PS341 Positive Psychology

for S1E 2013

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


PS 341 Positive Psychology


S1E 2013 PE


Jenkins, Christina E.


Adjunct Professor


M.A. Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, Pepperdine University
B.A. Public Relations, Pepperdine University

Office Location

Camp Pendleton campus

Office Hours

Anytime after the night of class or by appointment

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

1/14/13 - 3/10/13

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 10:25 PM


PS101 or Permission of Instructor

Credit Hours



Snyder, C.R., Lopez, S.J., & Pedrotti, J. (2010). Positive psychology, The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.                       

ISBN-10: 1412990629 or ISBN-13: 978-1412990622

 Ben-Shahar, T. (2009). Even happier : A gratitude journal for daily joy and lasting fulfillment. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.     

 ISBN-10: 0071638032 or ISBN-13: 978-0071638036 or $11.32 on (as of 12/12)


As this is an accelerated course, students will bring both texts with them the first night of class.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources: (American Psychological Association) (writing resource)


McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:

Welcome to one of the most encouraging and life-changing classes you may ever take!

Could you use a little more happiness in your life?  Positive Psychology is a newer branch of the psychology field that seeks to identify and promote more contentment, joy and fulfillment in life.  Students of this course will have the opportunity to study groundbreaking research and apply these principles as they learn.  This course is an appropriate elective not only for psychology majors, but human resources/management, criminal justice and all other majors seeking to understand and influence human behavior.




PS341 Positive Psychology PreRequisite:PS101 or permission of Instructor. - An exploration of scientific and applied approaches to identifying a persons strengths and promoting their positive functioning. The course will focus on human potential, emotional and cognitive processes that contribute to a persons well-being and that increase prosocial behavior and the ability to create positive environments. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

Research has proven that utilizing a variety of teaching techniques enhances learning, understanding and retention.  Consequently, this classroom atmosphere will be interactive and employ an assortment of learning methodology.  My personal goal will be to make the course content engaging in order to further the learning experience.  In a collaborative environment, there will be a frank exchange of ideas and learning from the literature as well as from one another’s unique set of experiences.  For this reason, class attendance and participation will be germane toward accomplishing class objectives. In turn, I will expect my students to be prepared, participating and providing input during class discussion.  I will set high expectations for myself and my students with relation to our performance and our professional behavior inside and outside of the classroom.  We will be required to interact with one another in an ethical and respectful manner.

Instructional Methodology

A variety of instructional methods will be used in this course - possibilities include: lectures, guest speakers, small and large group discussions, brainstorming, multi-media, role-play, debates, demonstrations, games, case studies, group activity projects, hands-on class participation activities and a variety of readings, as well as lab/field work and assignments to be completed outside of class. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine the history, intentions and scope of positive psychology. (Program Competency #1, 4)
  2. Analyze, synthesize, critically examine and evaluate positive psychology literature. (Program Competency #2, 4)
  3. Investigate, guided by the literature, what kinds of experiences fulfill people, what human characteristics lead to personal effectiveness and what social conditions appear to elicit these qualities and experiences. (Program Competency # 1, 2, 3, 4)
  4. Assess and evaluate one's own well-being, strengths and limitations. (Program Competency # 3, 6, 8)
  5. Apply positive psychology to important domains in one's life and in the lives of others. (Program Competency #1, 4, 7)
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of APA style. (Program Competency #1, 4, 7)

Core Assessment:
All Park University courses are required to include a Core Assessment in order to measure the specific Departmental Learning Outcomes for each course. The Core Assessment for PS 341 involves writing a 10-page research paper using empirical research and the APA format. The paper provides an opportunity to explore the important research in Positive Psychology and utilize the concepts and terminology for a perspective and application of this knowledge to your intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness and current and future prosocial behaviors. 

The length of the paper needs to be at least 10 pages of text with at least 10 references that support the areas of focus listed below. Each area of focus needs to have at least 1 empirical reference that supports your observations, is discussed critically, and relates to that particular area of focus. References need to be from empirical research journals. Textbooks, websites books and magazines are not to be used.

Paper needs to be organized using the Areas of Focus as section headings so the information can be easily identified.

Areas of Focus:

1. What major principles have you learned from the Positive Psychology course and according to the research why do you think these principles are important?

2. What changes do you notice in your emotional states, processes and experiences and according to the research why are these changes important?

3. What changes do you notice in your cognitive states and processes and according to the research why are these changes important?

4. Describe examples of how you are currently applying the information and what changes have you observed?

5. Describe your goals and plans for applying the information from the course in the future. (Include in your discussion how these goals and plans will build strengths in a multicultural environment.

6. How will you apply this information to prosocial behavior in your current workplace or future career to create a positive environment? What research supports these behaviors to be important?

  1. Within the concepts and terminology of Positive Psychology list and describe your challenges and obstacles.
  1. Within the framework of Positive Psychology what are your unanswered questions or areas where you question the validity of the information?

A good starting point is to examine the area(s) in your Positive Psychology textbook for references and researchers associated with your topic. The references in the back of the book are examples of APA citation. Use this format for the references you use in your paper.

The paper needs to be written in the APA style, e.g., title page, abstract, 1 inch margins, running heads, DS, proper reference format, etc. See the following websites for more information: or

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

1.    Positive Psychology Journal: Each student will purchase Even Happier, a journal to promote personal growth.  The regular entries will apply the theories, information learned, and experiences you have while participating in class.  Fifteen (15) topics will be chosen and completed in the journal itself.  Assigned online psychology assessments (taken for free at ) may count toward the 15 journal entries.  Journals will be handed in for periodic checks; only your instructor will read your personal journal.  

2.  Class Presentation of a Textbook Topic:  Each class, one student will give a brief and energetic synopsis of an assigned topic in the textbook.  To encourage dialogue, students will prepare three discussion questions, offer video and/or give real-life examples relating to the subject matter.

3.  Creative Project and Presentation:  This activity will practically apply a Positive Psychology principle by incorporating class learning into a creative project (with instructor approval).   The project will be completed by the 4th week of class, and a 2-page write-up on the experience will be submitted in the Drop Box.  On the last night of class, a presentation with PowerPoint or presentation board will be given. Possibilities include:

·       A volunteer or service project of your choosing (this activity is really effective when a group from the class participates together)

·       A class demonstration

·       Design a t-shirt, poster, banner, button, hat, or collage promoting the principles of the course

·       (Your own creative idea)


4.   Core Assessment Paper:  The purpose of the paper is for students to research assigned topics relevant to the Positive Psychology discipline.  Sections of the paper will be due at intervals during the semester.  The completed papers will be submitted in the Drop Box the 7th week of class.

5.   Exam/Quizzes: The tests will primarily be multiple-choice questions with potentially short-response essay questions. There may be a possibility of an exam section to be completed outside of class.  Test will be broken down into periodic quizzes.

6.     Instructor Evaluation/Participation and Preparation: ? Each student will be assessed on his/her contribution to the lectures, discussion, debates, and class time activities. ?In addition, course notes found in eCompanion will need to be printed out and brought to class each week as well as other requested materials.? Attendance (students who do not make contact with instructor prior to class will be given an unexcused absence). In addition, student will lose all participation points for an unexcused absence.? In the case of an excused absence, students will receive partial credit by completed a small, make-up assignment designated by the instructor.



The final course grade will be determined using the following measurements:

Item / Assignment


1.  Positive Psychology Journal (12%)

(Any 15 entries of your choice- worth 8 pts./entry)


2.  Class Presentation on Section from the Text (5%)


 3.  Creative Project (19% Total):

Write Up (9%)

Presentation (10%)


4.  Core Assessment Paper (24%)


5.  Exam/Quizzes (20%)

Periodic quizzes worth 50 points each


6. Participation and Preparation (20%)

8 wks. x 25 pts. =  200 pts.


Total Points Possible









1000 - 900



899 - 800



799 - 700



699 - 600



Less than 600



RUBRIC for the Core Assessment Paper

 240 points possible; below is the basic outline for the Term Paper.  

1.  Formatting (40 points total):

Formatting within Paper: APA Format utilized and followed- 20 points

• Title Page- 4 points

·       Title: Capitals, informative, concise?

·       Author, institution, and date?

·       Page header and page numbers (on every page)?

·       No Abstracts please

• Body of paper- 16 points

 Reference Page -20 points

References used within the text are cited on the reference page and consistency in how you have cited the references. In addition, if the reference is used in the paper there should be a listing in the Reference Page and vice versa. 

 2. Body of Paper: (160 points total)

·       Utilize college-level, professional writing.  This includes, but is not limited to, the use of complete sentences, clear topic statements and supporting sentences, research or evidenced based rationales instead of unsupported opinions, transition sentences across paragraphs, integrating information from multiple sources, demonstrating multiple applications of critical thinking, and a concluding paragraph.

·       Main Points equally discussed; smooth transitions between points; convincing arguments made; points supported with citations.

·       References cited within text; properly cited.

·       All points addressed and answered from Term Paper Instructions (listed above).

The following Subtitles can be used to organize the 8 questions:

1.     Major Principles of Positive Psychology

2.     Personal Emotional Changes due to Research

3.     Personal Cognitive Changes due to Research

4.      Personal Application of Positive Psychology

5.     Future Plan to Impact the Social Environment

6.     Creating a Positive Environment in the Workplace

7.     Challenges and Obstacles Hindering Application 

8.     Unanswered Questions or Skepticism of the Research

3. Length of overall paper. (15 points total):

The paper should be between 10-12 pages in length (plus Title and Reference pages).

4. Spelling and Grammar. (20 points total)

       Correct tense

       Noun-verb agreement;?noun-pronoun agreement?

       Grammar/Spelling/Typing errors?




5.  Hard Copy provided to class. (5 points)  Due: Class #7.

A note on term papers: Do not plagiarize. The Internet makes it very easy to plagiarize, but it makes it even easier to check for plagiarism. All papers that use more than 5 consecutive words from a published source (including the internet) or from another person’s paper without enclosing them in quotation marks and providing accurate citation for the original source will receive a semester grade of "F” for the course and will be turned over to park university administration for further disciplinary action, which may include permanent expulsion from park university. Plagiarism is not limited to verbatim copying (see Park University catalog for definition and details).

*Those students who attend and participate in all classes will be awarded an extra 10 points to the overall course grade.

EXTRA CREDIT:  Weeks 7 and 8, you will receive an invitation online to evaluate this course.  Print out the last page, which says "thank you."  Sign and date it and turn it in.  You will receive 3 points of extra credit.


Late Submission of Course Materials:

Generally, I will not accept late assignments.  If there is a reason you will not be able to submit your work on time, you must communicate with me at least 24 hours in advance otherwise there will be an automatic 50% deduction. It is up to the instructor whether or not to render an extension. Please note that if an extension is given, 10% per each day past original due date will be deducted.  After the fourth day late, it will receive a zero. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Phone/Pagers: These items are to be placed in the silent, vibrate, or off mode during class. Use of these devices in class (e.g., text messaging) is both rude and disrespectful. 

Be Respectful (both inside and outside of the actual classroom): As a student in this class, you should know upfront that you will encounter new ideas, topics, images and discussions, which may challenge your worldview. Some students may find this information personally offensive, uncomfortable, distasteful, or upsetting. Because the field of psychology addresses positive, neutral and negative aspects of human and animal behavior, we will discuss a broad range of topics that may not be pleasant for everyone. Please be respectful to your classmates and your instructor. Debates on relevant issues are encouraged, however no one should engage in personal attacks inside or outside of the classroom.

Email policy: Unless I am sick or out of town, I will usually respond to emails within a 24-48 hour period (Mondays-Fridays) when classes are in session.  During the weekdays I do not make this guarantee on the weekends, when I’m ill, or over holidays.  Please, do not be surprised or upset if you do not receive an immediate response to your emails. 

When sending an email to me you need to include your first and last name, and the course name.  Your email must be used to ensure I receive your communication; otherwise, I am not responsible for emails lost to the Park’s email spam filter.

Attendance Policy: [This is supplemental to Park University’s standard attendance policy.].  Students are expected to attend all classes.  As a reward, students with 0 absences (regardless of the type of absence i.e., excused vs. unexcused) will earn an addition 20 points toward their total course points.

Obtaining lecture notes for missed classes is the responsibility of the student, meaning contacting a fellow classmate for the notes/materials missed. If you know in advance that you will miss class please notify the professor immediately.  Ideally any missed work is completed in advance of the due date.

Drop Policy: In compliance with Park University’s policy, students will be dropped from the course after two consecutive unexcused absences.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

 Our course follows the general schedule in the table below.  Schedule may be updated or altered at any time. 

 Wed. /Week

Reading Assignment


  Assignments and   Due Dates

Week 1

Thurs.  1/17

Class Intro & Syllabus

Chapters 1 & 3

Personal Journal

Week 2

Thurs. 1/24

Ch. 3, 5 & 11

Positive Life Stages & Altruism               

Chapters 5 & 11

 Student Presentation(s)

Personal Journal


Week 3

Thurs. 1/31

Ch. 6 & 7

Emotional States: Chapters 6 & 7

Student Presentation(s)

Identify Creative Assignment Subject; Personal Journal

Week 4

Tues. 2/7

Ch. 8 & 10

Cognitive States: Chapters 8 & 10

Student Presentation(s)


Personal Journal

Week 5

Thurs. 2/14

Ch. 9 & 10

Love and Work:   Chapters 12 & 16

Student Presentation(s)


Personal Journal

Week 6

Thurs. 2/21

Ch. 13 & 17

Positive Mental Health & Communities:      

Chapters 13 & 17


Student Presentation(s)

Study for Final Exam; Personal Journal



Week 7

Thurs. 2/28

Exam and Possible Guest Speaker

  Completed Core Assessment Due Tues. 3/5 NLT 1159 pm PST


Week 8

Thurs. 3/7


 Creative Project Student Presentations


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:



CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Analysis & Evaluation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 - Areas of Focus 1, 2, 3, 7, 8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Each Area of Focus includes positive psychology concepts, support from at least two different empirical research sources that are critically examined, and the discussion reflects a depth of understanding of the research and how it relates to that particular Area of Focus. Each Area of Focus includes positive psychology concepts, support from 1 empirical research source that is critically examined, and the discussion reflects a depth of understanding of the research and how it relates to that particular Area of Focus. Each Area of Focus includes positive psychology concepts, support from empirical research sources, but the information is reported and not critically examined and does not reflect an understanding of the research and how it relates to that particular Area of Focus.  
Outcomes 2, 3, 5 - Areas of Focus 4, 5, 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Each Area of Focus is supported with personal observations, positive psychology concepts with an application of at least two different empirical research articles. Each Area of Focus is supported with personal observations and positive psychology concepts with an application of one empirical research article. Areas of Focus lack substantial support from personal observations and positive psychology concepts. Empirical research is minimally applied or not applied to all Areas of Focus.  
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Outcome 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Artifact displays professional writing and utilizes correct APA format.  More than 10 empirical sources in the paper. Professional writing displayed and APA format is generally followed (1 error: cover page, abstract, running head, internal citations, headings, references, etc).  10 empirical sources. Professional writing problems (e.g., excessive quoting, lack of proofreading, informal language, lack of organization) and/or 2 or more APA errors: cover page, abstract, running head, internal citations, headings, references, etc.) or less than 10 empirical sources.  


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Last Updated:12/15/2012 12:28:51 AM