PSY 490 Seminar: Psychology of Helping

Instructor: Dr. Jon Mueller
Office: Goldspohn 16
Office Hours: 9:30-10:30 MWF
Phone: 637-5329




Course Goals

  1. primarily, that you further develop your ability to critically think about the nature of evidence and arguments from a scientific perspective;
  2. that you demonstrate understanding of a variety of concepts and issues within the psychology of helping;
  3. that your further develop your written and oral communication skills.


Two exams, a midterm and a final worth 100 points each, will be given on the dates listed on the course schedule. The exams are intended to test your understanding of the assigned readings and the material presented in lecture-discussion. Each exam will include a take-home component and an in-class component.

A research paper (approximately 8-15 typed, double-spaced pages) worth 100 points will be assigned during the term. More details are provided on the Assignments page.

You will submit journal reflections connecting your volunteering experience to course material. The journal is worth 60 points. More details are provided on the Assignments page.

I will also give you some very brief assignments that correspond with many of the readings. You will be asked to answer a few short questions prior to class to prepare for the in-class discussion. I will simply be looking to see if you put a "good faith effort" into answering the questions. If you did I will put a (+) on your paper; if not, I will give it a (-). If you receive at least 90% plusses you will receive 40 points. If you receive 80-90% plusses, you will earn 32 points. If you receive 70-80% plusses you will earn 24 points. If you receive 60-70% plusses you will earn 16 points. If you receive fewer than 60% plusses on the reading assignments you will earn 0 points. The reading assignments will be due by the beginning of that class period and must be typed.

To summarize, you can accumulate up to 400 points, and you will be graded on the following scale:

A = 93% 372 pts. and above excellent performance
A- = 90% 360 pts. and above
B+ = 87% 348 pts. and above very good performance
B = 83% 332 pts. and above
B- = 80% 320 pts. and above
C+ = 77% 308 pts. and above good performance
C = 73% 292 pts. and above
C- = 70% 280 pts. and above
D = 60% 240 pts. and above adequate performance
F = <60% under 240 pts. less than adequate


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