Senior Seminar (Psych. 483)
Term 3, 1996
Bill Dragon
Office: 303D Law Hall
Office Hours: 3:00 PM Monday-Friday; or by appointment
Phone: 895-4281 or

Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM or as needed
Sternberg, R. J. (1993). The psychologist's companion (3 rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

American Psychological Association. (1995). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (4rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Goals of the course:This course is designed to be the "capstone" of your experience as a psychology student at Cornell College. It is an opportunity to reflect on your experience of psychology and push beyond some of the traditional barriers of college experience. In this course we will focus on what it means to be a psychologist, what are the current issues and conflicts of psychology, and where is the field of psychology going.

You will also be able to investigate a topic that interests you. You will have the opportunity to explore this topic in a review paper. In the paper you will evaluate the theoretical nature of your topic and the empirical support (or lack of support) for a particular perspective in the published literature. We will work closely on an individual basis on topic selection, topic refinement, the collection of resources, and deciding which resources will be included in your paper. This paper will give you an opportunity to express your ideas at a level of sophistication that reflects the culmination of a college career of thinking clearly and writing well about a variety of topics.

Grading: The exams will account for 60% of your course grade (First exam 30%, Second Exam 30%). The research project will account for 30% of your course grade and the lab reports will account for 9% of your grade. The final 1% of your final grade will be based on the discussion questions you turn in each day. Grades will be assigned on a percentage basis using:

 A  94%  B- 80%  D+ 67%
 A-  90%  C+ 77%  D 64%
 B+  87%  C 74%  D- 60%
 B  84%  C- 70%  F 59%

These percentages will be based on the total points possible in the course. The seminar materials will account for 15% of your final grade. The thesis materilas will account for 75% of your final grade.

 Seminar Materials  Thesis Materials
Active Participation = 10% Note Cards = 05%
Personal Statement = 15% Outline = 05%
  First Draft = 25%
  Final Paper = 50%
Total = 25% Total = 75%

Active Participation: A seminar is a course where the participants try to gain a deeper understanding of an issue in a specific area. It requires all the members to take an active role in the exploration of the topic. To accomplish this you must carefully read the assigned readings and think about the issues in the readings enough so that you can make a contribution to the discussion. It is usually a good idea to come to class with several open ended questions you can ask during the discussion. It is even a better idea to explore references other than those required to gain additional perspective on an issue. You may bring these resources to the discussion.

Remember, you are responsible for the quality of the discussion. A good discussion does not involve 15 people each giving their opinion on an issue. A sophisticated discussion airs the strengths and weakness of all points of view. This is accomplished by asking questions and making connections between points raised about a particular side of an issue. Although there is not a set of correct questions to ask when exploring a topic, there are many ways to examine an issue. Developing and asking questions that will provoke dialogue among the other members of the class is your job.

Leading Discussion: Each member of the class will be expected to lead one 50 minute discussion with another person. Discussion leaders are not responsible for filling the 50 minutes of air time with their questions or evaluations of the reading--that is the responsibility of the class. The co-leaders are expected to guide the discussion on their topic. When you are one of the co leaders you should carefully listening to what the other class members are saying and direct the discussion so all sides of an issue are addressed. Therefore, the co-leaders may raise questions, but they may also probe class members for deeper evaluations of the issues, or take an opposing view point from the rest of the class to act as a lightening rod for discussion.

Note cards, outlines, summaries, and papers: I will have a great deal to say about all of these things today and throughout the course. I will save some time and paper by giving you these directions verbally.

The Personal Statement: The Psychology Department asks every graduating senior to write a personal statement as part of their Senior Seminar experience. The purpose of the statement is to provide you an opportunity to reflect on your undergraduate experiences and personal growth during the last three years. The statement should address not only your perceived strengths and weaknesses, but also your conception of yourself as a psychologist and the role your experiences played in it's development. Specific written guidelines will be distributed during the second week of the course. You will receive feedback from your advisor next block on the same areas addressed in your personal statement after I have consult with others (e.g., advisors, faculty, mentors) for additional information about your growth as a psychologist while at Cornell. I will contact you next block to set up meeting times for your feedback sessions.

Psychological Journals: Your library work will be done in journals. Please be considerate and return the journals to a nearby table. Do not reshelve the journal, this job is "reserved" for the library staff.

Academic Honesty: This is not typically a problem in a course such as a seminar but I am bound by college policy to mention it. We all know what behavior constitutes cheating on exams. However, if you are unsure what constitutes plagiarism just ask and I will be glad to give you several examples. Plagiarism will bring you very harsh penalties so make sure there is no ambiguity in your mind about what constitutes these behaviors. The penalty by the way - is expulsion!

Class Attendance: In a small class, and especially in a seminar, class attendance is very important. Therefore, two unexcused absences will result in the lowering of your final grade by one full letter. Please notify me in advance if you must be absent on a particular day. Let me know as soon as possible if you have become ill so that I can make the appropriate arrangements. If you miss one of the scheduled discussion days even for an approved reason, this work must be made up in the form of an essay exam and must be completed before the end of the block.

Please be Prompt: Latecomers are very disruptive to everyone and may force us to continue beyond normal ending time. Chronic tardiness will count as an unexcused absence from class. Take whatever steps necessary to be in class on time.

 Discussion Topic


Ethics Code and Ethical Dilemmas American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 45, 390-395.
  Pope, K. S., & Vetter, V. A. (1992). Ethical dilemmas encountered by members of the American Psychological Association: A national survey. American Psychologist, 47, 397-411.
  Benard, L. L., Murphy, M., & Little, M. (1987). The failure of clinical psychologist to apply understood ethical principles. Professional Psychology, 18, 489-491.
  Haas, L. J., Maloug, J. L., & Mayerson, N. H. (1986). Ethical dilemmas in psychological practice: Results of a national survey. Professional Psychology, 17, 316-321.
Competing Cultures Spence, J. T. (1987). Centrifugal versus centripetal tendencies in psychology: Will the center hold? American Psychologist, 42, 1052-1054.
  Holden, C. (1989). Research psychologists break with APA. Science, 241, 1036.
  Kimble, G. A. (1984). Psychology's two cultures. American Psychologist, 46, 1025-1032.
  Anderson, W. P., & Heppner, P. P. (1986). Counselor applications of research findings to practice: Learning to stay current. Journal of Counseling and Development, 65, 152-155.
Multiculturalism and Psychology Graham, S. (1992). "Most of the subjects were white and middle class": Trends in published research on African Americans in selected APA journals, 1970-1989. American Psychologist, 47, 629-639.
  Jackson, J. H. (1992). Trials, tribulations, and triumphs of minorities in psychology: Reflections atcentury's end. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 23, 80-86.
  Sue, S. (1983). Ethnic minority issues in psychology: A reexamination. American Psychologist, 38, 583-592.
  Yoder, J. D., & Kahn, A. S., (1993). Working toward an inclusive psychology of women. American Psychologist, 48, 846-850.
  Lee, Y. T. (1993). Psychology needs no prejudice but the diversity of cultures. American Psychologist, 48, 1090-1091
  Kiselica, M. S. (1991). Reflections on a multicultural internship experience. Journal of Counseling and Development, 65, 152-155.
  Suinn, R. M. (1992). Reflections on minority developments: An Asian-American perspective. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 23, 14-17.
Animal rights, Animal wrongs Johnson, D. (1990). Animal rights and human lives: Time for scientists to right the balance. Psychological Science, 1, 213-214.
  Devenport, L. D., & Devenport, J. A. (1990). The laboratory animal dilemma: A solution in our backyards. Psychological Science, 1, 215-216.
  Ulrich, R. E. (1991). Animal rights, animal wrongs and the question of balance. Psychological Science, 2, 197-201.
  Miller, N. E. (1991). Commentary on Ulrich: Need to check truthfulness of statements by opponents of animal research. Psychological Science, 2, 422-423.
  Ulrich, R. E. (1992). Animal research: A reflective analysis. Psychological Science, 3, 384-386.
  Greenough, W. T. (1992). Animal rights replies distort(ed) and misinform(ed). Psychological Science, 3, 142.
  Locke, E. A. (1992). There can be no balance between animal and human rights. Psychological Science, 3, 143.
Dual Relationships Kitchener, K. S. (1988). Dual role relations: What makes them so problematic? Journal of Counseling and Development, 67, 217-221.
  Keith-Speigel, P. (1994). Ethically risky situations between students and professors outside the classroom. APA Observer, 5, 24-29.
  Glaser, R. D., & Thorpe, J. S. (1986). Unethical intimacy: A survey of sexual contact and advances between psychology educators and female graduate students. American Psychologist, 41, 43-51.
  Hitt, J. (1993, September). New Rules about sex on campus. Harper's Magazine, pp.33-42.
  Schodolski, V. J. (1993, September, 5). Campus quandary: Teacher-student love. Chicago Tribune, pp. 13-14.
Sexual Harassment Dragon, W. (1985). Sexual harassment in the workplace: A review of the literature. Presented at the I/O and Organizational Behavior Graduate Student Conference, Akron, Ohio.
  Hotelling, L. K. (1991). Sexual harassment: A problem shielded by silence. Journal of Counseling and Development, 69, 497-501.
  Anonymous. (1991). Sexual harassment: A female counseling student's experience. Journal of Counseling and Development, 69, 502-506.
  American Psychological Association. (1989). If sex enters into the psychotherapy relationship. Professional Psychology, 20, 112-115.
  Rodolfa, E., Hall, T., Homs, V., Davena, A., Komatz, D., Antunez, M., & Hall, A. (1994). The management of sexual feelings in therapy. Professional Psychology, 25, 168-172.
Ethics Training, Ethics Osmosis, and the Role of Undergraduate Education Handelsman, M. M. (1986). Problems with ethics training by osmosis. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 17, 371-372.
  Benard, J. L., Murphy, M., & Little, M. (1987). The failure of clinical psychologists to apply understood ethical principles. American Psychologist, 18, 489-491.
  McGovern, T. V., Furumoto, L., Halpern, D. F., Kimble, G. A., & McKeachie, W. J. (1991). Liberal education, study in depth, and the arts and sciences major - psychology. American Psychologist, 46, 598-605.
  McGovern, T. V., Hawks, B. K. (1988). The liberating science and art of undergraduate psychology. American Psychologist, 43, 108-114.
Psychology's Troubled image? Benjamin, L. T. (1986). Why don't they understand us? A history of psychology's public image. American Psychologist, 41, 941-946.
  Murstein, B. I., & Fontaine, P. A. (1993). The public's knowledge about psychologists and other mental health professionals. American Psychologist, 48, 839-845.
  Warner, D. L., Bradley, J. R. (1991). Undergraduate psychology students' views of counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists: A challenge to academic psychologists. Professional Psychology, 22, 138-140.
  Wiggins, J. G. (1993). Would you want your child to be a psychologist? American Psychologist, 49, 485-492.
  Wood, W., Jones, M., & Benjamin, L. T. (1986). Surveying psychology's public image. American Psychologist, 41, 947-953.

Return to: Bill's Personal Home Page
Return to: Bill's Department Page
Return to Department of Psychology Home Page