The most basic value of the Department of Psychology is the advancement of knowledge and understanding for the betterment of the human condition. Within the context of our particular Department and University, there are at least three dimensions to the embodiment of this value.
Firstly, the faculty are dedicated to being recognized scholars in their chosen fields, advancing knowledge of human and animal behavior through theory-building, research, writing, and publication. In addition to devoting our professional lives to the betterment entailed by this dedication, we want to immerse our students in an environment where research and its associated activities are a core part of daily life and where they can learn the basic skills for conducting research. In such an environment, the students can learn first hand that the very process of gaining knowledge is an exciting and valuable endeavor.
Secondly, we want to bring the faculty dedication and enthusiasm to the classroom as well as the laboratory. We want our students to learn from scholars whose own research advances the field in significant ways. It is important that students be exposed to teachers from whom they can learn to think meaningfully about the fundamental problems of the field. Beyond this, we hope the students may learn how our field relates to the broader society at large and how it may contribute to the solution of larger social problems. Such learning occurs in the daily give-and take of both classroom and laboratory.
Finally, we recognize that to be of use and value, knowledge must be imparted to others both inside and outside the discipline. At one level, this is a function of involvement in professional organizations or an additional function of research publication. On another level, in our roles as university faculty and as psychologists, members of the department are often called upon to offer our expertise to the larger University community or to local, national, or international communities who have a need for the particular kinds of knowledge that we have to offer. We affirm the values of these activities.
At a more concrete level, the emphasis of the department is on the content and methods of psychological science. The faculty believe that competence as a psychologist is based on an understanding of the general principles of psychological science as well as an understanding of the methods by which our knowledge of psychological principles is uncovered. The department’s curriculum is built on this assumption.