Syllabus for SAM-502



This course explores the character and quality of human discourse as it tries to describe what it means to be human in the great dialogues between faith and reason.  This course is designed to help overcome perceptual obstacles to cross-cultural understanding through comparing and contrasting philosophical, scientific and religious texts of Eastern, Western and Native American cultures. Thus, students will gain a greater sense of being part of a larger global community while attaining a better understanding of their own cultural influences. Students will identify examples and case studies in their professional lives that relate to issues arising from the discussions of the texts and will use the lessons of human discourse as a platform to broaden their vision and create practical applications in the workplace and community. During this process of exploration, students will be expected to articulate their own values and beliefs with an understanding of how these may be influenced by their own cultural biases and perceptions.

This course relates to the MALS program in the following ways:

  1. The student will be better prepared to plan a meaningful Capstone Project.
  2. The students experience a philosophical overview which complements areas covered in the other core courses.
  3. The student practices applying ideas from other fields, cultures and times to their own life situations.  


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Determine their own systems of values.
  2. Acquire a deeper sense of being part of the global community.
  3. Compare and contrast philosophies concerning faiths from several cultures.
  4. Describe the development of reason, as represented by Western philosophers, from Heraclitus to the present.

After successfully completing this course, you should be able to critique or evaluate:

  1. Your own cultural biases and perceptions.
  2. The policies of your organization as relates to the beliefs of others.
  3. Government laws relating to the practicing of one's faith.
  4. One's actions in relation to one's values.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  • Henry M. Sayre, Discovering the Humanities, 2nd ed. (Pearson, 2013)

ISBN-13: 978-0205219640

  • Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World, (Random House, 1993).

ISBN-13: 978-0345368096


Sense of Community II - Faith and Reason is a three-credit online course, consisting of twelve modules. Modules include a study materials and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums and complete written assignments, short papers and a final project.  See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in twelve graded discussion forums. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the courses modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussion assignments.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete a total of five written assignments.  See Modules 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 for specific details.

These written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the courses material.  

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the written assignment rubric used to aid in the grading of all written assignments

Final Project: Term Paper

You are required to complete a final project in the form of a term paper of 15 pages in length.  See the Final Project: Term Paper area of the course website for more details.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the final project: term paper rubric used to aid in the grading of the final project for this course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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