Psychology Department

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Psychology Department Mission Statement

The Psychology Department at Muhlenberg College offers students a superior undergraduate experience and strives to fulfill the mission of the College as well as addressing the goals outlined below.

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, religion, race, 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

Adopted April, 2003; Modified May, 2011