Goals & Objectives for Student Learning

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1 Mission 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 and Objectives Note: The goals and objectives for student learning that are listed here are slightly different from those that we have assessed since We modified these goals and objectives recently as part of our self-study process. These modified goals and objectives are more closely aligned with the recommendations of the American Psychological Association (APA), which released new guidelines for undergraduate education in 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 subdisciplines, 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. Assessment plan: The requirements for psychology majors include a breadth requirement. All majors are required to take at least one course from five different subdisciplines within psychology. The successful completion of this breadth requirement will provide one source of evidence that this objective has been met. A commercially produced psychology exam (e.g., GRE Subject Test in Psychology, Psychology Area Concentration Achievement Test (ACAT-P), Major Field Test in Psychology (4GMF)) or an internally produced test may be purchased or developed and administered to a random sample of seniors as part of our assessment of this objective. 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

2 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. Assessment plan: This objective will be assessed primarily by examining the products of two types of classes: Psychology 43 (research methods courses), and senior seminar classes. In these classes students are taught research methods and expected to produce research products. A sampling of these products will be evaluated for technical and ethical appropriateness. 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. Assessment plan: Using our course alignment matrix we have identified a number of classes in which students are asked to demonstrate competence for this objective. A sampling of faculty assignments and student products (e.g., tests, papers) will be collected and analyzed for evidence of critical thinking about psychological information. Objective 3: [information literacy] Students will demonstrate the ability to locate relevant and appropriate source materials. Assessment plan: This objective will be assessed both by examining a sampling of student papers that require the use of psychological references and by assignments in our methods courses that require students to gain information from the library and other appropriate reference sources. An instrument designed to assess knowledge of information literacy will also be developed and administered to students in research methods and capstone courses. 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 psychological science and practice Assessment plan: In our foundations classes (e.g., Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods), students learn how to evaluate psychological research from the standpoint of adherence to the APA Ethics Code in psychological research involving human or nonhuman research participants. They identify obvious violations of ethical standards in

3 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 Assessment plan: In many of our classes students focus on identifying aspects of individual and cultural diversity and the interpersonal challenges that often result from diversity and context. They also learn about psychology-related issues of global concern (e.g., poverty, health, migration, human rights, rights of children, international conflict, sustainability). Some classes offer the opportunity to serve others through civic engagement, including volunteer service. Ethical and socially responsible thought and action will be measured and evaluated by asking students to engage in self-reflection and self-evaluation regarding their course work, employment, internship, and service learning experiences. They will be asked to reflect on their local contributions (i.e., to their college or university community, the community in which they live) and how their knowledge of the discipline could be used to advance public policy or impact global concerns. 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. Assessment plan: In many of our classes, ranging from the introductory level to the capstone, faculty ask students to write about psychological phenomenon using APA style. A sampling of these assignments and the student work from lower and upper division classes will allow us to assess the development of these skills over time as well as the final level of mastery that students possess upon graduating from the program. These papers can be stored in drop-boxes on Angel to create a sort of electronic portfolio of development for individual students. Objective 2: Students will demonstrate effective oral communication skills within the conventions of the discipline. Assessment plan: In many of our classes, mostly at the upper division level, faculty ask students to produce and deliver oral presentations in the various styles commonly found in the psychological research community. These include poster presentations, paper presentations, and debate formats. We will collect data on some of these presentations using faculty observations, video-tape analysis, and student feedback to determine how well students are performing at these oral presentation tasks. Goal 5: Professional Development: The emphasis in this goal is on application of psychologyspecific 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

4 information about practica 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. Assessment plan: This objective will be assessed with a combination of course products (e.g., papers, exams) and experiential learning through Arrupe placements and internships. In several courses students are asked to apply psychological principles to real-world problems. A sampling of student products from these classes will be analyzed. In addition, reports from students regarding their field experiences will be analyzed. Focus-group discussions may also be used to gain students perceptions of their application of psychological principles in their experiential learning placements. 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 Goals & Objectives for Scholarship Goal 6: Faculty Scholarship: Permanent, full-time members of the Psychology faculty will maintain active programs of research. Objective 1: Regular faculty members of the Psychology program will be engaged in various stages of research from proposal writing to data collection to dissemination of research findings in outlets common to the discipline (e.g., publish articles in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, publish books, present papers at professional conferences, and give invited addresses). Faculty will accomplish this objective through activities most appropriate for their individual specialization, research program, and career phase. Assessment plan: Information about faculty scholarship will be gathered from activity reports of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Goal 7: Including Students in Research: Psychology faculty will encourage students to participate in the research process and often may include student collaborators in their research. Objective 1: Faculty research, at various stages of the research process (e.g., data collection, data analysis, and dissemination of scholarly activity) will often involve student collaborators. Assessment plan: This objective will be assessed using a combination of faculty and student reports. The activities reports of tenured and tenure-track faculty include information about the inclusion of students in faculty research activities. In addition,

5 senior exit surveys and interviews will assess student participation in faculty sponsored research activities.

6 Goals & Objectives for Faculty Service Goal 8: Service: Consistent with the mission and values of our university as well as our academic discipline, the psychology faculty aims to provide ethically sound professional service to the department, university, and community. In consultation with the Chair, each faculty member seeks to offer service that is consistent with their talents and career development. Our service seeks to, where possible, use psychological theory, research, and practice to inform and enhance the common good in an effort to help create a more humane, just, and ethical world. Objective 1: Faculty will demonstrate a willingness to participate in service activities by serving on committees at the department, college, and university level, engaging in service to the profession, and being involved in community service activities. Assessment plan: Information about faculty service will be gathered from activity reports of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Goals & Objectives for Curriculum and Pedagogy Goal 9: Foster a culture of evidence: In the courses offered in the psychology program we will emphasize a culture of evidence that places a premium on empirical research as the method of understanding psychological phenomena. Objective 1: Course syllabi and assignments will emphasize the importance of empirical examination of psychological phenomena. Goal 10: Create and maintain a major that encompasses the breadth of the discipline and is aligned with current trends in the discipline. Objective 1: The required courses for the major will represent major sub-disciplines within psychology and be in line with APA recommendations for the Psychology major.

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