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Benchmarks

Enjoying the sun at University lakeBenchmarks make our degree unique

There is one benchmark course at each academic level for student learning that specifically targets the departmental competencies. You focus on competencies and skills as you work through a creative approach to your four-year degree.

First Year- Adjustment and Change Targeted Competencies: Self-Understanding and Knowledge of Discipline

The curriculum is creatively designed with a strong applied component to help students understand themselves. Unlike many other universities that begin their major sequence with a largely theoretical introduction survey course, our first course Adjustment and Change helps students in their personal lives understand and gain tools for adjusting to the challenges of living as they build relationships, develop careers, and search for meaning. Students are exposed to current concepts, theories, and research in the area of adjustment and change, and may participate in a ropes challenge, a whitewater rafting trip, or an overnight wilderness camping trip to experientially understand their own processes of coping and to try out new skills. This course is a pre-requisite for all other departmental courses.

Second Year-Sophomore Seminar Targeted Competencies: Critical Thinking and Professionalism

During the sophomore year, students take Sophomore Seminar: An Introduction to Professional Psychology. This course emphasizes critical thinking while it orients the student to the many career directions in our field and to the writing styles of modern, scientific psychology. Extensive field trips, guest speakers and individualized projects highlight some of the active learning components of this key course.

Third Year- Junior Portfolio Targeted Competency: Creative Expression

While outcome measures of the mastery of the six psychology competencies as well as the university competencies are demonstrated during the junior year in the C.E.O. (Competently Evaluating Outcomes) Junior Portfolio class an emphasis is placed upon creative expression. This one-credit course is based on the idea that students in psychology need to be the CEO of their own learning. The instructor simply facilitates the creation of an individualized junior portfolio in a group setting. Students create and compile evidence of their mastery of the competencies and produce a composite product of their previous learning experiences around a departmentally developed outline. This course is the gateway into their senior project work.

Fourth Year- Senior Project Targeted Competency: Activism and Professionalism

As a final demonstration of university and department competencies students in their final year determine a theme around which they have a passionate interest and implement and assess the activities of their project and present completed projects orally and in writing.