Psychology Home at The University of West Georgia


The mission of the Department of Psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels is to approach the subject matter of psychology in ways that facilitate the understanding of oneself and others:

  • as foundational to personal growth and development;
  • as critical to a deeper understanding of the nature of psychology itself; and
  • as central to professional development.

This long-standing emphasis of the Department is consistent with the University’s goal: to foster educational excellence in a personal environment.

Secondly, the Department seeks to provide an educational environment in which students and faculty can address social and personal issues in a specifically psychological manner. This emphasis requires knowledge of humanistic and alternative approaches to psychology as well as acquaintance with the discipline’s traditional topics and self-definition as a social science. Such a broad scope of concerns accords well with the University’s emphasis on critical scholarly inquiry and creativity.

Departmental Approaches

Our departmental approach emphasizes teaching excellence characterized by:

  • personal attention (e.g., advisement, mentoring, sponsorship of colloquia and dialogue sessions, and the very emphasis integral to our disciplinary approach);
  • experiential involvement (e.g., opportunities for students to reflect on the application of psychological ideas to their personal experiences through activities such as journals, other written assignments, self-awareness projects, and presentations);
  • critical examination and exploration of the discipline of psychology (e.g., assignments such as response papers, essay examinations, integrative literature reviews); and
  • pre-professional preparation and social application (e.g., practica, internships, and other field-related projects; and increased familiarity with opportunities for employment and graduate study in psychology).

The departmental approach to research and scholarship emphasizes involvement - appropriate to various levels of professional development: student and faculty - that includes:

  • appreciation of disciplined inquiry;
  • application of methods appropriate to distinctly human questions (be these methods traditional or alternative); and
  • outcomes like critical, historical, philosophical, empirical, and creative projects.

The Department encourages involvement in research and scholarship by providing opportunities for publication and supporting active participation in pre-professional and professional associations and conferences.

The departmental approach to service emphasizes support of:
  • the university’s instructional program (via core-curriculum and service courses, guest lecturing);
  • the academic community (via work on task forces, service on university-wide committees, faculty advisement of student organizations, outreach activities);
  • the professional community (via departmental colloquia, active participation in professional organizations);
  • the surrounding community (via professional and paraprofessional involvement in Carrollton and neighboring areas).

Overall, the department is committed to providing support for human-service activities that enhance the quality of human life and to preparing its students for the responsibilities of global citizenship.

General Direction the Department is Moving

Since its inception, this Department has been unique in its commitment to a disciplinary vision that is grounded in the humanistic critique of traditional psychology and to participation in the larger debates about the nature of the psychological enterprise. Our theoretical roots are in the traditions of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. We have achieved national and international prominence in this arena, and we intend to honor and extend this reputation as the Department moves into the new millennium. At its heart, this program addresses the perennial, classical questions: Who am I? Who are we? Where are we going? What is worth living for? What help have we to offer?

The Department seeks to broaden its disciplinary base beyond its humanistic and transpersonal core by incorporating developments in philosophy and the humanities and recently generated interdisciplinary approaches to human subjectivity. We seek to explore approaches to therapeutic praxis that understand psychological suffering and human growth in ways that reach deeper than current mechanistic models of psychotherapy. Overall, the Department is moving toward a clarification of the ways in which the insights and understandings associated with its orientation are relevant to the personal and social concerns of a global human community.

Doctoral program (PhD) in Consciousness and Society

Beginning in the Fall of 2011, the Department of Psychology will offer a Ph.D. program in Consciousness and Society (to replace our PsyD program). We received this honor of granting a Ph.D. because of our innovative program that combines theoretic reflection and qualitative research to examine the interface of consciousness and society. This will give our graduates the abilities to teach in University settings in a variety of fields, including health psychology, qualitative research methodologies, social justice, and critical thinking in psychology. Our graduates will also be prepared to work in the field in a variety of community settings. The three threads in the program that ground its orientation are humanistic psychology, with its foundations in existential and phenomenological frameworks, transpersonal psychologies, with their interest in mind/body integration and wisdom traditions, and critical psychologies, with foundations in social justice, discursive traditions, and cultural studies. Our faculty is renown nationally with numerous publications and honors in the discipline and in related fields. Our doctoral students are participating in community and research grants, are becoming trained in college teaching, and are themselves presenting nationally at numerous conferences, including the American Psychological Association. This is a program for creative original scholars who wish to engage in creating knowledge as well as gathering it from others.

Distinguishing and Unique Resources and Activities

From across the nation and around the world, the Department has attracted faculty and students who appreciate the value of the humanistic/transpersonal legacy, recognize the interconnections of the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of human existence, and are committed to fostering the continued evolution of these understandings in the psychology of the future. The Department has achieved national and international prominence for its humanistic/transpersonal programs and has frequently hosted national and international conferences on its campus.

  • The Department encourages the development of course offerings at the leading edge of psychological knowledge.
  • The Department provides opportunities for both faculty and students to pursue areas of particular interest to their personal or professional lives.
  • The Department offers coursework that meets the requirements for state licensure and national certification while focusing inquiry on human experience, values, and the further reaches of human understanding.
  • The Department embodies a vision of human possibility that infuses the quality of student-faculty interactions, the pedagogical style of the faculty, and the design our programs and courses.