Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Andrew T. Johnson,
Kevin J. Payne,
& Brian J. Cowley,
Park University,
Parkville, USA

Presentation (ppt)


In 2006, our BS in Social Psychology underwent the biggest update of curriculum since 1972. Our goal for this curriculum revision was to create a social psychology degree that reflects both the ‘person’ and the ‘context’ (psychological and sociological influences). The purpose of this presentation is to present our revised curriculum as a best practices model of a social psychology curriculum. Currently, our BS in Social Psychology has approximately 3,285 majors throughout the Park University system (comprising of 43 campus centers throughout the United States and online). Of this number, there are 215 majors who are enrolled as online students. Our Social Psychology curriculum blends the strengths of psychology and sociology. It studies the “person in the situation,” and integrates knowledge about individual, group, and organizational processes. We orient this adaptable major to train students for a wide range of career options, and emphasize that it is personally useful in every facet of life beyond mere employment. Social psychology trains students to see themselves, others, and the cultures and societies we live in more clearly, critically, and completely. It equips students with a set of tools useful for a wide range of careers in business and industry, government, applied social research, data analysis and interpretation, policy and program implementation, the helping and service professions, or continued graduate study in psychology or sociology. Our program competencies reflect best practices described by the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. More specifically our program competencies are to: 1) Differentiate the major theoretical approaches, conceptual bases, and trends in psychology; 2) Create a research design with: data analysis, statistical interpretation, and application of findings; 3) Apply ethical standards of psychology to personal, social, and organizational issues; 4) Effectively utilize information technology to gather, assess, and communicate about psychological issues and research; 5) Use skeptical inquiry, critical thinking, and scientific approaches to understand behavior; 6) Show an appreciation of cultural diversity and individual differences; 7) Communicate professionally; 8) Show increased self-awareness and interpersonal skills; 9) Differentiate the various psychological roles, professional settings, and career opportunities related to psychology; and 10) Describe the structure and function of counseling, psychology, and human activity within the context of the point of view of the individual disciplines. Our revised curriculum consists of 51 credit hours. Thirty-nine credit hours come from five core emphases: Psychology Core; Sociology Core; Integration; Technical Skills; and Professional Development; and 12 credit hours are electives or grounded in one of four concentrations: 1) Theories and Methodologies; 2) Human Developmental; 3) Clinical and Abnormal; 4) Cultural, Organizational, and Institutional. Our students are expected to leave the major with an impressive set of technical and conceptual tools that will allow them to collect, analyze, and interpret social data then help to implement programs and policies grounded in solid social research. Our presentation will discuss our goals and curriculum more specifically and emphasize the interdisciplinary structure of our curriculum.

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