Gerontology Senior Seminar

Document Sample
Gerontology Senior Seminar Powered By Docstoc
					                             Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                     Spring 2009
                    Tuesday/Thursday 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm in CHS 413

Professor:      John A. Krout, Ph.D.
Office:         411 Center for Health Sciences
Phone:          274-1965 (office)
Office hours:               and by appointment

Course Description: This capstone experience provides a structured opportunity for
aging studies majors to integrate knowledge and experiences from course work and
internships, explore a variety of theoretical, methodological, and professional issues in
gerontology and conduct gerontological research.

Moody, Harry R. Aging: Concepts and Controversies, 5th edition. Pine Forge Press:
Thousand Oaks, CA. 2006.

Additional required readings will be available online or in handouts.

Course Objectives:

The course objectives reflect many of the goals of the aging studies major. These are:

1. Think critically and communicate effectively in written and oral form;

2. Understand and apply theoretical perspectives related to the study of aging and apply
them to a research question;

3. Integrate information and perspectives from various disciplines to understand the
biological, social, and psychological aspects of aging;

4. Complete a research project using survey data, including data analysis and

5. Understand the diversity of the older population and appreciate the impact of
rural/urban differences, culture, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, and

6. Analyze professional and ethical issues and apply to careers in the field of aging.
Course Overview:
The primary goal of this class is to facilitate integration that will lead to a better
understanding of the nature and scope of the field as well as gerontological research and
practice. Based upon the class readings (and additional research), students will identify
and debate important aging-related issues with the goal of applying this information to
actual practice in the field of aging. Students also will review experiences from
internships, as well as revisit issues raised in previous courses. They will also conduct
interviews of older adults as part of conducting a research project. Finally, students will
create a series of documents and the e-portfolio that will prepare them for their continued
professional experiences in the field of gerontology.


1. Critical Debates in Gerontology. You will be required to participate (in written and
oral form) in a series of debates that are at the forefront of gerontology. You will draw
upon the readings (and additional sources) to present the most persuasive argument for
your position. This assignment will demonstrate your competence in objective #1, #2
and #3.

2. Theory Paper. You will write a paper in which you apply major at least 2
gerontological theories to the topic you have selected from the Longview data set for
your final research project. The theories should recognize the biological, psychological
and social influences on aging. The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your
competence in objectives #1, #2 and #3. You will write several drafts of this paper,
receive comments on each version, and present it to the class.

3. Interview Longview Residents. To help you better understand the variables in the
Longview data set as well as to gain experience in conducting survey research, you will
interview at least 5 Longview residents. This will assist in your understanding of
objective # 4.

4. Intellectual Biography. You will learn how to write an “intellectual biography.”
Almost all graduate or professional programs require a personal statement or “intellectual
biography” that explains what brought you to this place in your scholarly/professional life
and where you want to go from here. For job seekers, this scholarly biography will assist
you when asked to write similar personal statements for a professional position and when
interviewed for a position. For this assignment, you will write several drafts of this paper
and receive comments on each version. (Objective #6)

5. Resume. You will write (or revise) a resume and a cover letter. The group will make
constructive comments and suggestions. This project is part of your professional
development as you prepare for graduate school and/or a career (objective #6).

6. Final Project and Paper. You will be required to complete a final research project and
paper that involves analyzing data from Longview residents and includes the following:
      Selection of a topic from the data set that is of particular interest to you;
      As much as possible, this topic should be examined from a multidisciplinary
       perspectives (e.g., biological, health, psychological, sociological,
      Inclusion of all the elements of a research paper: problem statement, review of
       literature, methods, data analysis and presentation of findings, discussion of
       findings and their implications and conclusion;
      In presenting your project, you must use handouts, audio-visual aids, and/or
       interactive learning techniques to create the best possible learning opportunity.
       Your paper must follow the APA style format.

This project will demonstrate your competence in all objectives except #6.

7. Class Participation. Class participation includes attendance, thoughtful participation
in class discussion, and completion of small class projects. Because this class is a senior
seminar, it is expected that you complete the reading and assignments for each class.
Your grade will be lowered for lack of preparation.

8. Eportfolio. You are required to complete an e-portfolio in this class. We will spend
some time in class on the e-portfolio; one-on-one help will also be available. You will
present your e-portfolio to gerontology staff, faculty, and students at the end of the

9. Additional Professional Activities. You must, as part of your professional
development, attend at least two professional presentations or gerontology workshops
during the semester. This may include the Distinguished Speaker lecture on March 19,
2008, at 7:00 pm in Textor Hall 102. Dr. William Haley will speak on counseling family
caregivers. Other opportunities are a SSA student conference in Rochester on March 26th;
GI workshops, and other campus presentations that can be related to aging.

There are also opportunities for you to present your scholarly work, especially through
the James J. Whalen Academic Symposium on Tuesday, April 16th. This also counts as
a “professional activity”.


The grade for this course will be based on the following:

Final Project                                        30%
Debates (5 debates, 5 points each)                   25%
Theory Paper                                         10%
Intellectual Biography                               10%
Eportfolio                                           10%
Class Participation                                  10%
Resume                                               5%
ALL Assignments: Will be typed, stapled, and double spaced in 12 point font with 1 inch
margins all around. A cover page with your name, date and name of assignment is also
required. Appropriate citations must be made from sources other than your personal
knowledge. “A” papers must show originality and thoughtfulness and be free of
significant spelling and grammatical errors.

PLEASE NOTE: In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and
the Americans with Disabilities Act~ reasonable accommodation will be provided to
students with documented disabilities on a case by case basis. Students must register with
the Office of Academic Support Services and provide appropriate documentation to the
college before any academic adjustment will be provided.

PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with New York State law, students who miss class due to
their religious beliefs shall be excused from class or examinations on that day. Such
students must notify their course instructors at least one week before any anticipated
absence so that proper arrangements may be made to make up any missed work or
examination without penalty.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: See the Ithaca College Student Handbook which outlines the
College policies regarding standards of academic conduct. Any evidence of academic
misconduct will be referred to the College judicial system.

LATE PENALTIES: All assignments are expected to be turned or posted on your E-
portfolio at the beginning of class on the date indicated in the syllabus. Late assignments
will be assessed a ½ grade penalty for each day they are late.
                                   Course Schedule
                        Gerontology Senior Seminar, Spring 2009

The professor reserves the right to alter the class schedule. You are expected to come to
class prepared to discuss the day’s reading.

January 20            Course Introduction
                      Objectives, assignments
                      Longview Resident Survey/Data set
                      Discussion of research proposal and project; theory paper; intellectual
                      biography; E-portfolio
                      Moody, “Prologue” Krout Web Page
January 22            Review of Theories and Research Methods
                      Moody, “Basic Concepts I: A Life Course Perspective”

                      Maddox, “Finding New Beacons,” Sheets, Bradley, Hendricks (eds.),
                      Enduring Questions in Gerontology

                      Ferraro, “The Gerontological Imagination”
January 27            Review of Theories and Research Methods
                      Hendricks, Sheets and Bradley, “Identifying Enduring Questions in
                      Gerontology” in Sheets, Bradley and Hendricks (eds.), Enduring
                      Questions in Gerontology

                      Moody’s appendix, “How to Research a Term Paper”
                      Krout Web Page, Theory Hand Out

                      Assignments due:
                      E-portfolio set up, look at Longview survey
January 29            Review of Theories and Research Methods
                      Fry, Christine (2006). “Whatever Happened to Culture?” In Sheets,
                      Bradley and Hendricks (eds.), Enduring Questions in Gerontology

                      Achenbaum, W. Andrew (2006). “Historical Gerontology. It is a Matter
                      of Time.” In Sheets, Bradley and Hendricks (eds.), Enduring Questions
                      in Gerontology

                      Research Paper Overview
February 3            Why Do We Grow Old
                      Austad, Steven N. (2006). “A Biologist’s Perspective. Whence Come
                      We, Where Are We, Whither We Go?” In Sheets, Bradley, and
                      Hendricks (eds.), Enduring Questions in Gerontology

                      Moody, “Controversy 1: Why Do We Grow Old?”
                      Assignments due:
                      Identification of research questions, variables and theories
February 5       Why Do We Grow Old
                 Moody, Readings 1 through 7

                 Assignments due:
                 Debate 1: We Can/Should Increase Life Span. Paper and presentation
                 E-portfolio – add at least 2 pieces of work from previous semesters to
                 Draft- Intellectual biography, resume
February 10      Longview Survey and Data
                 Assignments due:
                 Presentations/discussions of research proposals
                 Familiarize yourself with Longview data set
February 12      Interviewer Training
                 Assignments due:
                 Draft of research project due (problem, theory, variables, analysis)
                 E-portfolio- complete Intro page, add 2 previous works
February 17-19   Interview Longview Residents
February 24      Creativity and Aging
                 Moody: “Controversy 2: Does Creativity Decline With Age?”
                 Readings 8-12

                 Assignments due:
                 Titles and summary of at least 5 academic journal articles on research

                 Theory paper draft
February 26      Creativity and Aging
                 Reading: Generations

                 Assignments due:
                 Debate 2: Paper and presentation: Creativity Declines With Age
                 Intellectual biography final, resume
March 3          Old Age and Meaning
                 Moody, “Controversy 3 – Does Old Age Have Meaning?”
                 Readings 13-16

                 Thomas, “What Are Older People For?”
March 5          Old Age and Civic Engagement

                 Assignments due:
                 Debate 3: Paper and presentation: Elder Civic Engagement is Good
                 Research proposal final draft
March 10, 12     SPRING BREAK
March 17         Social and Economic Issues
           Moody, “Basic Concepts II: Social and Economic Outlook”

           Stoller and Gibson (eds.), Worlds of Difference, pps. 123-138

           Assignments due:
           Theory paper final
           E-portfolio- add intellectual bio and theory paper
March 19   Entitlement Basis’s – Age/Need and Entitlements
           Moody, “Controversy 4: Should Age or Need be the Basis for

           Moody, Readings 17-20

           Assignments due:
           Debate 4: Paper and presentation: Entitlements Undermine Generational
           Complete all interviews
           Interview reaction paper due – post on E-portfolio
March 24   Economic Security and Social Security
           Moody, “Controversy 5: Future of Social Security”
           Web: TBA
March 26   Social Security
           Moody, Readings 21-24
           Web: Krout Web Page

           Assignments due:
           Debate 5: Paper and presentation: Social Security Should Be Overhauled
March 31   The Changing Nature of Retirement
           Moody, “Controversy 6: Is Retirement Obsolete?” Readings 25-28

           Web: Krout Web Page

April 2    Retirement , continued

           Assignments due:
           Debate 6: Paper and presentation: Retirement is an Outdated Idea
           Research paper draft #1 including theory, literature and initial findings
April 7    Aging, Health Care and Society
           Moody, “Basic Concepts III, Aging, Health Care and Society”

           Stoller and Gibson (eds.), Worlds of Difference, pps. 269-283

           Web: Krout Web Page
April 9    Health Care for All?
           Moody, “Controversy 7, Should We Ration Health Care for Older

           Moody, Readings 29-33

           Assignments due:
           Debate 7: Paper and presentation: We Should Ration Health Care for
April 14   Family Caregiving
           Moody, “Controversy 8, Should Families Provide for Their Own?”
           Web, TBA Models of Caregiving
April 16   Support/Options for Family Caregiver
           Moody, Readings 34-38
           Web: Krout Web Page

           Assignments due:
           Debate 8: Paper and presentation: Family Caregiving: How Much
           Can/Should We Expect?
           Add 2 debate papers to E-Portfolio
April 21   Older People and Decision Making
           Moody, “Controversy 9: Should Older People Be Protected From Bad

           Moody, Readings 39-42

           Assignments due:
           Research paper draft #2 due
           Add to E-portfolio
April 23   Older People and Decision Making

           Assignments due:
           Debate 9: Paper and presentation: Old People Should Make Their Own
April 28   End of Life Decisions
           Moody, “Controversy 10: Choice to End Lives” Readings 43-46

           Assignments due:
           Debate 10: Paper and presentation: Old People Should Be Able to Decide
April 30   E-Portfolio Presentations
           Assignments due:
           Research Paper Due!!!
           E-portfolio Presentation
                                  Senior Seminar, Spring 2009
                                  IMPORTANT DUE DATES

DATE     TOPIC                      DEBATE      THEORY PAPER        LONGVIEW         PROJECT              E-PO
Jan 20   Introduction                                                                                     Discu
Jan 27   Theories and Methods                                                                             Set u
Feb 3                                           Identify theories                    Identify variables
Feb 5    Why We Age                 1
Feb 10   Longview Data                                              Data set
Feb 12   Interview Training                                                          Proposal Draft       Intro
Feb 17   Interviewing                                               Interview
Feb 19   Interviewing                                               Interview
Feb 24   Creativity                             Draft                                 Summary of 5
Feb 26   Creativity                 2
Mar 5    Meaning and Engagement     3                                                Final Proposal
Mar 17   Social/Economic issues                 Final paper                                               Intell
Mar 19   Entitlements               4                               Interviews                            Interv
                                                                    completed,                            paper
                                                                    Reaction paper
Mar 26   Social Security            5
Apr 2    Retirement                 6                                                Research project
                                                                                     paper draft #1
Apr 9    Health care                7
Apr 16   Family                     8                                                                     Post
Apr 21   Decision Making                                                             Paper draft #2
Apr 23   Decision Making            9
Apr 28   End of Life                10
Apr 30   E-Portfolio                                                                 Final Project        Final
FINAL                                                                                Present project

Stats on US Elders

Research Project

Long-Term Care


Social Security

Boomers and Retirement

Health and Disability

Creativity and Aging
                                  REVISED 1/29/09

                           Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                  Spring 2009

                             Theory Paper Assignment

Understanding theories of aging, the frameworks used in gerontology to explain what we
observe, is often challenging. Gerontologists have built on theories in a number of
disciplines from the biological and social sciences. They have also developed unique
approaches to better understand the experience of aging and to identify factors that are
most important for policy makers and practitioners to address. Thus, aging studies majors
should have a basic understanding of major gerontological theories and have some
experience applying them in research.

An important component of your research project is the theory piece, the part where you
identify and explain the research problem you are investigating and the conceptual
approach you will be using to examine the research question you have identified.
Because this is so important for your project, you will complete a separate theory
assignment that will serve as the basis for the rest of your research paper.

The specific theory you use will depend on the nature of the question you have chosen to
investigate with the Longview data. To help you better understand gerontology theory in
general and to look at your research question from more than one perspective, you will
identify and discuss at least 2 different theories, ideally that are based on different
disciplines (say a social versus a psychological theory) and explain why you have
chosen the theory you intend to use in your project.

You will write several drafts of the paper and discuss it with your classmates and

The paper will be approximately 5 pages long and is worth 15% of your final grade.
                                  REVISED 1/29/09

                           Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                  Spring 2009

                         Research Project and Interviews

A major assignment for the Senior Seminar is the completion of a research project.

You will pick a gerontological question of interest to you that can be researched using
the Longview Resident Survey data file. Your theory paper is part of this project and you
will add the other parts of a research paper for your final project, which will be presented
to the class (and interested faculty) during the final exam period.

In addition to analyzing data from the Longview survey, you will also conduct interviews
of at least five Longview residents and can add your observations from these interviews
in your paper.

The research paper must demonstrate “critical thinking” as defined by the 7
attributes of critical thinking outlined in the critical thinking rubric.

This paper should be approximately 15 to 20 pages (double-spaced) and must follow the
APA style manual for formatting tables, references, etc. It is worth 30% of your final
                                REVISED 1/29/09
                            Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                   Spring 2008

                                Debate Assignment
For each of the debates you are responsible for, you will be randomly assigned to agree
or disagree with the question. Read the material in the book for evidence that supports
your assigned position, and gather additional support from at least one outside source.
Produce a short handout for the class that summarizes your key points.

In class you will present support for your position to the class. You may use Powerpoint
if you want, but it’s not required. You will also be expected to offer a rebuttal of the
evidence presented by your “opponent”.

You will be graded on the clarity and persuasiveness of both your handout and your
presentation. Those who are not assigned to present that week should do the readings and
come with questions for both sides!

Addendum: For one of your debates, in addition to your hand out you will be required to
write a paper based on your hand out that demonstrates the 7 attributes of Critical
Thinking outlined in the Critical Thinking Rubric and that you have considered
information on the biological/health, psychological and social aspects of aging. You may
be asked to revise this.

This should be no more than 500 words.

You must do this by your third debate.
                          Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                 Spring 2009

                            Interview Reaction Paper

Write an approximately 500 word paper on your experiences interviewing Longview
residents. Questions to answer:

      Was the interview easy to administer?
      Did you find any of the questions difficult to ask and/or the residents have any
       difficulty answering?
      What questions seemed to elicit the most reaction? Why do you think?
      Did residents tend to provide more or less information than the question asked?
       Did they offer comments beyond the scripted response?
      Do you feel that your attitudes toward older people have been affected by doing
       the interviews?
      Do you think that the data from the questions adequately capture what they were
       designed to?
      What changes, if any, would you make to the survey or its implementation?
                            Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                   Spring 2009
                              Eportfolio Expectations

Minimum requirements:
1. Your Eportfolio has a home page, with 10 sections labeled appropriately.

2. Each of these 11 pages (home plus 10 sections) contains at least several sentences of
text. For the home page, this will be a short introduction to the Eportfolio; for the 10
sections, this will be a short reflection on what college experiences helped you in that

3. Most of the 10 sections should have links to documents (1-2 documents per section).
It is OK to leave out the link to the theory paper if you won’t have finished it by then.

More than the minimum:
1. Include pictures when possible. Especially appropriate for internships!

2. Add section(s) to highlight other relevant activities (AGES, study abroad, work

3. Higher quality and/or longer reflections within sections.

4. More documents per section than the minimum.

Your Eportfolio is worth 10 points towards the final grade. An Eportfolio that meets the
“minimum” expectations will be worth at least 5 points. The other 5 points will reflect
the quality of the reflections, the quality of the presentation on April 30, and additions to
the Eportfolio beyond the minimum.

Pam Mayberry is available to help you build your Eportfolio, and I am available to
comment on your work throughout the semester.

The E-portfolio is worth 10% of your final grade.
                            Gerontology Senior Seminar
                                   Spring 2009

                                Intellectual Biography
The purpose of the intellectual biography (IB) is to critically review your life as a
gerontologist (including other fields of study, if they are part of your intellectual
development.) There is no one “right” way to write the IB. Often, the IB includes how
you first became interested in the study of aging. You may also want to describe people
who were important earlier in your life regarding your journey to gerontology / aging

After describing the forces that likely led to your interest in aging, briefly explain the
projects that you completed during your major that had the greatest impact on you.

Finally, describe where you plan or hope to be at the beginning of your career. In
addition, where do you plan or hope to be in the future? You may want to describe your
“dream” career in aging.

The paper will likely be at least two double-spaced pages, but you are welcome to write a
longer piece. The IB as a whole or parts of it would be good additions to the Eportfolio.
For example, a short version of the IB might be good text for the introduction page, and
the discussion of meaningful projects could work as descriptions for papers you’re

The IB is worth 10% of your final grade.

Shared By: