PSY 490 Seminar: Psychology of Helping

Instructor: Dr. Jon Mueller
Office: WSC 118
Office Hours: Virtual TBA
Phone: 637-5329




Course Outcomes

  1. Think critically about the nature of evidence and arguments from a scientific perspective;
  2. Describe and explain a variety of concepts and issues within the psychology of helping;

This course also fufills the Writing Intensive Cardinal Directions requirement. Thus, you are also expected to

3. Develop an iterative composition process, which includes invention, drafting, reviewing, and revising;

4. Through frequent formal and informal writing, you will:

  • use evidence from sources
  • convey arguments and main ideas

5. Communicate meaning effectively based on particular audiences, genres, and styles.


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. For each exam, the exam questions will be posted in Blackboard at 8:00am on the exam day. You will have until 11:59pm that day to submit your answers.

A literature review 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 be assigned 5 brief papers during the semester. You can rewrite 2 of the papers one time each. You can partner with another student on up to 2 of the 5 papers. Thus, you must complete at least 3 of the papers on your own. Each paper will be worth 20 points. More details are provided on the Assignments page.

I will also give you some very brief assignments that correspond with 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 11 plusses you will receive 40 points. If you receive 10 plusses you will earn 32 points. If you receive 9 plusses you will earn 24 points. If you receive 8 plusses you will earn 16 points. If you receive fewer than 8 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.

Participation will be required and graded. It will be worth 80 points. More details are provided on the Assignments page.

To summarize, you can accumulate up to 520 points, and you will be graded on the following scale:

A = 93% 483 pts. and above excellent performance
A- = 90% 468 pts. and above
B+ = 87% 452 pts. and above very good performance
B = 83% 431 pts. and above
B- = 80% 416 pts. and above
C+ = 77% 400 pts. and above good performance
C = 73% 379 pts. and above
C- = 70% 364 pts. and above
D = 60% 312 pts. and above adequate performance
F = <60% under 312 pts. less than adequate


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