The Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Science Degrees in Psychology prepare students for a variety of careers in business, community and government agencies, education, military, medicine, counseling and social work. Classes cover a variety of subjects, including statistics, experimental design, data collection and analysis. Students will also study the intersection of environment, genetics and behavior so that upon graduation students leave the program ready for graduate programs or to enter the job market. Classes are available for this degree in a variety of locations and modalities, from traditional classroom setting to the increased flexibility of online classes.
As a Shared Program, the Program uses the same Expected Learning Outcomes as the Main Campus Program. The faculty is consulting with the Main Campus Program to ensure that UAS's Learning Outcomes are aligned. The faculty at UA South and Main Campus have been reviewing and comparing syllabi to further ensure program alignment. The Main Campus program information can be found at http://assessment.arizona.edu/sci/Psychology%20Undergrad
UA South College Level Learning Outcomes
The faculty adopted three college-wide learning outcomes* in addition to a 4th discipline specific outcome:
1. Effective Communication
2. Critical Thinking
3. Cultural Competency
4. Discipline Specific
Students who graduate with an undergraduate degree from the Department of Psychology will demonstrate competency in the five learning goals and outcomes established in the American Psychological Association Guidelines for the Undergraduate Major in Psychology (2013).
Goal 1: Knowledge Base in Psychology
Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should show depth in their knowledge and application of psychological concepts and frameworks to problems of greater complexity.
1.1 Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology
1.2 Develop a working knowledge of psychology’s content domains
1.3 Describe applications of psychology
Goal 2: Scientific Inquiry and Critical thinking
The skills in this domain involve the devel- opment of scientific reasoning and problem solving, including effective research methods. Students completing foundation-level courses should learn basic skills and concepts in interpreting behavior, studying research, and applying research design principles to drawing conclusions about psychological phenomena; students completing a baccalaureate degree should focus on theory use as well as designing and executing research plans.
2.1 Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena
2.2 Demonstrate psychology information literacy
2.3 Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving
2.4 Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research
2.5 Incorporate sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry
Goal 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World
The skills in this domain involve the development of ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increas- ing diversity. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should have more direct opportunities to demonstrate adherence to professional values that will help them optimize their contributions and work effectively, even with those who do not share their heritage and traditions. This domain also promotes the adoption of personal and professional values that can strengthen community relationships and contributions.
3.1 Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice
3.2 Build and enhance interpersonal relationships
3.3 Adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels
Goal 4: Communication
Students should demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should produce a research study or other psychological project, explain scientific results, and present information to a professional audience. They should also develop flexible interpersonal approaches that optimize information exchange and relationship development.
4.1 Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes
4.2 Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes
4.3 Interact effectively with others
Goal 5: Professional development
The emphasis in this goal is on application of psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project-management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation. The skills at the baccalaureate level refer to abilities that sharpen student readiness for postbaccalaureate employment, graduate school, or professional school. These skills can be developed and refined both in traditional academic settings and in extracurricular involvement. In addition, career professionals can be enlisted to support occupational planning and pursuit. This emerging emphasis should not be construed as obligating psychology programs to obtain employment for their graduates but instead as encouraging programs to optimize the competitiveness of their graduates for securing places in the workforce.
5.1 Apply psychological content and skills to career goals
5.2 Exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation
5.3 Refine project-management skills
5.4 Enhance teamwork capacity
5.5 Develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation
*February 10,2016 Faculty Forum
Assessment of progress toward learning goals includes evaluation of student learning both developmentally and at the end of the major.
Program Level Assessment
- College goal 1. Effective Communication
- College goal 2. Critical Thinking
- Disciplinary Goal 2: Critical Thinking
- Discplinary Goal 4: Communication
DIRECT MEASURE: These goals will be assessed using the required scholarly paper required for all WI courses (per the revised University guidelines Spring 2016). The faculty will develop a common 'rubric' based on the new University guidelines for WI courses by the end of September, 2016. This rubric will be used to review all the papers submitted for any WI course in the fall or spring.
Course Level Assessment
Plans for 2016-17
The course level assessment for the coming year will focus on Goal 5 (professional development). The Program Director will work with all faculty to ensure that every course has a unit or module on possible careers and graduate study options in that subfield of psychology.
This goal will be assessed in two ways.
DIRECT MEASURE: First, the PD will review the syllabi for each course at the beginning of each term to ensure that each course includes a section on career/professional opportunities.
INDIRECT MEASURE: Second, at the student level the PD will work with Student Affairs Office to ensure that an exit survey of graduates includes a question to indicate if students felt they knew what careers and graduates options were available to psychology graduates.
Implemented assessment activities for the psychology program. We started with course level pre-post test content knowledge assessments to compare different grading systems and course environments (online vs. face-to-face) for psychology of happiness and biopsychology.
Spring 2016 Findings
Program Level Assessment
We continue to revise our efforts at the program level to assess if students are learning the desired outcomes listed above.
DIRECT MEASURE: Our attempts to measure critical thinking (College Goal 2 & Disciplinary Goal 2) in our desired 'bookend' courses of PSYV 489 (entry) and a capstone (exit) was unsuccessful as students are not required to take these courses for graduation. We strongly recommended students to take them and had some success with the entry course as about 1/2 of our entering students enrolled in PSYV 489. No one signed up for the capstone course this spring.
INDIRECT MEASURE: Our plans for the coming year are to work with the UAS Student Services office senior survey to have at least one question about professional development (Disciplinary Goal 5) for the coming year. Our original plans for surveying students on their critcal thinking using a measure of critical thinking we developed was not successful because insufficient numbers of students took the voluntary survey.
Course Level Assessment
The course level assessments of critical thinking (College Goal 2 & Disciplinary Goal 2) reinforced our approach to offer more online options and has steadily improved grading systems in these courses. These course improvements have also been applied to other courses and a culture of evidence based improvements has been instilled in our course designs.
Course level assessments. We will develop a short tip sheet of best practices related to quizzing and conditional release to share with all faculty at the beginning of fall 2016. This goal relates to our College Goal 2 and Disciplinary Goals 1 & 2 (content knowledge and critical thinking).
Bookend courses. In spring 2016 we will abandon using bookend courses and examine another option that may align with the main campus revision of the psychology degree (tenatively to start fall 2016). We believe all students may begin to take PSYV 300 Mind, Brain, and Behavior, which would provide a common course to assess student outcomes that align with College Goal 2 (critical thinking) and Disciplinary Goals 1 & 2 (content knowledge and critical thinking).
Pre and post surveys. Given that we were not able to ensure participation in the pre and post surveys we will focus on assessing one goal in a campus wide exit survey. We will work with student services to ask that one question about student knowledge of professional preparation be included on all graduation/exit surveys. This aligns with our Disciplinary Goal 5 (professional development).