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Psychology Department Mission Statement

The Psychology Department at Muhlenberg College is a vibrant department with an active faculty and involved students. Through research and coursework, independent theses and informal interactions, the psychology faculty offer students a superior undergraduate experience and strive to fulfill the mission of the college as well as addressing the goals outlined below.

Adopted April 24, 2003
Goals for the Psychology Curriculum

We want psychology students to:
  1. gain a greater understanding of human beings
    • know the models, findings, and theories of psychology
    • appreciate psychology’s role in a liberal arts education, including psychology’s contributions to other disciplines and the contributions of those disciplines to psychology

  2. think well and communicate effectively about human beings
    • develop sound critical analysis, synthesis, and research skills
    • appreciate the contributions of diverse methods of inquiry
    • develop effective writing, speaking, and listening skills

  3. exhibit intrinsic motivation and a life-long dedication to learning about human beings — including intellectual curiosity and adventurousness, and a willingness to wrestle with difficult issues

  4. recognize and understand the roles of cultural and individual differences and commonalities (e.g., class, gender, ethnicity, & disability);

  5. develop intellectually and ethically, appropriately balancing autonomy, interdependence, and responsibility

  6. become good citizens, including sharing and applying knowledge of psychology;

  7. gain knowledge and skills facilitating excellence in careers and graduate/professional study.

Skill Objectives for the Psychology Curriculum 

Below are specific ways courses in the curriculum can help students move toward the above Goals.
  1. Critical thinking skills– including but not limited to the ability to:
    • read texts closely, appropriately interpreting texts
    • critique the validity of arguments or conclusions, including one’s own
    • critique the methodological and ethical components of research
    • detect and evaluate underlying assumptions or biases
    • identify emotional-reasoning and, when appropriate, set one’s emotions aside
    • avoid oversimplification of topics
    • tolerate uncertainty
    • make an argument supported by available evidence and reason
    • theorize — generate and articulate views about the relationships among a set of concepts that are appropriately novel, creative, logically consistent, faithful to the data, hypothesis-generating, or some combination of the above

  2. Communication skills– in both written and oral communication, important skills include, but are not limited to:
    • summarizing
    • synthesizing
    • using sources properly (e.g., avoiding inappropriate paraphrasing)
    • mastering APA (American Psychological Association) writing style
    • producing clear, grammatically correct and articulate work
    • learning the appropriate use of visual aids
    • behaving professionally in communication and self-presentation (e.g., choosing appropriate attire, formality of language

  3. Interpersonal skills –including but not limited to the ability to:
    • listen to others
    • provide constructive criticism, and make use of such feedback when offered
    • engage in respectful and civil dialogue, even when in disagreement
    • seek out and seek to understand unfamiliar perspectives and/or views that differ from one’s own
    • role-play the perspective of others, thus potentially fostering empathy
    • affirm the value of differences (when able to do so with integrity)

  4. Research Skills
    • ability to review, analyze, and synthesize an existing body of research
    • ability to design and implement ethical empirical research using appropriate method.
    • data analysis skills (quantitative and qualitative), including but not limited to:
      • mastery of basic SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) skills
      • ability to choose and conduct appropriate descriptive & inferential statistical tests
      • ability to reason statistically/quantitatively (e.g., awareness of base rates)
      • ability to locate appropriate sources from the library and/or electronic resources
      • ability to distinguish scholarly from non-scholarly sources & primary from secondary

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