In Brief

An APA working group unveiled its suggested goals for infusing more international perspectives into the psychology undergraduate curriculum at a 2005 APA Annual Convention session.

The group devised the working goals as part of an American Council on Education (ACE) project to promote globalization of teaching and learning in U.S. higher education. APA and the Association of American Geographers, the American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association are contributing to the ACE-managed, Carnegie Corporation-funded effort.

The working group sought convention participants' feedback on the goals document, which it spent the past year creating. The document's framers said undergraduate psychology needs to ensure students understand culture's effects on people's behavior.

"It's inherent in our mission as psychologists to take an international perspective," explained working group member Neil Lutsky, PhD, of Carleton College. "There are reasons why that's particularly true now with immigration, communication, the death of distance....The world has changed."

What's more, psychology's research knowledge base is inherently international, noted Lutsky, who said the document can help faculty communicate that to their students. "We're trying to offer articulated justification to faculty to involve them in [internationalizing the psychology curriculum]," he said.

Abbreviated, the goals include:

  • Students should grasp sociocultural differences and commonalities among people and consider human behavior's diversity around the world.

  • Students should understand research methods and skills necessary for international research competence.

  • Students should know how psychology is developed, studied and applied in and across cultures.

  • Students should be able to apply their cultural understanding in ways that enhance their functioning in a complex, multicultural world.

  • Students should understand psychology's role in addressing global aspects of the human condition.

The goals also include learning outcomes to gauge how well students are meeting them.

The working goals document next goes to ACE and various APA international groups and boards and committees for review. Such APA groups recommended the working-group participants, who, besides Lutsky, include Judith Torney-Purta, PhD, of the University of Maryland, College Park; Richard Velayo, PhD, of Pace University; Val Whittlesey, PhD, of Kennesaw State University; Linda Woolf, PhD, of Webster University; and Maureen McCarthy, PhD, of APA.

--B. MURRAY LAW

Further Reading

For more information on the ACE project, visit www.acenet.edu.

For more information on the APA goals, contact Maureen McCarthy, PhD.