Psychology Home at The University of West Georgia

Strategic Assessment

Core Curriculum

Use generic questions on Student Evaluation forms to assess Core Curriculum objectives (beginning Spring, 2001).

Undergraduate Program

Develop Program Highlights Display for use in Orientation Sessions (Completed February 2001)

Develop new brochure for recruitment of undergraduates (Completed February 2002)

Change major requirements to include HIST & PHIL of PSYC (Completed March 2002)

Use advisement opportunities to give students more information about field-related employment and graduate school.

Graduate Program

Revise form used at time of oral exam to enable us to keep better track of grads (Completed Spring, 2002)

Secured extension on external review/accreditation from outside evaluator (CDPP) - Secured January, 2001

Develop PSI CHI Chapter (In process - Jeff Reber, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor)

Secure copies of student exit papers beginning Spring 2001

Form Humanistic Praxis Coordinating Committee to develop a more coherent perspective on our applied training curriculum and formulate a draft of a policy statement around these and related issues. (Established 2000)

Seek funding for Graduate Coordinator to work throughout the academic year and throughout the summer sessions as well.

Establish an anonymous and effective means of assessing the perceptions of our graduate students (similar to the one utilized in the PSYC 4884 class for undergraduates).

Consider dedicating a graduate assistantship to coordinating community-development activities for the graduate program.

Consider extending the role of Graduate Coordinator to include service as a liaison between graduate students and faculty.

Perhaps the person in this position could develop a data-base of information about our graduate students, attend department
meetings regularly and better understand faculty concerns as well as vice versa.

General

Revise syllabi to include course objectives, date of issue, etc.

Send surveys to students on continuing basis (begun January, 2001)

Develop guidelines for Enhanced Research Track (Completed April, 2001)

Continue development of doctoral program proposal.

Revise syllabi for courses in current catalog - to be completed in Fall, 2002.

Revise mission statement to distinguish between undergraduate and graduate programs (re: SACS Criteria) - to be addressed during departmental retreat (Fall, 2001).

Concluding Summary Statement About Viability, Productivity, and Quality Issues

Psychology Department faculty believe evidence presented in this Program Review Self-Study demonstrates quite clearly the viability, productivity and quality of programs offered by the Psychology Department at the University of West Georgia. Ours is a hard-working and highly-motivated faculty.

In terms of numbers alone (e.g., number of majors, number of pre-majors, number of graduate students, number of courses taken by non-majors), the Department’s programs and course offerings are clearly of interest to students. We average 188 undergraduate majors per year, 106 minors, and provide coursework and advisement as well for approximately 226 pre-majors annually who have not yet earned the GPA to become full-fledged Psychology majors. Our graduate program attracts approximately 84 students per year, and is growing substantially at this time. The demand for courses regularly exceeds resources the department has available to provide the number and diversity of offerings students would ideally like to take from Psychology Department faculty, as can be seen from the number of requests (approximately 183 per semester) which faculty receive to override enrollment caps.

Student evaluation data show that Psychology Department faculty offer high quality educational experiences which are perceived as meaningful, even invaluable, learning experiences by students enrolled in Psychology classes. In the areas of Service and Professional Development activities, faculty in this department are doing an extraordinary job - taking active roles in a wide range of committees. For example, between Fall 1998 and Spring 2002, department faculty provided service to the institution as a whole through involvement in 48 activities, organizations and/or events (including 9 presentations on campus). They have also provided service to the College of Arts & Sciences through involvement in the work of ten committees and service to the Department either individually or in collaboration with others on 27 committees handling departmental matters.

Psychology Department faculty are also participating actively in discipline-based professional activities. Since Fall 1998, they have been involved as single authors, co-authors or co-editors in the publication of 8 books and have published or have in press 29 refereed articles in journals in their fields of expertise, 26 book chapters and 40 shorter publications. Including the 1998 annual convention of the American Psychological Association, they have given 116 international, national, regional or local presentations. They are active in professional organizations, such as the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia, the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and the American Psychological Association. Since 1999, members of our faculty have been appointed to or are continuing on twelve (12) editorial boards. One faculty member had previously achieved Fellow status in the American Psychological Association and another has recently been nominated for this status. Drs. Mustakova-Possardt, Rice and Schor are licensed Professional Counselors and Dr. Mark Kunkel is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. And full-time, tenure-track department faculty are doing all this while seeking to uphold the institutional commitment to “academic excellence in a personal environment” for one of the most heavily-enrolled departments on the campus.

The Department of Psychology and University Visionary Goals

* The Psychology Department’s strong graduate program helps inspire research at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The very well attended SPARC conference as well as Psychology’s participation in BIG NIGHT competition represent the Department’s commitment to research. It is clear that in addition to SPARC, we can further utilize graduate/undergraduate connections to encourage research opportunities for students at all levels. To supplement this effort, the research vision of the doctoral proposal can easily be enlisted to increase the quality and quantity of research (including Participatory Action Research) projects at both undergraduate and graduate levels. As a faculty that is highly involved with professional activities at the national level, we will also continue to offer suitably talented students opportunities to contribute at the national level within professional organizations. This year, for example, one of our graduate students, Philip Mancus, is presenting at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

* As a department, we are fully and actively involved with the Honors program, most notably via the teaching contributions of Dr. Aanstoos, but including other faculty as well. Drs. Hart and Malone have been involved in the Advanced Academy since its inception. We are also involved in a Learning Community, with Dr. James Dillon serving as a coordinator.

* In both our doctoral proposal and our involvement with the Brookwood initiative (through the efforts of Dr. Mustakova-Possardt and other colleagues), we are pioneering community-oriented research opportunities in cross-cultural settings. We offer numerous internships at the graduate and undergraduate levels. We have pioneered a volunteer program for Carroll County schools with support from an in-house LRC grant (through Drs. Hart, Dillon & Malone). The department offers the most liberal-arts based preparation program in the state of Georgia leading to licensure as a Professional Counselor. Undergraduate internships opportunities lack only a faculty coordinator (and faculty reassigned time) in order to flourish even more. New research possibilities await the development of our bio-feedback lab (initiated through the efforts of Dr. Hart). The graduate O/D emphasis could, with a new faculty hire, also introduce numerous opportunities for “innovative professional preparation.”

Resources in support of the above-described activities are strained to the breaking point. Faculty are spread thin and, without additional resources, cannot sustain the level of quality and productivity they have demonstrated for the indefinite future. The department is in dire need of additional personnel to support a level of programming the department is capable of providing and students are seeking. At both undergraduate and graduate levels, students desire and are entitled to more individualized advisement than current circumstances permit. At both undergraduate and graduate levels, students desire and could benefit from the availability of a broader range of course offerings than current personnel are able to schedule given the department’s thriving population of majors and pre-majors. At both undergraduate and graduate levels, students desire and could benefit from the sort of mentoring and professional supervision that additional personnel could bring into being. At the graduate level, students desire and could benefit from more individualized assistance with research and/or thesis projects than current personnel are able to provide.

The Department has been granted 11 Graduate Research Assistantships when it could actually utilize a minimum of 16. It is in need of a year-round coordinator for graduate admissions. Since potential employers of our graduates look for both academic credentials and field-related experience, the department is in need of a coordinator for internships. Students can seek out independent study opportunities (PSYC 4881/6881/6882) and practicum opportunities (PSYC 4887/6887) to meet these expectations but at the present time they must do this at their own initiative and find an appropriate member of the faculty to supervise their work. Faculty have many demands on their time and are hard-pressed to provide in-depth supervision of such projects/practicum experiences. Additional staff or a reallocation of departmental resources is required to address this problem.

In comparison with departments graduating only 2-10 persons per year, the department seems seriously underfunded and seems to find itself in a rather untenable position so far as securing additional funding is concerned. On the one hand, monies follow enrollment and thus to secure increased funding department faculty would be expected to increase enrollment in classes by increasing the number of students enrolled in them or offering additional sections. Given our capacity to recruit and retain majors at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and the nature of our programs, however, it would be unconscionable to take this course. Without additional full-time faculty, we could not accommodate additional students and simultaneously honor the institutional commitment to “academic excellence in a personal environment. ” Nor could we sustain the level of professional involvement our faculty currently have achieved or find it possible to honor the commitments which emerge from our humanistic/transpersonal orientation to provide the levels of quality in program design, course offerings and faculty-student interactions which are fundamental to our mission.