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The principal educational purpose of the psychology department is to provide an excellent basic education for undergraduates in the theory, methodology, and core content areas of contemporary psychology. A second purpose is to develop our students' critical thinking abilities and their capacities to express their thinking clearly when they speak or write. A third purpose is to help our students apply psychological knowledge in ways that will improve the quality of people’s lives and promote the common good. There is a strong emphasis on scholarship in the department, including faculty with active research programs and frequent opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty in research. Small class sizes, close student-faculty interactions, and a climate of quality scholarship are distinctive features of the psychology program.


Goals & Objectives for Student Learning

Goal 1: Knowledge Base in Psychology: Students will become familiar with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology. They will also understand and appreciate the breadth of the field including the sub- disciplines, the connections among those sub-disciplines, and cultural variation in the application of psychological principles.

Objective 1: Demonstrate knowledge of and within the major sub-disciplines in Psychology.

Objective 2: Students will recognize that psychological principles and research are embedded within cultural and historical contexts.

Assessment plan: A number of faculty indicated on the course alignment matrix that students in their classes demonstrated this objective. A sampling of the upper division classes will be selected and the syllabi, assignments, and student work will be examined to determine how, and how well, we are meeting this objective.

Goal 2: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking: Students will develop an understanding of the research methods used in psychological research and use this understanding to think critically about psychological issues and research encountered in both the scientific literature and the mass media. Critical thinking includes a willingness to tolerate the ambiguity and complexity of human behavior and thought and a consideration of the ethical issues in psychological research and practice. Students will also learn and understand how to gain information about psychology and psychological research using such sources as libraries, printed reference material, and technological aids.

Objective 1: [skills objective] Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to conduct psychological research using the appropriate techniques in a manner that is consistent with the ethical guidelines of the profession.

Objective 2: [analytic objective] Students will demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge of how psychological research is conducted to thinking critically about psychological information they encounter and to understand the statistical nature of psychological research.

Objective 3: [information literacy] Students will demonstrate the ability to locate relevant and appropriate source materials.

Goal 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World: The skills in this domain include the development of ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity. Students will become familiar with the formal regulations that govern professional ethics in psychology and will be able to identify aspects of individual and cultural diversity.

Objective 1: Students will apply ethical standards to evaluate

Ethics Code in psychological research involving human or nonhuman research participants. They identify obvious violations of ethical standards in psychological contexts, discuss relevant ethical issues that reflect principles in the APA Ethics Code, and define the role of the institutional review board (IRB). Project papers (e.g., experimental reports, honors theses, capstone papers) will be used as assessable evidence of ethical, responsible behavior and students’ understanding of psychologists’ responsibility toward research participants. Objective and open-ended questions on exams will also capture students’ awareness and knowledge of ethical responsibilities in the research process and features from the Ethics Code (2010).

Objective 2: Adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels

Goal 4: Communication Skills: Students will learn to effectively communicate in a variety of forms commonly used in the discipline including written and oral communication.

Objective 1: Students will demonstrate effective writing skills within the conventions of the discipline.

Objective 2: Students will demonstrate effective oral communication skills within the conventions of the discipline.

Goal 5: Professional Development: The emphasis in this goal is on application of psychology- specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project-management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation. Foundation-level outcomes concentrate on the development of work habits and ethics to succeed in academic settings. Students will have access to information about practical opportunities available to current students and to information about professional and academic post-graduate options.

Objective 1: Students will demonstrate the ability to think about how psychological principles can be applied to real issues among individuals, families, and/or institutions such as schools, health-care organizations, and the workplace.

Objective 2: Students will learn about post-bac career and graduate school opportunities.

Assessment plan: We will begin by assessing the opportunities we currently provide then develop additional information sessions. Students will be asked about their post-grad plans and understanding of post-grad options during senior seminar and/or graduation surveys. We will track student awareness and utilization of these opportunities over time