What you learn in class — theory — is like opening a window onto the field of psychology. We want you to open the door and get out into the world so you can experience the human reality. There’s no substitute for it if you want to advance in understanding while you’re still in school.
It’s why many of our students opt for the Academic Service-Learning version of our Adolescent Psychology course. In this version of the course, students study human development from adolescence through maturity at New Haven’s Common Ground High School. There they work with Common Ground high schoolers, observing, first-hand, the maturing process and how peer and family influences affect these students’ emerging identities and their ability to adjust.
Common Ground is more than a high school. It’s also an urban farm and an environmental education center. What the students grow there, they eat for lunch. They also share a large portion of the harvest with low-income communities. This curriculum of regular academic classes combined with physical labor and social responsibility gives Common Ground students a unique, leadership-building learning experience. The learning experience is one-of-a-kind for University of New Haven students as well, as they see the methods that lead to successful outcomes in adolescents.
Research is a huge element in the study of psychology, and there’s no lack of it here at the University of New Haven. Our psychology students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members on thought-provoking research projects, digging down to the root causes of various mental problems. For example, through our SURF program — Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships — one student gathered data from a day reporting program for mentally ill offenders in New Haven. At the end of the fellowship, she wrote a paper on the relationship between early substance abuse and treatment success among this population and presented it at a SURF conference.
Collaborating with faculty members is not just for the fortunate few. Many students partner with their instructors and go on to present papers through regional and national platforms — for instance, Eastern Psychological Association and American Psychological Association conferences.