 @ 2% each)                                                    30%

Class Participation                                                                              10%

Final Examination                                                                                  4%

Total                                                                                                     100% 

Grading Scale:

90-100                                     A

80-89                                       B

70-79                                       C

60-69                                       D

<60                                          F  


Submission Format Policy

Discussions on WebCT

Written Assignments on WebCT

Presentations in Class

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

Assignments:  Assignments must be submitted by the due date or incur a 10% per day reduction in grade for that assignment. The due dates will be listed in the Calendar portion of the Syllabus and on the WebCT Calendar. 

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance Policy:  This is a hybrid course with class attendance required on Tuesdays from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, and additional work to be completed on WebCT.  

Other Policies

MSU Student Honor Creed:  “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.”  See the Student Honor Creed in the MSU Student Handbook.  Also see the Code of Student Conduct regarding Academic Dishonesty.  It addresses cheating, collusion, and plageriarism.

Plagiarism:  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality, and educational purposes.

Americans with Disabilities Act: Midwestern State University does not discriminate on the basis of an individual's disability and complies with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act in its admission, accessibility, and employment of individuals in programs and activities. MSU provides academic accommodations and auxiliary aids to individuals with disabilities, as defined by law, who are otherwise qualified to meet academic/employment requirements.  For assistance, call (940) 397-4618 or (940) 397-4515.  It is the student's responsibility to declare any disabilities.  After declaration, preferably at the beginning of each semester, the student needs to contact individual instructors to determine any reasonable accommodations that may be required. Please see the instructor outside of class to make any arrangements involving special accommodations. 

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at