Departmental Assessments and Reviews

Each year, the Psychology Department is obligated to assess progress in reaching its goals as defined by its mission. The department also undergoes a review (including a self-study and external evaluation) approximately every five years, as dictated by the regents. Finally, a self-study was prepared in 2002 in response to the university's accreditation review by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

During the 2007-2008 academic year, the department approved a new Mission Statement and a new set of Student Learning Outcomes.  This review was initiated by the change in the curriculum which created a set of core (general and content) and elective (content and individualized & experiential) courses

Over the last five years, the department has been exploring a number of issues.  We have evaluated alumni and graduating seniors' experiences in the department (2003-2004; 2005-2006) and the extent to which psychology students understand fundamental conceptual (2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2007-2008), statistical (2006-2007), ethical (2004-2005) and methodological principles (2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007) of scientific psychology

One important question we address each year is whether students are learning targeted knowledge and skills specifically from their psychology courses. A variety of methodologies have been employed to allow inferences of what students had learned uniquely from their education in the psychology department.  The data from several studies suggest that much of students' knowledge of the discipline, its methods, and assumptions come directly from their experiences in the department.

Some of this research has been published, submitted for publication or presented at conferences.  A list of these presentations and papers are listed below

Amsel, E., Johnston, A., Alvarado, E., Kettering, J., Rankin, L., & Ward, M.  (In Press).  The effect of perspective on misconceptions in psychology: A test of Conceptual Change theoryJournal of Instructional Psychology

Amsel, E., Frost, B., & Johnston, A. (Under Review). Misconceptions and conceptual change in undergraduate psychology students: The case of human uniqueness. Teaching of Psychology.

Amsel, E., & Kay, T. (2007).  After Introductory Psychology: The next course
preparing psychology freshmen and sophomores for undergraduate research. 
In R. Miller, B. Beins, B. Rycek, M. Ware, E. Balcetis, R. Smith, &  S. Burns (Eds.) Promoting the undergraduate research experience in psychology.

Amsel, E., Kay, T., Riding, R., & Tang, C. (2006, April). The growth of methodological and ethical reasoning among psychology students.  Poster presented at the RMPA, Park City, UT.