QC’s psychology department seeks to adjust major requirements

A newly uncovered curriculum proposal revealed that the psychology department has been considering dramatically changing its major requirements. According to an anonymous source at the Academic Senate, the proposal would adjust the performance requirements in several Gateway courses necessary to the completion of the major. Specifically, the minutes show a wording change in the description of the major, in which the “C” grade requirement is stricken and replaced with a “B-”. In addition, the requirement is narrowed from all courses taken for the major to core courses. Finally, the department’s proposal raised the minimum GPA required to remain a psychology major from 2.00 to 2.50. 

The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee requires that all proposals be submitted with justifications for the changes. The justification submitted by the psychology department addresses “disturbing trends” they have observed among students in the major. The Psychology professors wish to promote “excellence in the program” and in concluding their proposal, state that,  “we believe that these standards are necessary to ensure students achieve mastery and prepare them for their future endeavors beyond their graduation.”

Robin Tassler, psychology major of the class of 2022, expressed her support for the proposal, acknowledging that its intentions were in the right place: “For those students who plan on entering into the field of psychology, a policy with a passing grade of a C for foundational courses is doing them a disservice. In order to advance in the major, it makes more sense to have a passing grade that indicates at least somewhat mastery of the material.”

Jeff Beeler, chair of the psychology department, shed some light on the fate of the proposal. Speaking through email, Beeler reiterated that “the motivation is to ensure that students do well in this series of courses that build upon each other successively.” He revealed that the Offices of the Dean and the Provost had raised concerns regarding how many students would be affected and how [they] would address and help students affected by such a change; the figure cited by Beeler was “5% of our students”. For this reason, the proposal would be shelved until the feedback from the aforementioned offices could be reviewed and the proposal subsequently reevaluated. He reaffirmed that the ultimate goal of the department and its proposal is “to facilitate better student outcomes.”

Concluding his email, Beeler extended the following invitation to students in the psychology department: “As the new chair of the department, my goal is to facilitate more communication between students and us. This remains a goal, but has been severely hindered by COVID. If students have questions or concerns, they should feel free to reach out to the department at qc_psychology@qc.cuny.edu.”

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