Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Proposal

Department or program: Psychology
Course number: 360
Number of credit: 3
Frequency of offering: Yearly (1 section of approximately 25 students)
Course title: Personnel Psychology
Catalog description: Analysis and review of applied psychology in the field of
work including personnel selection, performance evaluation, training, work-team
dynamics, supervisory leadership, employee motivation, human engineering, fatigue,
safety and physical working conditions.

Existing course previously approved by A2C2? Yes

New course proposal? No

University studies approval sought in: Unity and diversity: Science and social policy

Department contact: John Johanson, Ass’t Professor

Email address:


PSY 360—Personnel Psychology (3 s.h.)

Unity and Diversity: Science and Social Policy

Proposal and Rationale

Catalog Description

Analysis and review of applied psychology in the field of work including personnel selection, performance
evaluation, training, work-team dynamics, supervisory leadership, employee motivation, human engineering,
fatigue, safety and physical working conditions.

General Course and Proposal Information

Psychology 360 is being proposed as a "Unity and Diversity: Science and Social Policy" course. The intent of
PSY 360 is to provide students with an understanding of the role psychology can play in finding, training, and
retaining workers in an environment of complex legal, economic, and demographic changes.

Only PSY 210 (General Psychology) is a prerequisite for the course. It is designed for both psychology majors
and students of other departments with an interest in employment issues. It is normally taught every other semester
in a section of approximately 25 students. Depending upon the exact text used, topics generally include: job analysis,
personnel selection, personnel training, performance evaluation, and job (re)design (including factors intrinsic to the
job, the physical environment, and the social environment).


Specific Outcomes for USP Unity and Diversity: Science and Social Policy Course

Objective A: Understand the scientific foundation of the topic. As a science, some of the issues with which psychology
is primarily concerned include: the measurement of unseen human traits such as intelligence, conscientiousness, etc.; the
accurate prediction of human behavior; an understanding of how humans acquire, store, and retrieve knowledge; and the relationship of the individual to his/her physical and social environment.

PSY 360—Personnel Psychology directly applies knowledge of those "scientific topics" to workplace topics such as: the measurement of work-related personality traits, job performance, etc.; the accurate prediction of job performance, job
tenure, etc.; an understanding of how employee training can improve job knowledge and be successfully transferred to
improve job performance; and how individuals react to different types of jobs, different types of settings, and under
different types of social demands.


Objective B: Understand the social, ethical, historical, and/or political implications. The course includes an examination
of how the workplace is being impacted by social factors such as the changing demographics of the workforce, the rise in work-family conflict, and the changing nature of employment. It examines legal and ethical issues such as anti-discrimination
and other employment laws, the role of psychologists as advocates for management or labor, and the conflict between the "scientific" topic of the field versus the "applied" intent of the topic. It examines historical and political issues such as the industrial revolution and the rise of "scientific management," the civil rights movement and subsequent protection of a growing
list of minority groups, and the current technological/communications revolution.


Objective C: Understand and articulate the need to integrate issues of science with social policy. The course examines at
length the influence of legal and social policy on the workplace. Topics include personnel policy changes created by the
string of workplace legislation passed in the last 40 years, legislative definitions of such topics as "unfair discrimination" and sexual harassment, and the evolving judicial definitions and opinions regarding workplace legislation.


Objective D: Evaluate the various policy options relevant to the social dilemmas posed by the science. One of the most
central tenets of modern workplace legislation is the prohibition of "unfair discrimination" in the employment of certain
minority groups. The law does not proscribe, however, how "fair" employment decisions are to be made. The course
examines the strategy and impact of different attempts to avoid "unfair" employment decisions. Such topics include
top-down versus minimum competency-based employee selection, adverse impact versus disparate treatment definitions
of discrimination, different models to determine if selection systems are fair, the role and impact of affirmative action
policies, etc.


Objective E: Articulate, choose among, and defend various policy and/or scientific options to cope with the challenges
Students are expected to be able to discuss the "pros and cons" of the various employment-related practices
and definitions referenced in "D" above.


Course Description/Syllabus for PSY 360

On the following pages is a sample syllabus for PSY 360. The syllabus identifies the course as a USP Unity and Diversity: Science and Social Policy course, and it identifies the topics/activities that address each of the required course outcomes.