Sample Psychology Essay on University Mission and Program Outcomes

Essay 1: University Mission and Program Outcomes

The Psychology BA program that I have been taking at the University of Charleston has been of great benefit to me. Over the years, I have taken various courses that have shaped my life not only within the academic context but also in the general life skills context. Indeed, the benefits of the program continue to emerge day-to-day as I push myself to achieve my life goals. I am committed to continuing my pursuit of success using the concepts learned via this program. Indeed, I believe that the university’s mission statement, which is “to educate each student for a life of productive work, enlightened work, and community development” (University of Charleston, 2019), provides avenues for students to grow outside their classroom programs.

To understand exactly how the university’s mission and the psychology program have been beneficial towards helping me attain my future goals, I will be providing an overview of my experiences through my presence in this school. I will focus on the concepts presented in the university mission, the courses offered in the school, and the contributions of these courses to fundamental critical thinking capabilities and life skills development. This essay provides a general description of the impacts of various program outcomes on my professional capabilities as well as a description of how these outcomes have affected my ability to engage in productive work, enlightened living, and community development. Additionally, examples (in the form of program outcomes) of the program’s contribution to my growth as a student and as a professional will be mentioned.

Program Outcome Selection

One of the program outcomes for the psychology BA program is to demonstrate innovation and mastery of the oral and the written communications skills stands of APA that will culminate in the production of a presentation of a professional undergraduate thesis. I have undertaken several courses and completed many assignments that test the scope of my written and oral communication skills to achieve this learning outcome. Eventually, I expect that the combination of the many assignments and the lessons will help in realizing this outcome. Over the past few months, I have worked on various assignments that have helped me to build my skills in self-expression, critical thinking about various phenomena, and exploring the opportunities for expression and communication that can be available in different subjects. For example, I tacked a paper on ethics and another on abuse, concepts that have wide applicability in everyday living, and on which the opportunity to discuss even within the general context outside the school environment inevitable. Through them, I have learned how much the concepts that I learn in school are relevant to real life and understood the need to take the program not just as another academic endeavor, but as something that could help me beyond the school environment.  Consequently, I have been able to focus on other areas that find applicability both within the school environment and outside such as in daily living with friends and family, a position that enables me to find value in these course outcomes.

Commonalities in Lessons

For a Psychology major, one of the common lessons between critical thinking and psychology is the BA Capstone. The BA capstone presents an opportunity for students taking Critical Thinking Advanced – Major as well as Psychology to develop the connection between several disciplines. For instance, as part of my Capstone project under both critical thinking advanced major and the psychology major, I have had to work on projects that explore different disciplines that are all encompassed in psychology. For example, I have progressive assignments on ethics, abuse, and a portfolio paper on business and foreign languages. Each of these assignments tested my capability to think beyond the conventional concepts presented in my course of study, an aspect that is a critical thinking activity.

I believe the capstone has been valuable in pushing me towards achieving my academic goals, particularly with reference to the selected program outcome, which was to demonstrate innovation and mastery of both the oral and the written communications skills stands of APA that will culminate in the production of a presentation of a professional undergraduate thesis. The multiple assignments I have written have enabled me to build writing while presenting the assignments have built my oral skills. I have also been able to work progressively towards the production of a presentation that makes part of my undergraduate thesis, and I believe the capstone approach has been effective not only in pushing students to deliver their assignments but also in enhancing their understanding of how the program contributes to their general life. Besides, I think that the capstone embodies the function of such projects as outlined by Continuing and Career Education (2019). The projects require a lot of time, which I have been willing to put in regardless of the circumstances.

Connection to the University Mission

The University of Charleston’s mission is to educate each student in preparation for a life of productive work, enlightened work, and community development. Having gone through various classes and with varying program outcomes, I believe that the university has lived up to its mission of educating me particularly on productive work life, enlightened work, and community development. The outcomes I have gained from the program in terms of written and oral communication; understanding and use of scientific fields, mastery of core fields, paradigms, and theories of psychology; production of an undergraduate thesis; and an understanding of the role of ethical research in academics, have contributed significantly not only to my academic life but to my professional and social life. I would use the institution’s mission statement as my mantra to describe the effects of learning in this institution

By its mission statement, the institution first outlines its commitment to educate students on the life of productive work. This aligns with ElObeidy (2016), who points out the role of education in enhancing productive work as one of the core objectives of life. I am confident that the program has been beneficial towards my building skills for productive work in the professional context, and I have used those skills both within formal education in the school and outside to earn a living. At my job, I have improved my performance significantly, which has been enabled by skills such as communication that I gained at the university. Additionally, I have helped some of my clients who needed assistance to deal with different mental and emotional issues to realize great progress in healing over time. Indeed, the Comm-101 has helped me to develop my writing and comprehension skills extensively. These skills have enabled me to understand people better and have fruitful conversations with them and help friends and family handle life problems. I have monitored my clients as well as the friends and family members whom I have helped and established that they have made great progress in psychological healing, which indicates that my intervention was effective.

When it comes to improving enlightened living, the program has given me an opportunity, through lessons and the assignments that have been carried out over time, to foster enlightened living. For instance, Art-203 has enabled me to understand how things come to be before I see them the way they are. The course has helped me to understand the role of creativity not only in art but as a way of life, which made me appreciate creativity together with the new innovations that result from it even more than I did before. Another class that has really helped me to refine my enlightened living objectives is Hist-212, which opened my mind and heart to greater empathy. Today, I am able to think from the perspectives of those I deal with, which has helped me to understand what they need. I have also realized that those with whom I work daily face many hurdles in life and sometimes may be unable to reach their potential because of these challenges. I try to help them to resolve these issues to enable them to work towards reaching their potential. One of the approaches for making people realize their potential that I have learned to use is the combination of memory games and fun items, like balloons and tennis rackets to initiate creative problem-solving. I have learned to creatively foster self-enhancement in the people I work with and I believe this is partly the essence of psychology practice as suggested by Wahass (2005). Therefore, I have initiated critical thinking processes in my future practice, and this is a confirmation that the university has lived up to its mission of improving enlightened living.

Besides productive work and enlightened living, the other part of the mission focuses on community involvement. As part of the requirements for attaining practical points during the course, I have had to volunteer at a nursing home to earn additional credit hours. During the volunteer work, I found that some of the patients needed attention, which their families had denied them. The involvement also helped me realize my goal in life and realize that I wanted to be an abuse advocate as a way of giving back to the community. I also realized that I desired to be involved in any other activity that would help me to give back to society upon realizing that I could use psychology to diagnose problems that are unspoken. As a psychologist, some of the issues I feel that I can assist in healing include physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. I have come to understand the position shared by Nelms (2001), that emotional and verbal abuse is the least reported form of abuse, and through undertaking this program, I am certain that I have gained the capability to provide psychology-related care for members of the community across different ages. Another example of my community involvement is helping friends out of negative situations, such as drug use. Drug use is a common occurrence in contemporary society. Through the combination of the educational skills gained in this program and practical skills gained by working with friends in managing drug use issues, I will have improved my community development capability. It is thus undeniable that the role of the program in fostering my community development initiative and competence has been paramount, and the university has embodied this aspect of the mission perfectly. Hart Research Associates (2013), mentions ethics and intercultural competence as some of the areas that employers mostly focus on. Based on the work I have done in community development, I am certain that I have built competency in these areas ad would therefore be considered skillful in employment.

The university’s Psychology BA program provides a course outline that fosters the progress of students towards achieving the overall university mission statement. While the effects of the different university programs towards productive work, enlightened living, and community development are effective, the psychology program can be made to deliver even better practical outcomes by expanding the range of practical activities in which students are expected to be involved.

5 to 10 Years Life-Plan

Having gained the mentioned skills from this program and understood how these skills can help me in working towards productive work, enlightened living, and community development, I believe that my immediate and long-term goals are well aligned with the outcomes of this course. In the next five years, I would like to have gotten a better job that would help me give back more to the communities. Particularly, I would like a job that would require me to work with needy people most of the time. Such a job would foster involvement in actual hands-on assistance to others and the realization of treatment outcomes for those with problems. Additionally, I am certain that such a job will enable me to improve my family’s living standards. For instance, I should be able to move my family from my current home to one with better facilities. Additionally, the job will allow me to relocate to a neighborhood that offers better access to healthcare and social resources.

I have also confirmed that the competencies gained through this program and focus on the university mission statement will enable me to fit perfectly in any contemporary work environment. This belief is fueled by research findings by Hart Research Associates (2013), which showed various characteristics that employers would like to see in their employees. At the top of the list, there were skills such as innovation, communication, and ethics. These skills are counted as more important than the study major. According to the report by Hart Research Associates (2013), these skills are built by achieving various learning outcomes including written and oral communication, critical thinking, complex problem solving, and applied knowledge in practice areas. These learning outcomes correspond to some of the most important learning outcomes associated with my Psychology major program, and I have particularly engaged in activities that promote them. For instance, I have learned through practice, to incorporate Paul-Elder’s critical thinking framework into my decision-making strategy. The framework entails the components of reasoning, intellectual standards, and intellectual traits associated with critical thinking (Paul & Elder, (2010), Cited in the University of Louisville, (2020)). In most of my academic activities including assignments, community involvement, and professional development, I have consistently used this framework in making decisions. I will be able to use these competencies as well as the communication skills I have developed in performing my roles in the target job effectively and I believe they will be a fit for the workplace.

Within the next 10 years, I desire to have helped people to restore optimism that life can be better in spite of the challenges they face or have encountered. I also confirm the position shared by Gervasio, Wendorf, and Yoder (2010) that the psychology profession is a job for those who desire to inspire hope in others by poking holes in the negative aspects of their lives and helping them to develop more positive thoughts that would enable them to see the good in whatever they are going through. One way through which I would achieve the mentioned goal is by doing a job that entails counseling and advocacy against abuse. I could also be a mental health technician, a role that will enable be help the community address common mental health issues.

Conclusion

Upon reflecting on the University of Charleston’s mission statement and the program outcomes of the Psychology BA major, and I have come to the conclusion that the university has aligned its general mission statement to the program-specific outcomes. The lessons and activities that are part of the university’s programs that every student s expected to cover or complete are geared towards helping them realize the university’s mission of enhancing productive work, enlightened living, and community development. In spite of the good programs and the alignment with the university mission, the university can improve its programs by expanding the scope of actual practice activities for students.

References

Continuing & Career Education (2019). Business capstone course. Assumption College Website. Retrieved from cce.assumption.edu/academics/go-places-in-business/bachelor-degree-capstone-course/

ElObeidy, A.A. (2016). The role of education and training in enhancing labor productivity in Arab countries in Africa. International Journal of Training and Development, 20(3), 238-245. Retrieved from onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ijtd.12078

Gervasio, A.H., Wendorf, C.A., & Yoder, N.F. (2010). Validating a psychology as a helping profession scale. Journal of Teaching of Psychology, 37(2). Retrieved from www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00986281003609199?journalCode=htop20

Hart Research Associates (2013). It takes more than a major: Employer priorities for college learning and student success. Hart Research Associates. Washington, DC: Connecticut.

Nelms, B.C. (2001). Emotional abuse: Helping prevent the problem. Journal of Pediatric Healthcare, 15(3), 103-104. Retrieved from www.jpedhc.org/article/S0891-5245(01)96077-8/fulltext

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2010). The miniature guide to critical thinking concepts and tools. Dillon Beach: Foundation for Critical Thinking Press.

University of Charleston (2019). Our mission: The UC mission defined. Retrieved from www.ucwv.edu/about/uc-at-a-glance/our-mission/

University of Louisville (2020). Paul-Elder critical thinking framework. University of Louisville. Retrieved from louisville.edu/ideastoaction/about/criticalthinking/framework

Wahass, S.H. (2005). The role of psychologists in healthcare delivery. Journal of Family & Community Medicine, 12(2), 63-70. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410123/