Psychology Department Mission Statement
The Waldorf University Psychology Department seeks to prepare students for careers and lives of service informed by their knowledge of human behavior. Our mission is to equip our students with an education and experiences that allows them to inform and improve the communities in which they live, work , and serve through their critical consideration of personal, social, and organizational issues related to human behavior.
Educational Goals of the Psychology Department
Graduates of the Waldorf University psychology department will have a knowledge base in psychology that includes knowledge of major concepts, theoretical perspectives, and empirical findings.
Graduates of the Waldorf University psychology department will be able to understand and apply basic research methods in psychology including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
Graduates of the Waldorf University psychology department will be able to utilize critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and the scientific approach in order to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
Goal #1 – A Psychology Knowledge Base
In order to develop a broad knowledge base in psychology, students are required to take content area courses from a variety of branches of psychology: developmental, social, cognitive, physiological, and individual differences. Courses in these areas are designed to teach students basic concepts, theoretical perspectives, and introduce them to empirical findings within these fields. Students are expected to demonstrate competence of four of these five areas as well as demonstrate an ability to apply these concepts to real world contexts.
Goal #2 – An Understanding and Application of Research Methods
In order to develop an understanding and application of research methods, students are required to take the two-course research methods series. As part of the Introduction to Research Methods course, students are taught the fundaments of research design, data analysis, and interpretation and expected to demonstrate competence of this theoretical knowledge. As a follow-up to this course, Advanced Research Methods has students apply their understanding by designing, conducting, analyzing, and presenting their own research during the course of the semester while learning about APA ethics in research. Students in this course are given the opportunity to present at undergraduate research conferences hosted by area universities. To complete their major, students are required to take Senior Capstone. During this course, students write a research proposal, allowing them to design a method to answer a research question without being restricted by budget or participant access.
Goal #3 – Critical Thinking and Scientific Inquiry
All courses in the psychology program are designed to encourage students to think critically about psychological issues, employing skeptical inquiry and a scientific approach. The content courses are designed to present students with new ways of thinking about their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of those around them. The methodology courses are designed to teach students the scientific methods used in psychology to empirically explore these questions and evaluate the answers. The culmination of the goal is presented in the Senior Capstone course, as students are expected to critically think about a psychological question of their own and design an empirical method of answer it. During this course, students are also expected to apply a critical eye to classic psychological research by reading and discussing influential psychological articles.