The mission of the psychology department is to provide a curriculum reflective of contemporary psychology, to work cooperatively with the college in providing students with the skills intrinsic to a liberal arts education, and to provide interdisciplinary experiences.
Contemporary psychology is composed of information collected through scientific inquiry. Our curriculum trains students to understand this information and to actively contribute to the quest. Scientific inquiry is the core that links all efforts in the discipline of psychology and, consequently, it is the core of our curriculum. All students receive a general introductory overview of psychology, a basic course in research methodology and are required to do a thesis project.
Emerging from this core, contemporary psychology manifests many different faces. It is an inquisitor of the principles of behavior and based on these principles it is a provider of human services. Our curriculum covers this expanse. We achieve this by offering two major programs – psychology and psychology-occupational therapy, two interdisciplinary major programs, neuroscience and psychology-human resources and an interdisciplinary minor program in childhood development. The variety of majors captures the breadth and diversity of psychological investigation and application.
The skills intrinsic to a liberal arts education are expressed in the college’s mission statement. Our program contributes to this mission by formally training our majors intensively in critical thinking and oral and written communication skills in all courses in our program and very explicitly so in our introductory, research methods and capstone courses. Our internship program affords opportunities for our students to learn from and serve in a wide variety of social contexts. Our department actively supports the college mission by being a major contributor to the content and the design of the first year program. We endeavor to produce graduates who manifest a lifetime of productivity by providing guidance to graduate and professional training programs and maintaining a network of alumni support for our graduates.
Our college’s core curriculum, the Westminster Plan, asks that departments be contributors to an interdisciplinary community of scholars. We do this by offering cluster courses that permit non-psychology majors to benefit from psychology’s approach and by encouraging our students to learn from the perspectives of other fields. We encourage students to participate in advanced research programs (such as honors or research scholars) and structure our curriculum so that our students can efficiently and successfully meet the goals of such programs.
- Students are conversant with multiple psychology content areas as understood through a historical, sociocultural, and global context.
- Students develop skills to find, evaluate and use psychological knowledge.
- Students are able to reason scientifically, applying appropriate research design and quantitative methods.
- Students are able to use technology appropriately and responsibly.
- Students communicate effectively using appropriate psychological style in written and verbal reports of research and psychology applications.
- Students are able to link core scientific principles to areas of application.
- Students used both convergent and divergent thinking in problem solving tasks.
- Students practice the ethics of psychology in professional and interpersonal settings
- Students collaboratively develop research interests that extend the knowledge base of psychology.
- Those we educate through our curriculum become active and responsible students of psychology in community and world settings.
- Students are able to establish creative linkages between psychology and other knowledge domains.
- Students recognize competencies, seek opportunities for self-improvement, and actively engage in making strategic choices regarding academic and career goals.