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10 December 2014

Student Success Story

I would hope that my colleagues in psychology would agree with me that their discipline (while certainly distorted by uninformed "pop psychology" theories) has had far more success in gaining respect and understanding among the public than sociology has. Psychology is much more palatable to a social orientation that frames the world in individualistic terms. In line with the liberal arts mission, I firmly believe that students should be exposed to psychological as well sociological perspectives as undergraduates; the problem is that they generally already have at least a rudimentary understanding of the former but a complete ignorance to the latter. It is in that collegial spirit that I share this story.

Yesterday, I had a student stick around after the final class meeting of our Critical Thinking course. (The course is a general requirement of all frosh and transfers and is taught through several departments and programs, spanning a variety of disciplines.) This student, a psychology major, told me that our class, which uses a Social Problems model to do critical thinking, was eye-opening and had forced her to place individuals and their decisions into the larger social context for the first time. That is a great victory, I think!

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