Religion & Philosophy at Lyon College

Throughout the semester the syllabus will be subject to periodic revision. Students should check the syllabus on-line at least once a week.
Advanced Seminar
RPH 480
Fall 2011
TR 1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
Lyon 101
Office Hours: Lyon 321
MWF 10 a.m. - noon
or by appointment
Phone: 870-307-7351
E-mail: Click on Mailbox to e-mail professorHH01580A.gif (1311 bytes)


Course Description: 
As a senior level seminar, this course will emphasize research and discussion.  The purpose of this course is to create a learning community that will involve each member in helping one another in his or her research project.  Each student will be responsible for teaching the rest of the class about the research she or he is engaged in throughout the semester.  This is how it will work:

In our initial meeting, each of us will indicate what research topic we plan to work on during the semester. 

We will sign up for four presentation dates. For each date we will assign readings that we want each other to read.

On the date that the readings for your project are due to be read by the rest of the seminar, you will come prepared to lead the class.  You may lead the class in a variety of ways: prepared discussion, lecture/presentation, etc.  The point is that you are helping the rest of the seminar to better understand that material AND to get ideas from the seminar members that might help you in your research.   The number of times that each person leads the class will depend upon the number enrolled in the seminar.

Course Objectives:

bulletto do in-depth research on a topic in religion or philosophy that is important to you
bulletto function as a capstone for the RPH program, a way to integrate the material, directly or indirectly, from other RPH classes as well as other classes throughout the curriculum that relate to the project
bulletto teach other members of the seminar about your topic and get their reflections on that topic, specifically on the assigned readings associated with the topic.
bulletto give students the opportunity to present their research and final product both to members of the class and to undergraduate conferences and journals

In keeping with the last objective, each student will be expected to submit a proposal to an appropriate professional society or academic conference.   Check the link for Student Research at for some possible journals and conferences especially oriented to undergraduate work.

Attendance & Communication

Attendance is required.  You will be asked to “sign in,” by writing your signature on an attendance sheet only if you spent at least an hour preparing for the class and your initials if you did not.  If you have a good reason to be absent, leave a note, email, or voice mail.  If I am not notified by 6:00 p.m. on the day you were absent, you will have an unexcused absence.  Unexcused absences will have the following effect on your final grade:

a)                  Up to 2 unexcused absences:  no change in grade

b)                  3-4 unexcused absences: final grade lowered by a letter grade (e.g., if grades on assignments, etc., average an A, the student will receive a B)

c)                  6-7 unexcused absences: final grade lowered by two letter grades

d)                 8 unexcused absences: final grade lowered by three grades

e)                  9 or more unexcused absences: final grade will be an “F”

You need to write a brief summary (250-300 words) on the reading for the days you miss, excused or unexcused.

Students are expected to check their Lyon e-mail accounts daily (which is actually a college policy). This is the primary way we have to communicate with each other outside of class. Students are accountable for information regarding due dates, assignments, exams, etc., that are sent by e-mail.


Five In-Class Presentations (12% each):

Five times during the semester you will be required to do the following:

1)   At the class session prior to the class you are scheduled to lead, either hand out, send by e-mail, or give me to post to Educator a substantial reading (a journal article, chapter from a book, etc.) that is relevant to your research project for the other class members to read.  ("Substantial" is in the range of 12-25 pages.) Include some questions you want us to think about or a general idea of how this reading fits in with what you have already done.

2) On the day you are scheduled to lead class, give a 35-40 minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session with the class.

3)  Have an outline prepared which you hand to me at the end of the class.

Each student is also expected to have read and be prepared to discuss the readings assigned by fellow students at each class


Final Paper (around 4500-6000 words, not including footnotes, bibliography, etc.):

1) The paper should follow an accepted style such as MLA or APA, and must have a “Works Cited” page with appropriate bibliographic information. (I prefer MLA style, but if you are more comfortable with APA, you must include page numbers with internal citations.)

2) At a time to be scheduled during finals week, you will present a summary of your paper/project for the class and other invited guests.

3 You must submit your paper/project to an undergraduate journal and/or conference. If accepted, Lyon should be able to pay your expenses (or most of your expenses) to go and read the paper. 


Course Time Commitment:

This class has been organized with the assumption that you will dedicate 9 hours/week to the course.  Most of you are taking 5 courses, in which case 8 hours would make your total 45 hours, a full-time job.  Here is how the commitment breaks down:

1)  Class hours/week 3 hours
2)  40 pages of reading/week @20 pages/hour 3 hours
3)  Work on your own paper/week 3 hours



Class Participation 10%
In-class presentations
   (5 presentations/12% per presentation)
Oral Presentation of final paper/project    5%
Portfolio Reflection     5%
Final paper/project 20%

All graded work in this class is to be pledged in accordance with the Lyon College Honor Code. Please read carefully the section on the honor code in your student handbook.  The discussion of plagiarism is very important.  Feel free to discuss ideas with other members of the class, but make sure the writing is your own. 


You are required to store electronically (e.g., a folder on your I-drive) a portfolio in which you save your paper for this course, along with the outlines you have created for your presentations. I would also like you to put in the portfolio papers you have done in other RPH courses that you consider the most meaningful or significant (at least three papers). This will be turned in so that Dr. Beck and I will be able to ‘see’ the progress you have made throughout your study at Lyon. Because RPH classes are so ‘holistic’ in their approach to human affairs, we both hope that what you write will be connected to your other academic work and to the choices you make in other dimensions of your lives. Part of the requirement for this class is to write a short (3-5 page) paper reflecting on the work in your portfolio (worth 5% of your grade).

 bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)

Please note: Students seeking reasonable accommodations based on documented learning disabilities should contact the Office of Academic Services at 307-7332.

bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)


Class schedule:
Date Name
Aug. 25 Sign-up for presentations
Aug. 30 Dr. Bube
Sept. 1 Amber Simpson
Sept.6 Spencer Hall
Sept. 8 Shane McDaniel
Sept. 13 Jacob Worlow
Sept. 15 Shane Tucker
Sept. 20 Dr. Bube
Sept. 22 Spencer Hall
Sept. 29 Amber Simpson
Oct. 4 Shane Tucker
Oct. 6 Jacob Worlow
Oct. 11 Shane McDaniel
Oct. 18-20 Set up individual meetings with Dr. Bube to discuss progress on papers
Oct. 25 Amber Simpson
Oct. 27 Jacob Worlow
Nov. 1 Shane McDaniel
Nov.3 Shane Tucker
Nov. 8 Spencer Hall
Nov. 10 Dr. Bube
Nov. 15 Amber Simpson
Nov. 17 Shane Tucker
Nov. 22 Jacob Worlow
Nov. 29 Shane McDaniel
Dec. 1 Spencer Hall
Dec. 6 Dr. Bube
Dec. 8 TBA
Dec. 14 noon-3 p.m. presentations



© 2011 Paul Custodio Bube & Martha Beck