Social gerontology

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SOC364.001 SPRING 2007

Instructor: Dr. Jianjun Ji

Department of Sociology

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Phone: (715) 836-3050

Fax: (715) 836-5071


Classroom: Schneider Hall 313

Class Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. MW

Office: Schneider Hall 437

Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. WF or by appointment

Quadagno, Jill. 2005. Aging and the Life Course: An Introduction to Social Gerontology, Third edition, McGraw-Hill Publishers
Cox, Harold G. 2006. Later Life: The Realities of Aging, Sixth Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall

(Students are not required to purchase this text)

Goal 1—An understanding of a liberal education

Goal 2—An appreciation of the university as a learning community

Goal 3—The ability to inquire, think and analyze

Goal 4—The ability to write, read, speak and listen

Goal 6—A historical consciousness

Goal 11—An understanding of human behavior and human institutions

These goals will be addressed through lectures, assignments, readings, quizzes, exams, class discussions, power points, handouts, and personal advising.
Social gerontology is a subfield of gerontology and concerned mainly with the social, as opposed to the physical or biological, aspects of aging. It examines the research and theories associated with the field of social gerontology. Among the topics of interests to social gerontologists are family relationships, health, economics, retirement, widowhood, and care of the family elderly. Social gerontology integrates information from all social sciences – sociology, psychology, economics, and political science to seek understanding how the biological processes of aging influence the social aspects of aging. The research findings generated from social gerontologists can be used in the applied disciplines of social work, public administration, urban and regional planning, many others to help professional design and implement programs and policies for aging people in an aging society. By attending this class, students will gain insight into the social aspects of the aging process, as well as the social experiences, rewards and challenges confronting older people in society.
The primary instructional methods used in the course are lecture, broader class discussion, and small group presentation. The lecture will be carried out by a well-organized power point. The content of the lecture is based on Later Life by Harold Cox. There is also a fair amount of reading and presentations for the class. Therefore, students should do their best to provide their positive cooperation with the instructor by attending class consistently, keeping current on the readings, taking good class notes, as well as actively participating in the small group work and broader class discussions. Students will learn more from the course and gain a better understanding of the subject at hand. Students will be responsible for both lecture and reading materials for purposes of the examinations. In addition, all students should demonstrate academic honesty in this course such that all graded work, except that explicitly designated as group work, reflects only the efforts of each individual student. It is a sincere hope that academic honesty is a rule in this course. Students should do all their work independently. Any occurrence of academic misconduct such as plagiarism will be dealt with in accordance with the guidelines and procedures outlined in the academic misconduct policy at the university.
Class Attendance

Consistent class attendance is expected of all students. Class attendance will be recorded regularly in this course. In case of an illness or other types of absence, A WRITTEN NOTICE should be given to the instructor. E-mail notice is NOT accepted. Absences will affect the final grade. An absence will be one point deduction from the final grade. Students who are late for class (20 minutes or more) or who leave class earlier without the instructor’s prior permission will be taken as an absence. Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Old Library 2136 at the beginning of the semester. For those students with substantial difficulties due to disability, absences will be excused. But they must contact the instructor by phone, or e-mail within two class meetings after a missing class. Students who have 3 absences during the semester cannot get “A” grade and who have 5 absences cannot get “B” grade, regardless of other aspects of their performance.


There will be three examinations given in this class. They will be most likely to be a combination of multiple choice, true or false, essay, matching, and/or short answer definitions. No makeup examinations will be given except under extreme circumstances (e.g. death in the family, a student’s serious illness). If it is determined that a makeup examination is warranted, it will be given at a time that is convenient for the professor. Since this is both a graduate as well as undergraduate course, there will be separate grading scales for the undergraduates and the graduates. All three examinations account for 60% of the final grade. The instructor reserves the right to curve the final grade if necessary.

Research Project/Paper

Undergraduates will be required to do a research project based on five academic journal articles. The research project assignment will be worth 10% out of the total grade. The detailed information and requirements for doing this project are listed at the back of the syllabus. Graduate students will be required to write a research paper on a topic in social gerontology. The research paper will be worth a total of 10%. The detailed information and requirements for the research paper are listed at the back of the syllabus.
Reading and Presentation

Fifteen chapters from the textbook will be assigned for reading and presentation. The class will be divided into five groups each of which will have three presentations during the semester. Each group must organize its reading and presentation and submit it (both a hard copy and an email attachment are required) to the instructor prior to group presentation. Late submission and /or unstapled assignments are not accepted. The reading and presentation make up 20% of student’s final grade. This assignment serves as a supplemental material aiming to enhance the knowledge of the discipline and is a very important component of the course. The criteria for evaluation on reading and presentation are based on both quantity and quality including organization, logical sequence, and completeness.

Other supplementary materials such as research papers, articles, extracts, statistics, charts, outlines, and other work may be given during the course. In order to enhance understanding and mastery of the subject matter, quizzes and short questions relevant to the discipline may be assigned for group discussion. Additionally, audio-visual materials may be incorporated into the course when appropriate.
Field Work

In order for students to have a real world experience, groups will be given field assignments to be completed in the larger Eau Claire community. The specific tasks for each group are described below:

Group 1    Visit a nursing home and learn the daily activities involved for caring the elderly.

Group 2    Search and report nursing home services in Eau Claire area such as numbers,

locations, patients, procedures, requirements, accomplishments, etc.

Group 3    Visit a hospital, church or hospice, learn and describe all activities involved before

and after a death taking place

Group 4    Visit a hospice and give a report on the activities involving taking care of patients

who are in the dying process

Group 5    Visit a graveyard management center/unit, learn and describe the procedures and

arrangements for burying the dead.

All these activities must be completed in a written format. Prepare to give a report on the findings to class. This activity will take 10% of the final grade.

The syllabus serves as a “contract” between the instructor and the students. It is very important that students read the syllabus carefully and make plans for themselves and act upon it accordingly. Due to circumstances such as events, meetings, weather, and the like during the semester, the syllabus may undertake some adjustments when it is considered necessary.


1 Test1 20% 94% - 100% = A

2 Test2 20% 90% - 93% = A-

3 Test3 20% 87% - 89% = B+

4 Reading 20% 84% - 86% = B

5 Field work 10% 80% - 83% = B-

6 Project/Paper 10% 77% - 79% = C+

____ 74% - 76% = C

70% - 73% = C-

Total 100% 67% - 69% = D+

64% - 66% = D

60% - 63% = D-

Below 60% = F


Final Grade = (Test1 + Test2 + Test3) * 20% + (Reading 20%) +

(Field work 10%) + (Project/Paper 10%) – (# of Absence)


Test1 2/21

Test2 4/4

Final 5/16 Wed. 5:00-6:50pm SSS#313


1/22 Syllabus and the Organization of Class
Syllabus Explanation

Groups Organization

Assignment Allocation (Project, Paper, Reading)
1/24-29 Chapter 1 Emergence and Scope of Gerontology
Group1 presents-

Ch.1: The Field of Social Gerontology

1/31-2/5 Chapter 3 Theoretical Perspectives on Aging
Group 2 presents-

Ch.2: Theories of Aging

2/7-12 Chapter 4 Historical and Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Aging

Group 3 presents-

Ch.3: Life Course Transitions
2/14-19 Chapter 7 Age Norms, Age Constraints, and Adult Socialization
Group 4 presents-

Ch. 4: Demography of Aging

2/21 Test 1


2/26 Project/Paper Proposal Presentation
Group 5 presents-

Ch.5: Historical Perspectives on Aging

2/28-3/5 Chapter 9 Family Patterns in Later Life
Group 1 presents-

Ch.8: Family Relationships and Social Support

3/7-12 Chapter 10 Work, Leisure, and Retirement Patterns
Group 2 presents-

Ch.9: Living Arrangements

3/19-23 Spring Break
3/14-26 Chapter 11 Living Environment in Later Life
Group 3 present-

Ch.10: Caring for the Frail Elderly

3/28-4/2 Chapter 12 Death and Dying
Group 4 presents-

Ch.11: Old Age and the Welfare State

4/4 Test2


4/9-11 Chapter 13 The Economic of Aging
Group 5 presents-

Ch.12: Work and Retirement

Field Work
4/16-18 Chapter 14 Exploitation of the Aged:

Crimes, Confidence Games, and Frauds
Group 1 presents-

Ch.13: Health and health Care

4/23-25 Chapter 16 Social Services for Older Americans
Group 2 presents-

Ch.14: Dying, Death, and Bereavement

4/30-5/2 Chapter 18 Aging and the Aged: Future Prospects and Issues
Group 3 presents-

Ch.15: The Economics of Aging

5/2 Project/Paper Due
5/7-9 Project/Paper Presentation
Group 4 presents-

Ch.16: Poverty and Inequality

Group 5 presents-

Ch.17: The Politics of Aging

5/16 Final Wed. 5:00-6:50pm SSS#313


Undergraduate Research Project Requirements:
Undergraduates must choose one of 10 topics for their projects from the following list:

1 Aging Americans and its socioeconomic implications

2 The frail elderly: an issue on society or on individuals

3 The trend of urbanization and the plight of the elderly, positive or negative, why?

4 Factors contributing to the declining status of the American elderly

5 Leading causes of death of American elderly and their associated factors

6 Differentiation of poverty and inequality among American Elderly

7 Top problems for aging Americans

8 Age and gender stratification of the American elderly

9 Race and ethnical inequality of the American elderly

10 Regional differences of the American elderly
The specific requirements for the project should consider but not be limited to the following steps: Name of the topic, Problem Statement/Introduction, Research Questions, Theory and Literature Review, Hypothesis, Data source, Method for Analysis, Results, Conclusion, and Reference. The project must be focused and well organized. The completed project should be typed, double-spaced, and 6 pages or more. The references must include at least 5 PROFESSIONAL research articles.

Graduate Research Paper Requirements:
Graduates students must come to the instructor to discuss their topics for the paper. Their topics must have the instructor’s approval and both quantity and quality of the paper are highly expected. The specific requirements for the paper should consider but not be limited to the following steps: Name of the topic, Problem Statement/Introduction, Research Questions, Theory and Literature Review, Hypothesis, Data source, Method for Analysis, Results, Conclusion, and Reference. The completed paper should be type, double-spaced, and 10 pages or more. The references must include at least 10 PROFESSIONAL research articles. In addition, the paper must be submitted in ASA format which can be found at the following address:
Kataloq: jij

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