Death and dying course offers students chance to study bereavement process

Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Pablo Gonzales | Assistant News Editor

Every day you are one day closer to death. One of the most sought after questions that humans have tried to answer is “what is next—what happens when you die?”

For students in Dr. Kathryn Mueller’s SOC 4310: Death and Dying course, students study the process of death and its implications on society. Scholars and academics have studied the dying process for years and now Baylor students can study the process of death and grieving and how it affects our society.

According to the Baylor Undergraduate Catalog, this course studies significant issues in the field of death awareness. Specifically, the interactions between the dying individual, their family, friends and professionals. Major emphasis is placed on the social aspects of dying and the different settings in which deaths occur.

The class is structured in a flipped classroom format. Meaning that students take a unit of the course material and present the content to the class. San Antonio senior Sabrina Hirani, said the flipped structure makes the course more enjoyable.

“The part of the class that I enjoy the most has been how the students are the teachers,” Hirani said. “Each class, a group of students will present a PowerPoint they put together of their assigned chapter. This keeps the class very interesting because each group brings something new to the class and you never know what to expect. Some groups will show a video, some will act and in the past, one group has even rapped their presentation. This is also allows each student to talk about their unique perspectives on the content.”

Mueller tries to help the students come to terms with the dying process.

“Death and Dying is sometimes a taboo topic and is often not discussed openly in society,” Hirani said. “Having a safe space to discuss all things related to death is a really unique opportunity.”

This course is offered through the department of sociology. Though this class is open to students throughout the university, Houston senior Maya Fontenot said she is pleased that this class is offered as an elective and included in the sociology curriculum.

“Classes like these are what make the study of sociology so special,” Fontenot said. “You can’t study sociology without studying death and its place in the cycle of life.”