Psychology Department

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Psychology Department Mission Statement

The Psychology Department at Muhlenberg College aims to create a culture of informed engagement.  Our students will interact differently with the world as a result of studying psychology and will understand psychology differently through engaging with the world.   We cultivate an appreciation for a liberal arts education, including psychology’s contributions to other disciplines and the contributions of those disciplines to psychology. Students are encouraged to be intellectually curious and adventurous; wrestling with challenges leads to a better understanding of their own and others’ perspectives.


Goals for the Psychology Curriculum

Our engaged faculty members seek to prepare students for meaningful careers and to foster excitement for life-long learning. Our curricular goals are grounded in best practices articulated by the American Psychological Association. We expect psychology students to:

  1. Build a strong knowledge base in psychology through learning core scientific models, findings, and theories.

  2. Develop strong scientific and critical thinking skills through the use of diverse methods of inquiry.

  3. Understand the role of cultural and individual differences and commonalities in order to meet their ethical and social responsibilities in a diverse world.

  4. Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills including writing, speaking, and listening.    
            
  5. Optimize their professional development by responsibly balancing independence and teamwork.

    See how our curriculum is aligned with these goals here.

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