Planning and Review Committee 2005-06
I. Degree: B.A. Psychology
Program Director: Dr. Ed Biggerstaff
PRC Consultant(s): Bill Bailey, Adam Duffenbach and Brian Finder
Purpose of the Review: The review was conducted to assess the quality of the B.A. in
Psychology degree program as part of the ongoing seven-year review cycle of
every UW-Stout program.
Committee Findings: The PRC recommends that this program continue to be one of UW-Stout's
degree programs for the ongoing seven-year cycle, and that recommendations made by the
committee be implemented.
The B.A. Psychology program at UW-Stout serves the university, community, state and profession
with quality education, scholarship and professional service in basic and applied psychology. The
department and program strives to sustain a community of student and faculty scholars that fosters
professional as well as personal growth. These goals are achieved through a science-based
curriculum focused on applications of psychological theories and scientific methods to individual,
social and organizational challenges. The curriculum emphasizes respect for diversity of people and
ideas, ethical responsibility, effective speaking, writing, listening, critical thinking and experimental
applications. All of the approximately 300 psychology major students currently enrolled at UW-
Stout are required to complete a second area of study, whether it is an approved minor or
specialization, or a departmental committee-guided self planned 22-credit concentration. Students in
the major have flexibility in choosing either psychology selectives or free elective courses in their
program. They also have flexibility in selecting how they wish to meet the experiential as well as the
applied requirements of the program.
III. Process Followed for Current Review:
The PRC Chair met with the dean, program director and chair of the primary department to discuss
the review process. The PRC consultants also met with the program director to review the
procedures and offer assistance. Under guidelines developed by the PRC, information regarding the
program was gathered from the Placement Office, Institutional Research, the program director, key
instructors, program committee, students, and one-year and three-year graduates. There were 63
students, mostly juniors and seniors, who participated in the internet-based survey. In addition, 16
key instructors and 2 program committee members responded, while 16 of 44 graduates surveyed in
2003 and 13 of 59 graduates surveyed in 2000 responded (36% and 22% of those surveyed). A draft
document which summarized the consultants’ analysis of these surveys, institutional data and the
program director’s self-report along with recommendations as deemed appropriate were distributed
to the PRC with recommendations as deemed appropriate. On 12/2/05, the program director
presented a summary of his report to the committee and had an opportunity to address concerns. The
Dean from the College of Human Development was also available to answer questions. After the
committee discussed and approved the consultant-based report, it was then forwarded to the dean for
his response. The PRC reviewed the dean’s response, approved the recommendation report, and
forwarded the report to the Faculty Senate.
IV. Previous Review:
The previous PRC review of the B.A Psychology program was conducted during AY 1998-
1999. That report was written by Karen Zimmerman and Richard Lowery and the
committee’s recommendations as well as the applicable responses are summarized below:
1.a Consultants’ recommendation – The program director should integrate more statistics
into the program.
1.b. Program director’s response – There is no record that the previous program director
(Dr. Mary Flynn) formally responded to this recommendation.
2.a. Consultants’ recommendation - The program director should strengthen advisement efforts
for those students who are not planning to go to graduate school.
2.b. Program director’s response – There is no record that the previous program director
formally responded to this recommendation.
3.a. Consultants recommendation – The dean should develop a plan for the addition of
new laboratory facilities and larger classrooms.
3.b. Dean’s response – The CHD Space Committee will be given a charge to evaluate
overall space needs in the College, including the lab and larger classroom needs for the B.A.
Psychology program. I will continue to pursue the prospect of adding one additional room
adjacent to the current lab configuration in the basement of the Vocational Rehabilitation Building.
This area is currently used by General Services to provide a custodial office and storage. Further, I
will look at the possibility of finding a more suitable space in building areas outside of the
Vocational Rehabilitation Building where research lab space may be more abundant and offer a
better opportunity to interface with other research efforts in the college.
Regarding classroom needs, I am moving forward to have two small classrooms in the Vocational
Rehabilitation Building configured into one larger classroom to accommodate larger class sizes. I
will also work with the CHD Space Committee and Registrar’s Office to seek better classrooms in
other facilities on campus.
4.a. Consultants’ recommendation – The dean should provide additional funds for
services and supplies, particularly for computer software and maintenance.
4.b. Dean’s response – The department’s services and supplies budget will be increased next year
by nearly $5,000. A portion of these dollars should be allocated to purchase computer software and
needed computer maintenance. In addition to receiving $3,000 in special project funds for lab
computers and another $3,000 award for being recognized as a “high performing department,”
$2,500 was added to the services and supplies budget by the college to cover further needs this fiscal
year. The dean will work with the program directors from both the graduate and the undergraduate
programs to explore ways in which the Psychology Lab could provide fee-for-service to the outside
community to generate self-sustaining dollars to meet further needs. Prospects for developing a
Center for Applied Research are being explored.
5.a. Consultants’ recommendation – The dean should provide funds for renewal of
Statistics Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) license.
5.b. Dean’s response – This need can be addressed similar to the above (item 4.b.
response). With the increased services and supplies dollars next year ($4,780) and
opportunity for Specialized Funds, a plan can be developed to cover this cost. Last year the
department experienced an inordinate amount of copying costs that used extensive services
and supplies dollars. Better management of then increased services and supplies funds for
fiscal year 1999-00 should provide for more resources for SPSS software.
The PRC consultants found that attempts have been made to address major concerns raised in the
1998-1999 program review, although it appears that student advisement is still a concern.
V. Program Review:
Program Strengths Source
1. A bulk of the instructors that teach within Student survey, key faculty
program are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, survey and follow-up survey
caring, responsive, and facilitate understanding
among the students.
2. The program is flexible with regard to course Self-report, student survey, and
selection options key instructor surveys
3. The program is a significant source of applicants Self-report and key instructor
to various graduate-level programs at UW-Stout survey
4. The program is highly focused on the Self-report, student survey and
development of applied research, writing and group key instructor surveys
work/discussion skills of its students
5. A broad range of coursework is offered which Self-report, key instructor
provides the students with a variety of theory as surveys and student surveys
well as skill-based applications
6. Students are involved with various faculty- Self-report and student survey
supported program-related extra curricular
activities which heighten the students’ level of
focus on the profession
7. Current and relevant information is provided Self-report, student survey and
by most of the key instructors in the program key instructor survey
Issues of Concern Source
1. A few faculty are viewed as lacking the Student survey and key
required background and/or teaching skills instructor survey
necessary to deliver the course content
2. The program advisory committee has not Self-report and advisory
been active for the past year (see Addendum) committee survey
3. The Psychology Department is in need of Self-report, student survey and
full-time faculty who are qualified to teach the advisory committee survey
numerous courses that the discipline covers
4. A moderate level of course overlap appears Student survey and within-the-
to exist among courses like Research Methods department key instructor survey
and Experimental Psychology
5. Concern exists with regard to the availability/ Student survey and within-the-
scheduling of program-related courses department key instructor survey
6. Students appear to be unclear in advisement Self-report and student survey
regarding career and higher education opportunities
Recommendations for the Program Director
1. It is recommended that the program director, in cooperation with the Psychology
Department, strengthen the current student advisement system of opportunities available to
them upon graduation. Many graduates will go on to graduate school and these students
should be made aware the on and off-campus graduate programs that would best fit with
their degrees and interests. Those students who don’t plan on going to graduate school (or
who, in effect, end up not going to graduate school) should be advised of the employment
opportunities that are open to them.
2. It is recommended that the program director continue to develop the importance of the
Program Advisory Committee and its relationship to the program. *
Recommendations for the Chair of the Psychology Department
1. It appears that the Psychology Department will see a number of retirements of full-time
tenure track faculty members in the short-term. It is therefore recommended that the
department chair develop a recruitment plan for the retirees’ positions as well as current part
time and adjunct instructors. The careful recruitment of a new generation of tenure track
faculty will ensure that the quality of Stout’s Psychology Department will not diminish.
2. It is recommended that the department chair, in concert with the department faculty,
should study and eliminate as needed, overlap of content in Research Methods and
3. It is recommended that the department chair, in scheduling courses, work with the key
program instructors as well as students to identify and reasonably alleviate any scheduling
conflicts for required courses.
4. It is recommended that the department chair continue efforts to assist current
faculty in the development/refinement of their teaching skills.
*Addendum – It should be noted that since the self-study was completed by the B.A. Psychology’s program
director, he did hold a Program Advisory Committee meeting to solicit feedback from academic as well as
non-academic professionals within the psychology field.