Psychology Department

Mission statement

The fundamental educational goal of the Psychology Department is to help students develop the intellectual skills which are at the center of all liberal education: a) the capacity to think deeply, critically, logically, complexly, and ethically, b) the ability to evaluate claims to truth and to make educated, defensible judgments under conditions of uncertainty and complexity, c) the capacity to use information resources and to learn new information independently, and d) the ability to express one’s thoughts in writing and speech.

In addition, the department has several more specific goals:

  • To give students an understanding of the basic ideas which the field of psychology has contributed to general intellectual discourse, and which are part of the conceptual repertoire of a well-educated person,
  • To give students, especially majors, a basic understanding of the current state of knowledge in the field,
  • To give students, especially majors, an understanding of the scientific character of contemporary psychology, the various methods of psychological inquiry, and the experience of creating psychological knowledge through the application of those methods,
  • To prepare a portion of our students for graduate study in psychology, both in academically-oriented fields and in applied professions,
  • To help students reach a deeper understanding of themselves and other people — i.e., that part of the world which psychology studies — including an understanding of the role of culture and the ways in which cultural differences shape people’s behavior, experience and relationships.
  • To foster students’ appreciation of psychology’s relationship to other disciplines by supporting interdisciplinary studies such as neuroscience.
  • To provide a working environment which promotes the intellectual, professional, and personal development of faculty and staff, enables them to do their best work, and facilitates the experience of that work as meaningful and gratifying.