The Department of Psychology received The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2016, in recognition of the department’s efforts to improve students learning and outcomes, through the collective responsibility of faculty members for maintaining high-quality teaching.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan Lorden presented the honor at a reception on Oct. 5, 2016.
The Department of Psychology’s goal is to educate students who have a strong knowledge base in the concepts and methods of the discipline, who can think critically about issues of human behavior and human thinking, and who can apply psychological concepts to a variety of real-world problems and situations.
Psychology has been a leader in online learning since Spring 2011 through its work with the Center for Teaching and Learning to redesign several sections of the General Psychology course. Since then, fully online and hybrid sections of several other courses have been developed to assure that hundreds of transfer students gain seats in courses.
In 2014-2015, the Psychology Department undertook a review and revision of the undergraduate curriculum. This involved renumbering courses and adding new prerequisites for upper-division courses, enabling students to make better course choices within the major. After implementation of these changes, the percentage of students earning Ds or Fs in 3000- and 4000-level courses overall dropped from 15.5% to 9.2%.
The department hosts two learning communities for entering first-year students and new transfer students, both of which emphasize the importance of student engagement in the major. Each learning community has made significant contributions to student success in the major, and provided students with increased opportunities to engage with faculty in the department through undergraduate research and service-learning activities.
Community-based research has become a principle component of both undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered in the department. These activities foster the application of psychological principles to life’s experiences and prepare students for personal success and civic responsibility in the 21st century. Likewise, the department provides short-term international experiences that allow students to continue to complete degree requirements while studying abroad. Through these interactions, students develop a diverse and global view of society.
The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching includes a monetary award and a plaque commemorating the department’s achievements in teaching excellence.