Adolescent Development in the Family (FCS 5230)
Spring 2010 – 3 credit hours
JTB 310 on 1/11 – then AEB 340 for the rest of semester
Monday/Wednesday 1:25 - 2:45 pm
Instructor: Dr. Kevin Rathunde, AEB 250, 581-5392; firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: AEB 250, Monday/Wednesday, 9:00 – 10:30 am, or by appointment
Course link: http://web.me.com/kevinr/5230/
Basic course information and objectives
The first part of this course will deal with topics that are important for
understanding adolescent development (e.g., puberty, cognitive development,
identity formation, moral development, etc.). These topics, and many others, will
often be discussed in relation to parenting and family life.
The second part of the course will place a strong emphasis on parent-
adolescent communication and adolescents’ quality of experience and engagement
in school. How can parents and teenagers improve their relationships? Where do
teenagers find high levels of interest and motivation? How can teachers and
parents help set teenagers on a path of lifelong learning? The latter theme will be
especially important for the final paper (see below).
Two texts are required: (1) Santrock: Adolesence; and 2) Csikszentmihalyi,
Rathunde, & Whalen: Talented teenagers. Both are available at the bookstore.
Additional readings will be made available by the instructor (e.g., handouts, library
reserve, on the web, etc.).
Important class material (e.g., syllabus, study guides) will be available on
the course website: http://web.me.com/kevinr/5230/.
This course will contain a strong group discussion and application
component. Sometimes the groups will discuss questions raised by lecture
material. At other times, group members will complete short, non-graded
assignments based on their reactions to various topics, movies, or music. We will
form discussion groups the first day of class, and the groups will meet weekly for
the rest of the semester. Each group must select a topic of interest from the text
(material covered in Chapters 5/6 or 9/10, see course outline below) and be
responsible for a presentation to the class.
By the end of the course, students should have: 1) an in-depth understanding
of adolescent development; a thorough knowledge of factors that contribute to
healthy family functioning; and an ability to compare and contrast different
educational approaches and how they affect the quality of adolescent experience.
Grades will be determined by two exams (25% each), class participation
(25%), and a final paper (25%). Material on the exams will draw from topics
discussed in class and/or in the readings (see below). Class participation grades
are based on: 1) weekly attendance in the small group discussions; 2) completion
of non-graded assignments during discussion groups; 3) contributions to the group
presentation; and 4) the general quality of day-to-day interaction in class.
Exams and final paper
Lecture material will sometimes diverge from topics covered in the weekly
readings. In order to fully prepare for exams, therefore, students should attend
class and read the required texts.
The first two exams will consist of multiple-choice items that cover course
readings, lecture presentations, and class discussions. Some items on the exams
will only be covered in class; other items may come from the readings. A study
guide will be provided to help students prepare for exams.
The final paper will require students to integrate various ideas on education
and experience that will be presented in the second part of the course (approximate
length is 8 double-spaced pages). Some outside reading/research will be required
for the paper.
• No class on January 18 & February 15
• Spring Break: March 22-27
• Exam 1 – Feb. 22; Exam 2 – April 7.
• Final paper due -- Monday, May 3 by noon.
Course Outline – Reading Schedule
(Please note: this schedule may be modified. Supplemental or replacement readings may be
assigned and made available to students through my website or the library reserve. I will inform
you in advance of any substantive changes.)
Week 1 (Jan. 11/13) -- Chapter 1 Introduction
Week 2 (Jan. 18 No Class/ Jan. 20) -- Chapter 2 Puberty, Health, and Biological
Week 3 (Jan. 25/27) -- Chapter 2 continued
Week 4 (Feb. 1/3) -- Chapter 3 The Brain and Cognitive Development
Week 5 (Feb. 8/10) – Chapter 4 The Self, Identity, Emotions, and Personality
Week 6 (Feb. 15 No Class/ Feb. 17) Chapter 4 continued
Week 7 (Feb. 22 EXAM 1/ Feb. 24) – Film & Interpretation
Week 8 (March 1/3) – 1st Week For Student Presentations (Presentations will cover
Chapters 5/6 – Gender and Sexuality)
Week 9 (March 8/10) – Chapter 7 Moral Development, Values, and Religion
Week 10 (March 15/17) – Chapter 7 continued/ Start of Chapter 8 Families
Week 11 (March 22/24) – SPRING BREAK
Week 12 (March 29/31) -- Chapter 8 Families continued
Week 13 (April 5 Chapter 8 Families continued/ April 7 EXAM 2)
Week 14 (April 12/14) -- 2nd Week For Student Presentations (Presentations will
cover chapters 9 & 10)
Week 15 (April 19/21) -- An experiential perspective on adolescence (part 1);
Reading: Csikszentmihalyi et al. (pages to be announced)
Week 16 (April 26/28) – An experiential perspective on adolescence (part 2);
Reading: Csikszentmihalyi et al. (pages to be announced)
University and FCS department policies
Students with Special Needs: The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access
to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need
accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the
Center for Disabilities, 162 Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work
with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.
Academic Honesty: All honesty and plagiarism policies established by the
University of Utah will be upheld in this class. Academic misconduct includes, but
is not limited to, representing another’s work as your own, collaborating on
individual assignments, and submitting the same work for more than one course
without the permission of both instructors. If it is discovered that you have
engaged in academic misconduct of any type in this course, the Family &
Consumer Studies departmental policy states that you will be given a failing grade
in the course and be reported to the Dean and the VP for Academic Affairs.
Should you be reported more than once, you may face expulsion from the
University. For further information about the University of Utah’s policies
regarding academic misconduct, please refer to the online version of the Student
Handbook and look for “University Code”:
University Drop and Withdrawal Policies: You may drop this class without
penalty or permission until January 20th, 2010. You may withdraw from the course
without permission from January 21st to March 5th, but a “W” will be recorded on
your academic record, and applicable tuition and fees will be assessed. After
March 5th, you will not be allowed to withdraw from this course. If you have any
questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Admissions and
Registrar at (801) 581-5808.
Incompletes: In order to qualify for an “Incomplete” in any University of Utah
course, you must complete no less than 80% of the course work and be in good
standing (i.e., have earned at least a C on all completed work) and receive
permission from the instructor. The FCS Department Policy is that students
who do not complete the work within 1 year will automatically receive a
failing grade. No exceptions will be made to this policy.
Late assignments will not be accepted without prior permission from the instructor.
Non-Contract Note: The syllabus is not a binding, legal contract. The instructor
may modify it when the student is given reasonable notice of the modification.
Technology Statement: Students are expected to prevent disruptions by turning off
and refraining from use of cell phones and beepers, and by putting away
extraneous reading materials. Use of laptop computers in class is not allowed
without the instructor’s permission.
1. Be prepared for class.
2. Arrive on time or early for class and have all equipment set up.
3. Use a variety of teaching methods, including lecture, group work, discussion,
demonstrations, films, etc. in an effort to create a stimulating learning
environment and accommodate different learning styles.
4. Provide feedback on assignments in a timely manner.
5. Be available for individual consultation during office hours or by appointment.
6. Reply to email within 48 hours, not including weekends or holidays.
7. Follow all official University of Utah policies regarding conduct within the
classroom, incompletes, and accommodations. Accommodations will be
considered on an individual basis and only with the required documentation. No
exceptions will be made to this policy.
8. Comply with the final exam schedule. Final papers (in place of exams) should
be due at the final exam time. Final projects or presentations should also follow
9. Not cancel classes – if there is an emergency situation efforts should be made to
10. Treat students equitably and with respect. This includes enforcing responsible
classroom behavior on the part of students. For the full list of faculty
responsibilities at the University of Utah, see
1. Spend 2-3 hours per credit hour in preparing for this class, including completing
reading assignments, written assignments, and studying for exams.
2. Complete required reading assignments in a timely manner.
3. Complete written assignments on time, or make alternate arrangements for
completing assigned work with the instructor in advance of assigned due dates.
4. Attend class and participate in class activities and discussions.
5. Arrive on time for class and stay the entire class period – arriving late and/or
leaving early will be disruptive to group work and class discussions.
6. Treat one another, the instructor, campus staff, and the classroom with respect.
7. Seek help from the instructor (and other resources such as the Center for
Disability Services or the Writing Center) whenever necessary, and before
minor problems become major barriers to learning.
8. Refer to the syllabus and the class webpage for important information
pertaining to exams, written assignments, and class policies.
For the full list of student rights and responsibilities at the University of Utah, see
Scheduling Accommodations: Students should register for courses for which they
have no scheduling conflicts. Instructors should be very cautious in providing
accommodations for students missing classes due to trips, family events, etc. It is
the student’s responsibility to get class information from other students.
U of U policy allows students to make up assignments and exams if they are
participating in officially sanctioned University activities such as intercollegiate
athletics. If students miss an exam due to illness, medical documentation (i.e., a
doctor’s note) should be provided in order to make up missed work. Except in the
case of an emergency, students must inform the instructor before the exam.
Sensitive topics: Some of the writings, lectures, films, or presentations in this
course include material that some students may find offensive. Please review the
syllabus carefully to see if this is a class you are committed to taking. If you have
a concern, please discuss it with me at your earliest convenience. In all cases, the
policies of the University of Utah will be followed.