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Human Services 1203 – 001 Tuesday/Thursday
Group Dynamics  9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Fall, 2017 Room B-313
Course Syllabus
Professor Office Hours
Jean Batson-Turner   M/W: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Office: B-323 TR: 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Phone: 815-224-0268      T: 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. @ Ottawa Center
E-mail: jean_batsonturner@ivcc.edu  (and by appointment)


I.       Course Description (from college catalog)

            This course provides an orientation to group dynamics and group leadership for human service workers.  Various kinds of groups, group leadership styles, and basic skills for group leaders will be studied, with special attention given to group intervention strategies for the beginning stage, the middle stage, and the closing stage of a group.  Emphasis will focus on helpful skills and strategies for dealing with problem group situations and group work with specific populations.


General Education Goals 

          The purpose of general education at IVCC is to enhance students’ abilities to think and act responsibly as citizens in a changing world.  Specific General Education goals that are included in this course are:

1.       To apply analytical and problem solving skills to personal, social and professional issues and situations.

2.      To communicate successfully, both orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences.

5.      To develop interpersonal capacity.

6.      To recognize what it means to act ethically and responsibly as an individual and as a member of society. 

II.     Expected Student Outcomes

Upon completion of Human Services 1203, the students will be able to: 

1.          1.   Comprehend and understand the dynamics of group process.

2.         2.   Evaluate the effectiveness of various types of groups and planned group sessions.

3.         3.   Demonstrate an understanding of various pre-group planning tasks.

4.         4.   Identify various tasks for the beginning stage of the group.

5.         5.   Demonstrate and identify basic skills for group leaders.

6.         6.   Comprehend the rationale for utilization of group interaction.

7.         7.   Identify and understand effective leadership skills and techniques for middle sessions (the working stage) of the group.

8.         8.   Evaluate helpful closing skills and techniques for ending group sessions and groups.

9.         9.   Apply beginning skills and strategies for dealing with problem situations that arise in groups.

10.       10.  Comprehend unique leadership considerations for specific populations.


III.    Class Policies and Procedures

Attendance Policy and Class Participation

It is expected that students will attend class regularly and arrive on time.  Missed chapter quizzes and in-class exercises cannot be made up.  All students are encouraged to participate in class discussion, contributing to a diverse analysis and discussion of social problems and human experiences.   There will be a variety of classroom opportunities for meaningful reflection and exchange of ideas.  The instructor is committed to fostering a safe environment for learning and skills development, so always feel free to ask questions, offer comments and suggestions, and share your thoughts.  To achieve the goal of a safe, effective learning environment, emphasis will be placed on the emulation of IVCC’s core values: responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness, and respect. 


Effective Summer 2011, students will have the ability to initiate a withdrawal from classes.  By completing the form in the Records Office or at www.ivcc.edu/withdraw, the student is authorizing IVCC to remove him/her from the course.  Entering the student ID number serves as the student’s electronic signature.  IVCC has the right to rescind a withdrawal in cases of academic dishonesty or at the instructor’s discretion.


Students should be aware of the impact of a withdrawal on full-time status for insurance purposes and for financial aid.  It is highly recommended that students meet with their instructor or with a counselor before withdrawing from a class to discuss if a withdrawal is the best course of action for that particular student.  Last day for withdrawal is November 3, 2017.

 Financial Aid Statement

Withdrawal from a course can affect financial aid.  Students who receive financial aid should see an advisor in the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from a course.

 Student Success and Career Exploration

If students demonstrate a genuine desire to learn and to succeed in this course, they can achieve academic success and acquire critical skills for human service practice.  Student learning will be enhanced by reading of the text, timely completion of assignments, a willingness to share insights and experiences, and thoughtful reflection on the goals and practices of the human service profession.  Students will have structured opportunities to consider the benefits of human services as a profession.  Please don’t hesitate to ask for additional assistance to help you succeed in this course.  Also, keep in mind that IVCC has a variety of assessment and support services to assist with academic achievement and career planning. 


Plagiarism is the use of another person’s ideas, information, or exact words without properly acknowledging the source in accordance with a standard system of documentation.  Plagiarism often occurs when students use someone else’s work and submit it as their own.  Plagiarism is a serious offense.  Anything a student turns in that contains plagiarism will result in the grade of Zero (0) for that assignment.  Refer to IVCC’s “Student Code of Conduct” for the college’s statement of policy concerning plagiarism. 

Reduced Seat Time

This course may provide options for reduced seat time, including opportunities to participate in class-related projects and experiential activities in place of regularly-scheduled class time.  Participation in reduced seat-time projects and activities could replace in-class daily quizzes and required classroom assignments.  Reflective journal responses to these activities will be required.

Special Support Services

In an effort to create a classroom environment that maximizes the success of all students, I encourage you to make me aware of any barriers that may inhibit your learning.  Feel free to speak to me at any time about concerns or questions you may have about assignments, activities, or assessments.  The college provides several support services for students who have barriers to learning.  They include, but are not limited to: Disability Services Office, Writing Center/Peer Tutoring, Counseling Center, and Project Success.  Please see me if you want to learn more about any of the services.  You are encouraged to utilize these support services.

In particular, you may be eligible for academic accommodations if you have a documented physical, psychiatric (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, AD/HD, post-traumatic stress, or others) or cognitive disability such as a learning disability.  If you have a disability and need more information regarding possible accommodations, please contact Tina Hardy at (tina_hardy@ivcc.edu, 224-0284) or stop by office C-211.

The Basic Computer Skills Inventory is free to students and will assess their computer concepts, file management, word processing, Internet, email, PowerPoint and keyboarding skills utilizing hands-on exercises and objective questions.  If a student is unsure about his/her computer skill level, you are encouraged to contact the Assessment Center and make an appointment to complete the inventory. 

The IVCC Writing Center offers free, unlimited, one-on-one tutoring for students in any class at any stage of their writing process.  The Writing Center staff, which includes faculty and student tutors, is happy to assist students in understanding assignments, brainstorming topics, organizing and developing ideas, and revising and editing drafts.  Our Quick Query service provides help with basic writing questions via email.  The Writing Center also has handouts on grammar and style, writing reference materials, and documentation manuals available in the Center and in the Stylebook (http://www.ivcc.edu/stylebook).  The schedule, appointment availability, and Quick Query instructions can be found by visiting the Web site (http://www.ivcc.edu/writingcenter), calling the Learning Commons at 815-224-0318, or stopping by the Writing Center in the Learning Commons.  

Electronic Devices

There will be no use of any electronic devices by students in the classroom except by permission of the instructor.  Do not “text message” while in class or play games on your phone; this will result in your class participation grade being lowered.

IV.        Required Text

         Group Counseling: Strategies and Skills by Ed. E. Jacobs, Robert L. Masson, Riley L. Harvill and Christine Schimnel, 8th Edition, Thomson Learning, 2016.

V.       Course Requirements and Methods of Evaluation

Response Journal:

Students will keep a reflection journal for the semester, recording 2 to 4 entries per week.  In addition to personal insights and summaries, students will complete assigned journal entries, which will include critical responses to experiential exercises.  A reflective journal response (a minimum of two paragraphs per entry) is required.  Journals must be typed or neatly hand-written.

Small Group Project:

Students will be assigned to a small group (5 – 6 members) for the semester and will design an experiential group in collaboration with designated agency partners.  The group structure will be selected from the following types of groups: discussion group, task group, educational group, support group, or self-help group.  Students will develop the group according to guidelines and information presented in the text.  

Research Project/Service-Learning Project:

Students will select a research topic relevant to group dynamics; suggested topics: group leadership, effectiveness of particular group types, theoretical models for counseling groups, impact therapy for group counseling, and group counseling in a multicultural context.  Utilizing theoretical models and scientific research sources, students will complete a research paper of 7-8 typed pages and a minimum of five sources, including primary sources when appropriate.

Students will present preliminary research findings in an informal oral presentation when the material is covered in class.

Service-Learning Option:

Instead of completing the research project, students may complete a Service-Learning project at one of 3-4 selected area agencies.  Agency orientation sessions will be held during a class session, at which time interested students will schedule interviews with designated agency staff.  Guidelines and enrollment forms will be available at this class session.  Students will be expected to attend agency orientation sessions, complete 15-25 hours of service during the semester, as well as complete reflection assignments that link the Service-Learning experiences to course content.  Note: participation in service learning projects requires full participation in class!

To earn academic credit for Service-Learning, signed enrollment forms must be returned to the instructor before or not later than September 7, 2017.

Final Exam

The final exam will be a take-home application essay which will summarize a plan for effective group work.  Additional guidelines will be given.

Bonus points: Students can earn up to 20 extra-credit bonus points.  Extra credit activities include volunteer service, special topics readings, workshops, etc. 


                    Final course grades will be determined as follows:

                    Response Journal                       100 points 25%

                    Small Group Project                   100 points 25%

                    Research/Service Learning         100 points 25%

                    Final Exam Project                     100 points 25%

The student’s final grade will be determined by adding the total points and dividing by four.

The grading for this course will follow the grading scale:

          A = 100-90; B = 89-80; C = 79-70; D = 69-60; F = 59-0.


VI.      Tentative Schedule of Assignments

Week 1  
8/17 Introduction
Week 2  
8/22 – 8/24 Chapter 1: Introduction
Week 3  
8/29 – 8/31 Chapter 2: Stages of Groups, Group Process, and Therapeutic Forces
Week 4  
9/4 Labor Day Holiday – College Closed
9/5 Chapter 3: Purpose of Groups
9/7 Service-Learning Enrollment Forms Due
Week 5  
9/12 - 9/14 Chapter 4: Planning
Week 6  
9/19 - 9/21 Chapter 5: Getting Started: The Beginning Stage and Beginning Phase
Week 7  
9/26 - 9/28 Chapter 6: Basic Skills for Group Leaders
Week 8  
10/3 – 10/5 Chapter 7: Focus
10/6 Employee Professional Enrichment Day – No Classes
Week 9  
10/10 – 10/12 Chapter 8: Cutting Off and Drawing Out
Week 10  
10/17 – 10/19 Chapter 9: Rounds and Dyads
  Journals Due
Week 11  
10/24 – 10/26 Chapter 10: Exercises
Week 12  
10/31 – 11/2 Chapter 11: Introducing, Conducting and Processing Exercises
Week 13  
11/7 – 11/9 Chapter 12: Leading the Middle Stage of a Group
11/10 Veteran’s Day – College Closed
Week 14  
11/14 – 11/16 Chapter 15: Closing a Session or Group
Week 15  

Chapter 16: Dealing with Problem Situations

11/22 – 11/25 Thanksgiving Break – College Closed

Week 16  
11/28 – 11/30 Chapter 17: Working with Specific Populations
Week 17  
12/5 Service-Learning Time Sheets Due
  Journals Due
  Final Project Review
Week 18  
12/12 Final Exam Essays Due




Guiding Principles for Critical Learning


Instructor: Jean Batson~Turner


1.     Have an open mind. Be willing to question and challenge old assumptions that no longer work. Keep in mind that any idea or belief worth keeping will withstand the scrutiny of critical evaluation.


2.    As much as possible, avoid a defensive posture. When you find yourself passionately defending the status quo ask yourself:

          What do I gain from having things remain as they are?


Why am I afraid of change?


3.    Consider learning as a life-long process that can be an exciting challenge rather than a required endurance test.


4.    Practice listening to and comprehending perspectives different from your own. Sociological learning gives us an arena for diverse dialogue and cooperative problem solving.


5.    Work to recognize patterns of behavior in your social life; notice how one event affects another.


6.    Start to notice and name social factors and realities that influence your personal decisions.


7.    Be prepared to share your social experiences and state your opinions when relevant to classroom discussion.


8.    Work at sharpening your skills for survival in a complex, changing society. Do not let fear or apathy keep you from envisioning and creating better ways of living and relating in our world.  In collaboration with other social citizens, strive to keep hope alive.