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Online · School of Behavioral Sciences · Community Care and Counseling

Research and Emerging Paradigms in Marriage and Family Studies

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Course Description

This course explores the causes of divorce, the psychological consequences for both children and parents, factors that challenge positive adjustment after a divorce, and strategies for successful remarriage. Other public policy and legislative issues related to marriage and the family are further examined, as well as legal, cultural, and theological implications for the 21st century. Ethical concerns and multicultural factors are also considered.



HSCO 500


The concept of marriage and family has changed significantly over the last 50 years. As Human Service Workers, we must be equipped to help member of the family unit. The goal of this course is to provide you with the tools to assist families, which will enable you to better serve and counsel more effectively I the local community contexts.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the prevalent emerging thoughts and paradigms on marriage and family in the 21st century.
  2. Explain the redefinition of marriage providing a biblically-based argument for traditional marriage.
  3. Identify the various scientific and spiritual benefits of marriage.
  4. Describe the components a God-centered, Christian home and its benefits on children and society at large.
  5. Identify 21st century challenges for raising a Godly family including, but not limited to, stress, busyness, technology, single parenting, etc.

Course Resources

Required Resource Purchases

Balswick, J., & Balswick, J. (2014). The family: A Christian perspective on the contemporary home (4th ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ISBN: 9780801049347.

Corvino, J., & Gallagher, M. (2012). Debating same-sex marriage. Oxford University Press: New York, NY. ISBN: 9780199756315.

Waite, L., & Gallagher, M. (2000). The case for marriage: Why married people are happier, healthier, and better off financially. Broadway Books. ISBN: 9780767906326.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with that required by state licensing boards in the class subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Recommended Resources

American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Current ed). Washington, DC: Author.

Deal, R. (2014). The smart stepfamily: The seven steps to a healthy family. (Revised ed.) Bethany House Publishers. ISBN: 9780764212062.

House, H. W. (Ed.). (1990). Divorce and remarriage: Four Christian views. Grand Rapids, MI: Intervarsity Press Academic. IBSN: 9780830812837.

Sire, J. W. (2009). The universe next door: A basic worldview catalog (5th ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. ISBN: 9780830838509.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Each forum will require the student to answer questions with a minimum of 400 words based on that particular module/week’s readings (Dr. Dobson’s works and/or the core text), as well as video/audio content. The student will be required to post at least two (2) replies of 200 words each to other students’ threads.

4 MAT Review (2)

The 4-MAT Book Review system is a way of responding to readings that requires the learner to interact with new ideas on several levels, including a Summary, Concrete Responses, Reflection, and Personal Application. Please see the specific assignment instructions included with the course materials.

Reflection Paper

The student will read the required text Debating Same-Sex Marriage, then construct a well-written 3–5-page paper in current APA format (not including Title Page or References) addressing the topic. Use the outline below for the format of your paper.

The Importance of Marriage Paper

The student will address the importance of marriage in a well-written 3-5-page paper in current APA format (not including Title Page or References). Use the outline below for the format of your paper:

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (4 at 100 pts. ea.)


4 MAT Review: Waite & Gallagher


Debating Same Sex Marriage Paper


The Importance of Marriage Paper


Research Paper










Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


DBFA 620

Textbooks: Balswick, J. & Balswick, J. The family (2014).

Corvino, J. & Gallagher, M. Debating same-sex marriage. (2012).

Waite, L. & Gallagher, M. The case for marriage (2002).


Reading & Study




Balswick & Balswick: ch. 1–2

Case for Marriage: ch. 1–3

5 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1 - Thread





Balswick & Balswick: ch. 3–5

Case for Marriage: ch. 4–6

Corvino & Gallagher: ch.1–2

4 presentations

1 audio clip

Research Paper: Topic

DB Forum 1 - Replies




Balswick & Balswick: ch. 6–10

Corvino & Gallagher: ch. 3–4

4 presentations

1 audio clip

The Importance of Marriage Paper

DB Forum 2 - Thread




Case for Marriage: ch. 7–10

Corvino & Gallagher: ch. 5

5 presentations

Research Paper: Outline

DB Forum 2 - Replies




Balswick & Balswick: ch. 11–12

Case for Marriage: ch. 11–13

4 presentations

3 audio clips

4 MAT Review

DB Forum 3 - Thread




Balswick & Balswick: ch. 13–14

Case for Marriage: ch. 14

4 presentations

2 audio clips

Debating Same Sex Marriage Paper

DB Forum 3 - Replies




Balswick & Balswick: ch. 15–17

5 presentations

DB Forum 4 – Thread

Research Paper: Final




Balswick & Balswick: ch. 18–20

4 presentations

1 audio clip

DB Forum 4 - Replies






DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.