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Psychology 505

Seminar in Social Psychology

Attitude Theory, Formation, Measurement, and Change

Fall Quarter, 2013

Tuesday, Thursday - 1:00 to 2:50 PM

Instructors -- Joseph E. Trimble, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Psychology

Offices and Contact Information -- AIC 594 - Telephone – 360.650.3058. Office hours will be discussed in class and posted on my office door.

Readings -- Selected readings collected from journal articles and book chapters are listed below under each of the topic areas. I will email you copies of all of the articles except those that you can access directly through the web address. Many of the readings come from The Online Readings in Psychology and Culture (ORPC) series. ORPC is designed to serve as a resource for researchers, teachers, students, and anyone who is interested in the interrelationships between psychology and culture. As part of the IACCP, the publication is a free resource.

Readings -- Selected readings collected from journal articles and book chapters are listed in each of the units in each of the topic areas. I will email you copies of the articles prior to each unit.

Prerequisites – Admission to the MS of MEd program in psychology or permission of the instructor.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide a graduate-level overview of contemporary social psychology. Compared with a typical undergraduate introductory social psychology course, this course will cover fewer topics but will examine these topics in much greater detail, following the principles, theories, and methods associated with attitude measurement, and change. This will be accomplished by reading both review and empirical articles and chapters focusing on historical and contemporary empirical and theoretical developments. Furthermore, this course will review social psychology topics with particular consideration given to: 1) the context of culture; and 2) the adaptive advantages of social behavior.

Course Themes

"A man can not be comfortable without his own approval." (Mark Twain)

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” (William James)

“No matter what we talk about, we are talking about ourselves.” (Hugh Prather (Standing on My Head, 2004, p.9).

“My attitude toward much of life is habitual: I have a fairly consistent telephone personality, a different but a predictable personality, and I make about the same kind of supermarket customer every time. I am in approximately the same mood each time I brush my teeth, run an errand, meet somebody….I pick out what I am going to wear beginning with my shirt, seldom with my pants, and I shave starting with my chin. I never jump with joy in the shower or act silly while driving. I am mildly good humored when I wake up and precipitously go to bed. All of these attitudes feel ‘right’ and veering from them feels ‘phony.’ I guess it could be said that I am being ‘genuine,’ but genuinely what?” (Hugh Prather (Standing on My Head, 2004, p.9).

Everything that exists exists in some degree, and if it exists in some degree it ought to be measured. (Mathematicians’ Bill of Rights)

“An attitude is the individual’s set of categories for evaluating a domain of social stimuli (objects, persons, values, groups, ideas, etc.) which he (she) has established as he (she) learns about that domain (in interaction with other persons, as a general rule) and which relate him (her) to subsets within the domain with varying degrees of positive or negative affect (motivational-emotion).” (Muzafer & Carolyn Sherif (1969, pp. 336-337).

Student and Course Learning Objectives

Upon successfully completing the course students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1). Identify and describe the basic components of an attitude.

2). Discuss alternative conceptions of attitudes and the role played by them in influencing an individual’s behavior, world view, and values.

3). Recognize and explain how attitude change theories explain and influence everyday life experiences.

4). Identify and explain at least three sociological and psychological theories that explain how individuals form attitudes.

5). Distinguish among a range of attitude constructs and factors and explain the influence each have in the formation and maintenance of behavior.


6). Analyze and critique scientific research articles that describe various attitude and attitude change topics.

7). Design and construct graphs showing social network relationships for different types of groups such as dyads, triads, and cliques.

8). Design a small-scale research project exploring selected characteristics, qualities, traits, or peculiarities associated with attitudes, change, and measurement.


9). Reflect and write about attitudes as they relate to your personal life experiences.

10). Identify and organize a range of attitude constructs and theoretical elements and formulate a plan for use in assisting yourself and others in shaping and influencing attitude and behavioral change.

Student Evaluation

In addition to attending seminar sessions regularly and following the readings, the course requires you to work through exploratory activities and projects.  Students will present their findings to the class, lead discussions, construct scales, be responsible for leading discussions during selected class periods (may involve doing additional readings), and submit a small research proposal report at the end of the quarter.

During the quarter you are to read several important articles and book chapters; the readings and assignments are listed for you in sections of the syllabus. After reading each article or assigned readings you will write a summary of what you read, especially including any of your thoughts and observations about the information; this applies to all required articles assigned for the previous week; however, you may include your summaries and reactions to the recommended readings. Your thoughts and observations are to be submitted to me on Monday by 5:00PM each week of the quarter beginning October 1st and ending November 28th. Attempt to summarize your observations and thoughts into 2-3 pages. I will carefully review your summaries and observations and return them to you at the next seminar meeting. I may make comments in the margins to assist you in clarifying your observations and thoughts.


Grades will be based on the conduct and quality of the activities, the quality of the weekly article summaries, the final research paper, and other assignments. I will also factor in what I learn about your knowledge of social psychological concepts and methods from discussions in class and observations about your work on the exploratory activities.

Submission of work

Please submit electronic copies of all your written work to my email address. Alternatively, I will accept written assignments in hard copy form, although I prefer the electronic versions. I tend to use Turnitin to evaluate all submitted papers and assignments (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnitin).

Extensions and Incompletes

No extensions are permitted on the final project, papers, and exploratory exercises. I strongly discourage you from taking incomplete grades in this course; as a rule, taking incompletes will delay your progress through your graduate studies. While I realize that one often can produce a better research report by taking more time to produce it, it is preferable to produce a draft within a given time frame, get commentary, and improve the work later through revision.

Seminar Projects

In summary, student performance in the seminar and achievement of the student learning outcomes will be evaluated using the following criteria:

In addition, by the end of the quarter, seminar participants must complete a portfolio containing:
1).  Weekly Discussion Questions. Each week (starting Week 2), students will submit two questions for discussion relevant to the week’s readings; questions are due to me on Tuesday at the end of our class. This assignment is designed to get students thinking about the readings and as a way to stimulate discussion. The format of the questions is open to interpretation. These questions may be about something you didn't understand in the reading, something you disagree with, possible connections to other phenomena, or something that might lead to interesting speculations. For example, because some students specialize in different disciplines (e.g., counseling psychology, cross-cultural psychology, neuroscience, health psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, etc.), they may want to develop some discussion questions that may be related to their specific area of research. Other questions may be relevant to hypothesis generation, etc. Although your questions will play an important role by shaping our discussion of a topic, you are not expected to have all the answers. You are expected to read the week’s readings and to carefully consider the question themes and content. In this way, you will be prepared to share your thoughts and insights. The goal is to make sure that students come to class not only with the readings read, but do so after putting some degree of thought into the implications of, and interconnections among, the readings. Students may submit their questions by e-mail to the instructor before 5 p.m. of the day before class (i.e., by Monday at 5 p.m.). Make sure you bring a copy of your questions to class. You may share them with other class members. Late questions, regardless of the circumstances, will not be accepted. --30 points.

 2). One 15-20 minute oral presentation based on the content and theme of one or more of the selected readings for the course. Articles less than 5 pages are not eligible for this activity. Presentations begin the third week of the quarter. –20 points.

3). Attitude definitions, theory, and measurement. Select five different definitions of the attitude construct based on the work of various psychologists and or sociologists. Identify the person responsible for each definition by providing a short biosketch of their life, their definition of an attitude, the theory on which it is based, and how attitudes are typically measured following the theory and the definitions (provide examples of the types of scaling used by each theoretician). The definitions are due November 1, 2011. Be prepared to summarize your findings in class. --60 points.

4).  Scale Construction. This is a small group activity. Select 2 other students in the seminar to collaborate with you on the project. Select a controversial topic or social issue, e.g., gun control legislation, racial profiling, marijuana legalization, abortion, problem gambling, suicide, environmental degradation, capital punishment, corporate corruption, etc. Develop 10-15 attitude type items to measure the topic or issue that covers its full range. Construct five different attitude scaling measurement schemes to assess one’s attitude towards the topic, e.g., Likert, Thurstone, Osgood, Sherif, Guttman, etc. Describe what the results of each scaling procedure would yield and how the results might be interpreted. The paper is due November 17, 201130 points. 

5). One 10-12 page or more research proposal paper dealing with an acceptable topic in the field -- 75 Points.

6). Weekly article summary activity (6 points each) --60 points.

7). Classroom participation in discussion of the readings and topics --10 points.

Final Research Project Proposal

Students will submit a major paper by choosing an area of attitudes based on their own interests and develop a research proposal. The topic need not be one that a student facilitated, though doing so may benefit some students. The research proposal must address an important research question from the perspective of attitudes and be relevant to field of social psychology. Students outside of the experimental program are encouraged to relate attitudes to their area (e.g., counseling psychologists may want to study the formation of group stereotypes in children or explore how impression formation affects client-counselor interactions, etc.).

Although students will not be required to carry out the research they propose, the opportunity to develop a well-thought-out proposal should be helpful to those who wish to develop new lines of research or explore ideas relevant to theses and minor projects. This paper must take the form of a research proposal: it cannot be simply a literature review. Follow the APA publication manual format but without the Results and Discussion sections. The instructor will be available to help students refine their ideas and suggest appropriate references. I would be most pleased to review your outline for the paper. The paper must be submitted to me no later than the end of the 9th week of the quarter.


Point distributions vary according to the criteria described in detail in the assessment rubrics prepared for this course; these will be distributed in class. Final letter grades will be based on one’s total point accumulation at the end of the quarter. The point distribution is as follows:

A = 257 - 285.

B = 228 - 256

C = 200 - 227

D = 171 - 199

F = 170 or less.

Each paper and activity will be evaluated on several dimensions including the substantive and the mechanical components (refer to the Rubrics that will be distributed to you in class). The substantive dimension includes such features as writing style, evidence of considerable work expended, clarity, and ease of reading. The mechanical dimension includes such things as spelling, grammar, and proper sentence structure. Guidelines and criteria for both dimensions are available for student review and use. Students are required to follow the style guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) for every research related assignment. A guide for the APA style is available at http://www.psywww.com/resource/apacrib.htm. Late papers will not be accepted.

Useful Links

http://www.socialpsychology.org/ This is a very useful site that provides a large number of links on a variety of different topics in social psychology. It also provides information about most of the prominent social psychologists active today.

Schedule of Seminar Activities

The following outline contains the general topics and approximate time allotted for discussion and review of the readings. At times, guest lecturers will be invited to the seminar to present and discuss relevant and appropriate material intended to supplement seminar activities. Additionally, PowerPoint presentations will be used to complement discussions. The seminar is organized following basic core units and corresponding parts or sub-units. Assigned and recommended readings are listed for each section. Students should familiarize themselves with the outline and the weekly activities, read the material in advance, and are prepared to discuss the readings during class and record summaries and observations in the weekly summary paper. The Recommended Readings are provided for your interest and curiosity. All articles and chapters will be distributed to you through your preferred email address.

Course Organization



September 26 - October 4

Historical foundations of attitude measurement.

What are the properties of an attitude? How do attitudes differ from beliefs and values? The importance of attitude concept in social psychology. Are attitudes innate? The enduring properties of attitudes. Stabilization of relationships between persons and objects. Criteria for distinguishing attitudes from other motives.

Required Readings

-- Allport, G.W. (1935). Attitudes. In C. Murchinson (Ed.), A handbook of social psychology (pp. 798-844). Worcester, MA: Clark University Press.

-- Thurstone, L.L. (1928). Attitudes can be measured. American Journal of Sociology, 33, 529-54.

Recommended Readings

-- Olson, M.A., & Kendrick, R.V. (2008). Origins of attitudes. In W. Crano & R. Prislin (Eds.), Attitudes and Persuasion. New York: Psychology Press.

-- Ajzen, I. (2001). Nature and operation of attitudes. Annual Review of Psychology 52, 27-58.

-- Bohner, G., & Dickel, N. (2011). Attitudes and attitude change. Annual Review of Psychology, 63, 391-417.

October 8-25

Theoretical and measurement foundations for attitude and attitude change.

Scales for assessing attitudes and associated problems and issues. Psychosocial scales and individual attitudes. Disguised or unobtrusive methods of measurement. Attitudes revealed in judgments of fact and truth. Projective techniques. Attitudes as anchors in judgment. Bias in attitude scale wording. Why is it necessary to assign number to rankings of attitudes? An attitude is direct if the individual is subjected to a request to indicate an attitude on a topic. Attitudes are inferred. Avoiding social desirability in attitude measurement. Detecting social desirability through measurement and unobtrusive means. Readings will be discussed in the order they’re listed below; there may be a few variations, though.

Required Readings

-- Thurstone, L.L. (1927) The method of paired comparisons for social values. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 21, 384-400.

-- Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 140, 1–55.

-- Guttman, L. (1947). The Cornell technique for scale and intensity analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 7, 1947, 247-279.

-- Sherif, M. (1967). Social interaction: Process and products. Chicago. IL: Aldine. Chapters on ”Some needed concepts in the study of attitudes: Latitudes of acceptance, rejection, and noncommitment”; “The social judgment-involvement approach to attitude and attitude change”; and “The own categories procedure in attitude research” (chapters16-18).

Recommended Readings.

-- Edwards, A. (1957). Techniques of attitude scale construction. New York; Appleton-Century-Crofts. Chapter 7, “Scalogram analysis.”

-- Webb, E.J., Campbell, D.T., Schwartz, R.D., & Sechrest, L. (1966). Unobtrusive measures: Nonreactive research in the social sciences. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally. Chapter 1, “Approximations to knowledge.”

-- Oppenheim. A.N. (1966). Questionnaire design and attitude measurement. New York: Basic Books. Chapter 7, “Projective techniques in attitude study.”

-- Ostrom, T.M., Bond, C.F., Krosnick, J.A., & Sedikides, C. (1994).  Attitude scales: How we measure the unmeasurable.  In S. Shavitt & T.C. Brock (Eds.), Persuasion: Psychological insights and perspectives (pp. 15-42).  Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

-- Trimble, J.E. (2010). Cultural measurement equivalence. In C. S. Clauss-Ehlers (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cross-cultural school psychology (pp. 316-318).New York: Springer.

-- Social Measurement, Classification and Scaling, by David R. Heise, Department of Sociology, Indiana University, provides a relatively advanced analysis of measurement issues.


Take the scale on affective and cognitive bases of attitudes at: http://www.prenhall.com/divisions/hss/app/social/chap7_1.html and The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory at: http://www.understandingprejudice.org/teach/assign/asi.htm

October 29 - November 1

Self-Concept:  The Social Self, Identity, and Self Esteem.

How does one’s sense of self influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions? How does one’s sense of self influence our susceptibility to persuasion, influence, and achievements? Positive influences can be rewarding and negative self-assessments can be aversive and sometimes punishing. Is self-esteem truly measureable and is it subject to change? What are the differences between social self, spiritual self, self-as-I want-to-be and the self-that-I am? Ego-involvement and commitment to an attitude. The link between self and the environment and maintaining stability.

Required Readings

-- Pullman, H., Allik, J., & Realo, A. (2009). Global self-esteem across the life span: A cross sectional- comparison beyween representative and self-selected samples. Experimental    Aging Research, 35, 20–44.

-- Trimble, J.E. (1987). Self-understanding and perceived alienation among American Indians. Journal of Community Psychology, 15(July), 316-333.

-- Trimble, J.E. (2005). An inquiry into the measurement of racial and ethnic identity. In R. Carter (Ed.), Handbook of racial-cultural psychology and counseling: Theory and research (pp. 320-359), Volume One. New York: Wiley.

-- Bem, S.L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162.

Recommended Readings

-- Devos, T., & Banaji, M.R. (2003). Implicit self and identity. In M.R. Leary & J.P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 153-175). New York: Guilford.

-- Yameguchi, S., Greenwald, A., Banaji, M., Morakami, F., Chen, D., Kobayashi, C., Cai, H., & Krendl, A. (2007). Apparent Universality of Positive Implicit Self-Esteem. Psychol Sci.,18(6), 498-500.

-- Fein, S., & Spencer, S.J. (1997). Prejudice as self-image maintenance. Affirming the self through derogating others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 31-44.


Are your feelings predictable? To learn more about Affect Control Theory go to: http://www.indiana.edu/~socpsy/ACT/predicti1.htm

November 5-8

Intergroup Relations, Social Influence, Obedience, and Interpersonal Influences.

How do others influence what we do, think, and feel? Are we all products of groups and how do they influence our relationships with others? The frame of reference for analyzing intergroup behavior, like any other behavior, always consists of both internal and situational factors. What factors constitute the social situation in which conforming or deviating behavior occurs? Conforming and deviating behavior occurs in the context of interpersonal or group situations that are private in the eyes of the participants and protected from intrusion.

Required Readings

-- Asch, S.E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, 193(5), 31-35.

-- Blass, T.  (1999).  The Milgram paradigm after 35 years:  Some things we now know about obedience to authority.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29, 955-978.

-- Bond, R., & Smith, P.B.  (1996).  Culture and conformity:  A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s (1952, 1956) line judgment task.  Psychological Bulletin, 119, 111-137.

-- Jay, J.J. (1984). Alternatives to the F Scale in the measurement of Authoritarianism: A catalog. Journal of Social Psychology. 122(1), 105 - 119. See John J. Jay’s web site at:http://jonjayray.tripod.com/catalog.html

Recommended Readings.

-- Carlson, H.M.  (2007). The devil made them do it?  Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 7, 247-249.

-- Kelman, H.C. (1973). Violence without moral restraint: Reflections on the dehumanization of victims and victimizers. Journal of Social Issues, 29(4), 25-61.

-- Turner, R.H. (1990). “Some Contributions of Muzafer Sherif to Sociology.” Social Psychology Quarterly, 53, 283-91.


What do people mean when they say that a behavior was performed intentionally? To learn more about the concept of intentional action go to: http://www.unc.edu/~knobe/experiments.html

Interact is a computer program that describes what people might do in a given situation, how they might respond emotionally to events, and how they might attribute qualities or new identities to themselves and other “interactants” in order to account for unexpected happenings. A web-based version of the Interact program illustrating many principles of Affect Control Theory can be found at: http://www.indiana.edu/~socpsy/ACT/interact.htm
November 12-19

Prejudice, Discrimination, and Stereotypes.

How are prejudice, racism, discrimination and stereotypic imagery conceptualized and measured? What theories best explain how each of the social psychological dimensions function and influence others? Techniques for studying the constructs vary as does their validity and reliability. Group stereotypes arising to justify social distance. The distinctiveness of the nature of the stimulus situation that influences prejudice.

Required Readings

-- Olson, M.A. (2009).  Measures of prejudice. In T. Nelson (Ed.), Handbook of Prejudice (pp. 367-381). New York: Psychology Press.

-- Czopp. A.M. & Monteith, M.J. (2006). Thinking well of African Americans: Measuring complimentary stereotypes and negative prejudice. Basic and applied social psychology, 28(3), 233-250.

-- Blanton, H., & Jaccard, J. (2008). Unconscious racism: A concept in pursuit of a measure. Annual Review of Sociology, 34, 277.297.

Recommended Readings

-- Devos, T. (2008). Implicit attitudes 101: Theoretical and empirical insights. In W.D. Crano, & R. Prislin (Eds.), Attitudes and attitude change (pp. 61-84). New York: Psychology Press.

-- Trimble, J.E. (1988). Stereotypic images, American Indians and prejudice. In P. Katz & D. Taylor (Eds.), Toward the elimination of racism: Profiles in controversy (pp. 181-202). New York, NY: Pergamon.

-- Collins, E.C., Biernat, M., Eidelman, S. (2009). Stereotypes in the communication and translation of person impressions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 4, 368-374.  

-- Gamst, G.C., Liang, C.T.H., & Der-Karabetian, A. (2011). Handbook of multicultural measures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chapter 5. Racism- and Prejudice-Related Measures.


Check out Project Implicit at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ and

The Jigsaw Classroomat: http://www.jigsaw.org/ and Test Your Native IQ at: http://www.understandingprejudice.org/nativeiq/

Can You Avoid Segregation. To learn more go to the following Internet address and complete the activity: http://www.understandingprejudice.org/segregation/


November 21-26

Attitude Change and Persuasion: Strengths and Weaknesses of Selected Approaches.

Attitude change problems relative to psychosocial scales. Vital motivational relevance of various theories about change. Persistence of values, beliefs, and norms and achieving stability. Expected and unexpected effects of persuasive communications. Measurements of attitude change and their effectiveness.

Required Readings

-- Lapiere, R.T. (1934). Attitudes versus actions. Social Forces, 13, 230-237.

-- Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (2005). The influence of attitudes on behavior. In D. Albarracín, B.T. Johnson, & M.P. Zanna (Eds.), The handbook of attitudes (pp. 173-221). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

-- Hughes, D.G. (1967). Selecting scales to measure attitude change. Journal of Marketing Research, 4(1), 85-87

-- Neuberger, L.B. & Krcmar, M. (2008). Exploring the effects of editorial cartoons on attitude change: An experimental analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online <PDF>. 2011-06-08 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p233778_index.html

Recommended Readings

-- Cialdini, R.B., Green, B.L., & Rusch, A.J. (1992). When tactical pronouncements of change become real change: The case of reciprocal persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 30-40.

-- Petty, R.E., & Wegener, D.T. (1998). Matching versus mismatching attitude functions: Implications for scrutiny of persuasive messages. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 227-240.

-- Medders, R., Metzger, M., Sim, E. E. & Flanagin, A. (2010). Examining the effects of credibility and need for cognition on exposure to attitude-consistent and attitude-inconsistent Web Pages on a health topic. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore Online <PDF>. 2011-06-05 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p404665_index.html

-- Makosky, V.P. (1985). Identifying major techniques of persuasion. Teaching of Psychology, 12, 42-43.


Spot The Fake Smile. The experiment is designed to test whether you can spot the difference between a fake smile and a real one. To learn more go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/index.shtml

Subliminal Advertisements. A good way to look at the extreme claims people are making for effects of subliminal self-help tapes is to scan the web. To learn more go to: http://cwx.prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/aronson/chapter7/essay1/deluxe-content.html

Three Basic Appeals Used in Advertising
Makosky (1985) suggests asking you to bring in magazines so you can identify the three basic appeals used in advertising. The first of these appeals is "the appeal to or creation of needs." It is based on four of the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy. Examples include:

  • "Aren’t you hungry for Burger King now?" (physiological needs)
  • "Get a piece of the rock" (safety and security needs)
  • "Brush your breath with Dentyne" (belongingness and love needs)
  • "When E. F. Hutton speaks..." (self-esteem and status needs)

The second group is "social and prestige suggestion" appeals - buy it because all kinds of people do. Examples include:

  • The "Pepsi generation"
  • Michael Jordan for Wheaties, various famous athletes for light beer

The third, and most subtle, kind of appeal is "loaded words and images." Examples include:

  • Ads with attractive, athletic people touting snacks like Snickers candy bars
  • The use of buzzwords such as "natural" for beauty products or foods
  • "Light" in order to make all kinds of foods seem dietetic
  • The BMW emblem which suggests wealth and status

What kinds of ads appeal to men and what kinds to women? What kinds of ads may actually backfire? What kinds of ads are most effective for what kinds of products? What kinds of ads are most effective for which age groups? What is true meaning of the ad? For example, "Buy a BMW so people will think you are rich, sporty, and sexy" or "Eat Wheaties so you can be more like Michael Jordan."

Note. Student interest may necessitate spending more or less time on certain topics, thus requiring a rearrangement of the topics or time schedules presented above.


I wish to extend my gratitude to several instructors for their assistance in providing me with materials for the syllabus, as follows: Drs. Alex Czopp, Jennifer Devenport, Barbara Lehman, and David Sattler. Other instructors, too numerous to mention here, provided me with advice and suggestions for the exercises and readings; I wish to extend my appreciation to them for their assistance and thoughtfulness.

A Professor's Manifesto

Here is what I expect from students: You will treat everyone in the class, including the professor, with the respect due to all human beings. You will attend every class, give your full attention to the material, and conduct yourself in an appropriate manner. You will agree to do the work outlined in the syllabus on time. You will acknowledge that previous academic preparation (e.g., writing skills) will affect your performance in this course. You will acknowledge that your perception of effort, by itself, is not enough to justify a distinguished grade. You will not plagiarize or otherwise steal the work of others. You will not make excuses for your failure to do what you ought. You will accept the consequences of your actions.

Here is what students can expect from me: I will treat you with the respect due all human beings. I will know your name and treat you as an individual. I will not discriminate against you because of your identity or your well-informed viewpoints. I will manage the class in a professional manner; that may include educating you in appropriate behavior. I will prepare carefully for every class. I will begin and end class on time. I will teach only in areas of my professional expertise. If I do not know something, I will say so. I will conduct scholarly research and publication with the aim of making myself a more informed teacher. I will return your assignments quickly with detailed feedback. I will pursue the maximum punishment for plagiarism, cheating, and other violations of academic integrity. I will keep careful records of your attendance, performance, and progress. If I am absent from class for personal or professional reasons, I will make every effort to find a qualified colleague to teach and supervise the topic for discussion and review. I will investigate every excuse for nonattendance of classes and non-completion of assignments. I will make myself available to you for advising. I will maintain confidentiality concerning your performance. I will provide you with professional support and write recommendations for you if appropriate. I will be honest with you. Your grade will reflect the quality of your work and nothing else. I am interested in your feedback about the class, but I am most interested in what you learned.

(I express my gratitude to a Thomas H. Benton - a pseudonym - for providing the essential information described in the “Manifesto.” The original article can be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education, June 9, 2006).