The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching is granted annually to an academic department, office, or program in recognition of the collective responsibility of faculty members for maintaining high-quality teaching, and to acknowledge documented efforts that improve student learning and outcomes. At the Provost's Awards Reception on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences was presented with the 2016 award.
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 their work with the Center for Teaching and Learning to redesign several sections of the General Psychology course. Since then, several 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, Psychology undertook a review and revision of the undergraduate curriculum. This involved renumbering several 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%.
Psychology 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 which 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.