Psychology Department

Psychology Home
 
 

Innovative Teaching and Community-Based Learning

Despite the rigor of the major, Psychology has been one of the top three most popular majors at Muhlenberg for the last decade. One reason for the popularity of the major is our innovative teaching. All faculty members deeply value the benefits of small class sizes. Introductory Psychology typically has about 45 students per section, but the remainder of our courses average between 15 - 25 students each. Working with a smaller group of students allows professors to better tailor their instruction to individual students, effectively employ innovative pedagogy (e.g., service-learning), and engage in meaningful class discussions, experiments and demonstrations. For example, in the Clinical Case Studies seminar, 15 students work with Dr. Bips and Dr. Richmond (both practicing clinical psychologists) to study actual clinical cases, learning how to conceptualize a case to understand the complexities a client brings to a practioners. Stop by any day and you will see a wide range of approaches in the classroom. You may see a traditional lecture, a student-led discussion, student presentations, group collaboration, role-playing exercises or laboratory research. In some cases, you may not see students in the classroom at all because they are out "in the field" getting hands-on experience that complements and enriches their classroom learning.

Service-Learning

Community-based, or service, learning combines lessons within the classroom and in community to reinforce knowledge and address community needs and desires. Service-learning courses engage students, faculty and community in mutually beneficial relationships allowing for programs/projects that enhance community and provide students the opportunity for reflection on experiences. Some examples include:

Students in Developmental Psychopathology served as co-facilitators of a social-emotional learning curriculum ("Strong Start") at a local therapeutic charter school. "Strong Start" is designed for teaching social and emotional skills, promoting resilience, strengthening assets, and increasing coping skills of young children.

Psychology of Women students paired with female residents at the Phoebe Home to provide companionship and discuss gender issues across the lifespan.

In Multicultural Psychology, students develop facilitation skills, so they can act as discussion leaders during the Youth and Prejudice Conference. This bi-annual conference brings together middle and high school students to discuss and challenge bias and prejudice.

The Advanced Developmental Research course partners with local schools (e.g., South Mountain Middle School, Jefferson Elementary School) to aid in increasing family engagement and community connectedness. Students developed measures assessing variable such as language barriers, issues of cultural and social capital, and community connectedness. They collected and analyzed data from representative samples of students, family members, teachers and administrators.

Health Psychology students have done many projects, including designing, implementing and evaluating community interventions to address childhood obesity in collaboration with the Allentown Health Bureau and St Luke's Community Health Program.

Internships

On average, approximately 10 students per semester complete internships and receive academic credit for their work. Even more do volunteer-work and internships without receiving academic credit. An internship granting academic credit is a work experience characterized by intentional learning. During this experience, the student assumes a responsible role in an organization and actively reflects on what he or she is observing or learning. Muhlenberg Psychology students have held internships in many different settings. Recent internships include: the Morning Call newspaper, the Autism Resource and Community Hub of the Lehigh Valley (ARCH), Boston Children's Hospital, National Institute of Mental Health, Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, the Lehigh Valley Hospital: Adolescent Transitions program, and the Summer ADHD Treatment program at New York University


Questions?
Peruse our website to learn more about the psychology major, and be sure to check out our Facebook or Twitter pages for the latest news. Don't hesitate to e-mail or call any professor with questions. Our Department Chair is Dr. Mark Sciutto. He can be reached by phone at 484-664-3649 or by e-mail at sciutto@muhlenberg.edu.