Spring 2007, Theatre A201

"The User's Guide to the Family"

sitemap for the course


Course Professor: Dr. Kathleen Gilbert

Office: Poplars 619 (Poplars is located on 7th St. between Dunn and Grant)
Phone: 855-5209
E-mail: gilbertk@indiana.edu
Fax: 855-7092
Office Hours: TR 2-4 and by appointment

Associate Instructor: Katie Wilkinson
E-mail: katcwilk@indiana.edu
Office Hours: contact for availability

Insert your discussion leader's name and contact information here: _______________________________


Day, R. D. (2002). Introduction to family processes (4th ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc, Pub.

Gilbert, K. R. (Ed.)(2007). The family 07/08. Guilford, CT: Dushkin Pub. Co. (readings listed below by number)

PowerPoint presentations on each topic (listed below in the schedule) must be printed out and brought to the class for which they are scheduled. Please review these pages before you come to class, as they are the outlines of the class presentation.


This syllabus is intended to serve as a guide to you as you go through this course. It will indicate what you can expect from the course as well as what is to be expected of you. For any instructions given for assignments or for examinations, you must follow the instructions given in the syllabus.

HPER F258 is an applied course, designed to help students explore the many facets of marriage and family interactions. The primary focus will be on the ways in which your experience of family has affected, is affecting and will affect you in the future. The course will examine this subject from a personal and scholarly perspective. You will be asked to examine your attitudes, values, and expectations about family life. Because of the nature of the course and the way in which we carry family within is, you may be exposed to different views of how family ought to be "done." Students, therefore, are expected to be respectful of each other and to listen to each other without prejudgement.


As graduates of HPER F258, you will be:

  1. able to identify content areas/topics which are relevant to the study and understanding of family process.

  2. able to demonstrate an understanding of key concepts within these content areas.

  3. aware of your own as well as others' attitudes and values regarding the influence of the family on other aspects of life.

  4. able to discuss controversial and potentially emotionally charged issues comfortably and with respect for yourself and others.

  5. better able to establish and maintain mutually satisfying intimate relationships.


Course website. The overheads used in the class will be web-based and will be made available to class members at the course website: http://www.indiana.edu/~hperf258(the most recent version of the document you are reading now). Visit the course website after the first class session and print out copies of the course PowerPoint presentations.

Class Attendance: This class is scheduled each Tues. and Thurs. from 5:45 to 7:00 p.m. and you are expected to attend every class and stay for the entire class. One of problems with large classes like this one is that it is difficult for students to speak up in class. We will attempt to overcome this by breaking the class into smaller discussion clusters. In the lecture hall, students will be assigned to small discussion groups that will sit together. At different points in the class, groups will spend time discussing various points raised in the class and will then give feedback to the whole class. In addition, we will be using an extended discussion time, for each topic, during which time, groups will work together on projects.

Students are expected to attend every class session and stay for the entire class. Attendance is not required, but we will do at least one point generating activity during each class session, and each activity carries points.

Please remember to turn off cell phones and pagers. The professor and any other speakers deserve to be treated civilly and the professor reserves the right to confiscate any cell phone or pager that goes off in class.

Class Activities: Because this is an applied class, we will incorporate a variety of in- and out-of-class activities into the class throughout the semester. Some of these will be done completely in class, others will be assigned to be done at home and brought to class. Others will be started in class and completed at home. In each case, the assignments are intended to give you an opportunity to explore your own thoughts about family as they serve as the basis for discussion. A list of the out-of-class activities (along with the due dates or the final dates for which activities will be accepted) is available on the Activities page. Please note that we may include activities that are not yet listed on the activities page.


There will be three examinations in this course, each is worth 100 points. Approximately half of the examination focuses on the lecture and half on the readings. Check the class schedule for when the exams will be given. Please note that the exams must be taken at the time scheduled; alternative exams are rarely allowed, and only under the most extreme conditions.

After it is announced in class that the tests have been scored, you will have ONE WEEK to discuss the results with Dr. Gilbert. After that time, the results will stand as posted.

Note: in order to reduce the level of your test anxiety, you will be permitted to bring 1 (one) 3 X 5" note card, "official, allowed crib sheet" to each exam. You may write anything on this card (although you will need to be selective) and will be allowed to keep it with you during the exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic and personal misconduct by students in this class are defined and dealt with according to the procedures in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.

** Please note that this policy includes both personal and academic integrity. Not all infractions which occur in a classroom are necessarily academic, but rather can be considered as personal misconduct. Two examples include signing in another student for class when the person is not there, and removing pages from a journal that is property of the I.U. Libraries.

Religious Observation

In accordance with the Office of the Dean of Faculties, any student who wishes to receive an excused absence from class must submit a request form available from the Dean of Faculties for each day to be absent. This form must be presented to the course professor by the end of the second week of this semester. A separate form must be submitted for each day. The form must be signed by the instructor, who will make a copy for herself, and the original returned to the student. Information about the policy on religious observation can be found at the following web site: http://www.indiana.edu/~deanfac/holidays.html#reco. You can download the request form at: http://www.indiana.edu/~deanfac/download/rel_obs.html#holreq

Excused Absences

The only situation in which you will be able to make up missed classes is if you have documented evidence of personal illness, death in the family, or religious observation. You will need to bring a doctor's note or obituary notice to the next class or download and use the form listed above for reilgious observations by the end of the second week of the semester.


This course uses a straight 10% per grade range scale. Your final grade is based on total points. The source of these points are:

Three tests at 100 points each = 300 points
Activities = a maximum of 250 points*


* The total number of possible points for this category slightly exceeds 250 and you can only collect a maximum of 250 points. Remember, though, that if something is time sensitive, it can not be turned in after the deadline that is listed.

The grading scale is based on a scale of 550 points and is calculated by the total number of points you acquire.

F = below 330 D+ = 368 - 384.9 C+ = 423 - 439.9 B+ = 478 - 494.9 A+ = above 545
  D = 346 - 367.9 C = 402 - 422.9 B = 456 - 477.9 A = 511 - 545.9
  D- = 330 - 345.9 C- = 385 - 401.9 B- = 440 - 455.9 A- = 495 - 510.9

We will record point totals for activity points on Oncourse after the 5th, 10th and 15th weeks of the semester. Between those times, you may check with your discussion leader for your "running total."


Exploring what "family" means to us can sometimes be surprisingly difficult. Because of this, the course content of HPER F258 sometimes can be emotionally overwhelming and this may happen to you. If you find that taking this class or continuing in it is emotionally challenging, please talk to me or, if you prefer, on campus, contact CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) at 855-5711 or the Center for Human Growth at 855-8302..


This schedule is approximate, and subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the class website to keep track of changes, should you be absent from class. After the first week of class, please read the assigned readings before you come to class.

Jan. 9 -- Welcome and Introduction


Print out the following pages (note, you may want to go to the course website first and just link from there to these pages). These are the major papers and the activities overview.

Jan. 11 & 16 -- Understanding the Family as a System OCEAN assignment given out today


Jan. 18 & 23 -- Individual Differences in Family Life


Jan. 25 & 30 -- Generations & Generational Process (Last day to send e-mail to DGL, 1/25, Family Analysis Due 1/30) Note that there are two files for this unit. Clicking on Generations will bring up Part 1 and clicking on Generational Processes will bring up Part 2. You should print out Part 1 in outline format but be sure to print out Part 2 in Slides format. You will need the graphics in that size for them to make sense.


Feb. 1 -- Exam 1

Feb. 6 & 8 -- Beliefs and Ideologies in the Family Genogram due 2/6


Feb.13 & 15 -- Culture and the Family


Feb. 20& 22 -- Rules #1 & Rules #2


Feb. 27 & Mar. 1 -- Communication


Mar. 6 & Mar. 8 -- Love and Emotion -- Family Interview Due 3/6


Mar. 20 -- Exam 2

Mar. 22& 27 -- Rituals


Mar. 29 & Apr. 3 -- Relationship Change and Development


Apr. 5 -- Stress in the Family


Apr. 10 & 12-- TBA

Apr. 17 & 19 -- Loss and Grief in the Family -- Reel Family Analysis Due 4/17


Apr. 24 -- Family Strengths



Apr. 26 --optional date to take final exam

May. 1 (Tues.) -- FINAL EXAM

Page created: 1/4/98, last updated 1/07/07.
URL: http://indiana.edu/~hperf258/syllabus.html
Copyright 1998-2007, Trustees of Indiana University

For information about this work, please contact Kathleen Gilbert at gilbertk@indiana.edu. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute copies of this work for non-profit educational purposes, provided that copies are distributed at or below cost, and that the author, source, and copyright notice are included on each copy. This permission is in addition to rights of reproduction granted under Sections 107, 108, and other provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act. Before making any distribution of this work, please contact Kathleen Gilbert to ascertain whether you have the current version.