The Psychology Department at Lebanon Valley College seeks to foster an understanding of human behavior that is built on a scientific foundation and is applied to real world phenomena and problems. Our curriculum is a student-oriented, liberal arts program that prepares students, following graduation, for applied entry positions in the work force or for graduate studies in a range of areas such as psychology, neuroscience, social work, medicine, business, education, and law. The program allows our students to become psychologically literate individuals who can (a) attain significant professional accomplishments within the field, and also (b) apply their knowledge toward understanding and shaping behavior-related public policies, critically analyzing media-based coverage of psychological topics, and enhancing various elements of their own and others' lives. This approach is consistent with the mission of the College, which is to enable "students to become people of broad vision, capable of making informed decisions and prepared for a life of service to others."
The departments offers students the benefits of a strong classroom-based traditional background in the core subdisciplines of psychology, along with providing opportunities to become involved in the field of psychology in an applied manner. Many psychology majors gain practical knowledge through (a) participation in independent and collaborative research projects under the guidance and supervision of individual faculty members, as well as (b) our extensive internship program, which allows students to receive college credit for work experience relevant to their particular interests within the field of psychology. Overall, the Department of Psychology at Lebanon Valley College offers the 'best of both worlds': experiences and facilities usually associated only with larger universities, along with individualized instruction and advisement characteristic of small liberal arts institutions.
Recent psychology and psychobiology graduates have worked or attended graduate school from London, England to San Francisco, California. They are therapists, counselors, researchers, teachers, conservationists, scientists, and probation officers among other interesting professions. They work for companies ranging from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine to GlaxoSmithKline and Disney's Animal Kingdom to the Pennsylvania State Police.
These alumni attended or are attending graduate schools such as Towson, Virginia Commonwealth, West Virginia, Temple, Boston, Virginia Tech, Drexel, West Chester, and Millersville universities, as well as the City University of London, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and other nationally known schools. Often serving as research associates and graduate assistants, they are pursuing master's and doctoral degrees in fields ranging from school counseling and clinical psychology to pharmacology and forensic psychology.
Objectives of the Psychology Major
The department's mission is implemented via the program's focus attempting to understand behavior, which in turn helps psychologists to foster both individual and societal well being. The study of psychology is, therefore, not only a preparation for various careers, but an important part of a liberal art education. The psychology major at LVC is designed to prepare students to enter the work force and/or pursue graduate studies following graduation. To accomplish these ends, the program is structured around the following goals, attained via addressing the specified learning outcomes.
Goal 1: Students will possess a foundation of basic knowledge of psychology, by:
1.1 explaining the nature and objectives of psychology (describing, understanding, predicting, and controlling behavior and mental processes) as a scientific field of inquiry.
1.2 articulating knowledge and understanding of theory and research in major content areas of psychology.
1.3 demonstrating understanding of historical trends and major recurring themes in psychology.
1.4 using psychological tools, including language, concepts, and theories, to interpret psychological phenomena.
Goal 2: Students will be proficient researchers, by:
2.1 utilizing relevant psychological literature to design research studies.
2.2 developing scientifically valid plans for research, including testable hypotheses, and appropriate design, samples, and measures.
2.3 evaluating strengths, weaknesses, and implications of specific research methodologies that do and do not permit causal inferences.
2.4 collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data using appropriate statistical strategies.
2.5 applying ethical principles (established by the American Psychological Association (APA)) to research settings.
Goal 3: Students will be effective communicators, by:
3.1 synthesizing psychological literature to answer specific questions in psychology.
3.2 writing data-based research papers that include the standard APA sections of Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion.
Goal 4: Students will be critical thinkers, by:
4.1 evaluating the quality of empirical and speculative evidence according to accepted standards in psychology.
4.2 recognizing and presenting alternatives to personal biases and common fallacies in thinking.
4.3 evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of psychological methods and theories as a basis for inquiry.
4.4 creating connections among diverse findings and theories, and their application to everyday life.
4.5 recognizing how sociocultural contexts shape psychological research and theories.
Our full-time faculty have expertise in clinical & counseling, forensic, cognitive, developmental, social, and physiological psychology, and the neurosciences, and their knowledge is complemented by a number of adjunct faculty from area hospitals, schools, and private
practice who regularly teach additional classes in the department.
Teaching responsibilities are the primary task of the members of the department, and psychology faculty excel at providing their students with educational experiences that focus on encouraging critical thinking related to attaining a broad appreciation for the variety of elements that produce human behavior. Beyond teaching, however, the faculty are active scholars, publishing their research in a variety of peer-reviewed journals and books, presenting their research at regional and national conferences, and attending scholarly workshops. Furthermore, the faculty are active members of the broader College community, assuming leadership roles in various policy and general committees, as well as supervising graduate students in the Master of Science Education Program. Finally, members of the Psychology Department engage in a variety of other tasks connected to academe, including (but not limited to) contributions to mass media publications, reviewing journal articles/textbooks, serving as journal editors and external reviewers for other schools' evaluations, and completing community-service activities. The fact that individuals external to the College seek out members of the department in these matters attests to the strong professional reputation of the department, which also reflects back on the College in a positive manner.