Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus

Social Sciences Department

CLP 1006

Psychology of Personal Effectiveness

Spring 2012

                                       Sec. 009 Class Meets M and W 8:30 PM – 9:45 PM RM 4102 Ref#: 666152

                                       Sec. 010 Class Meets T and Th  7:05 PM – 8:20 PM RM 6212 Ref#: 666153

Instructor: Robert E. Beneckson, M.S.

Office: 6206

Telephone: 305-237-2215


Office Hours: ½ hour before and after class, or by appointment


Catalogue Course Description:       

This is an applied psychology course which emphasizes the understanding of the principles of effective human behavior and their application to the areas of personal awareness, interpersonal relations, communication, and work/career development.

Pre-Requisites:                      None


Credits:                                  3 credits


Course Competencies: 


You will develop the following competencies:


Competency 1 – You Will Explore Theoretical Perspectives Regarding Personal Effectiveness by:


•  Describing an overview of the major theoretical approaches to personality and human behavior

•  Analyzing the theory of self-concept and the factors involved in its development, relating this to

personal behavior

•  Distinguishing the causes and characteristics of high and low self - esteem and the relationship of

these to behavior

•  Discovering the holistic nature of humankind including the cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual, and

physical influences on behavior


Competency 2 – You Will Learn to Manage Stress by:


•  Demonstrating knowledge of stress, its sources, and the physical, psychological, and behavioral


•  Applying effective stress management theory

•  Demonstrating effective self-management in the use of resources such as time, money, and personal



Competency 3 – You Will Understand the Theories of Healthy and Successful Relationships by:


•  Describing how these theories apply to family, friends, social groups, work teams, and culturally

diverse groups

•  Practicing effective verbal and nonverbal communication applying effective listening skills

•  Applying theories related to assertive behavior

•  Practicing conflict resolution skills and analyzing the process


Competency 4 – You Will Understand the Nature of The World by:


•  Exploring future occupational and academic trends

•  Using knowledge and skills of personal and interpersonal effectiveness to achieve career related goals

•  Valuing diversity in the workplace


Competency 5 – You Will Understand the Role of Personal Responsibility in Workplace Success by:


•  Describing the characteristics of effective employees and their response to performance assessment

and varying leadership styles

•  Demonstrating understanding of the necessity for policies and procedures in the workplace

•  Demonstrating knowledge of job satisfaction, including intrinsic and extrinsic work motivations

•  Describing factors which interfere with effective job performance such as alcohol and drug use; sexual

harassment; racial, gender, and age discrimination; and violations of the ethical and moral standards  


Learning Outcomes:

As a graduate of Miami Dade College, you will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively using listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
  2. Use quantitative analytical skills to evaluate and process numerical data.
  3. Solve problems using critical and creative thinking and scientific reasoning.
  4. Formulate strategies to locate, evaluate, and apply information.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse cultures, including global and historical perspectives.
  6. Create strategies that can be used to fulfill personal, civic, and social responsibilities.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of ethical thinking and its application to issues in society.
  8. Use computer and emerging technologies effectively.
  9. Demonstrate an appreciation for aesthetics and creative activities.
  10. Describe how natural systems function and recognize the impact of humans on the environment.


Textbook:   Abascal, Brucato, L., Stephenson, Brucato, D., Essential Elements for Effectiveness, A Step by Step Guide to Personal and Professional Success, Fourth Edition. Pearson. ISBN-13: 978-0-558-22143-0.


Grading Scale:  The course grade is determined by your total number of points acquired during the term:














Instructional Strategies and the Point System: This course will be taught through study of the textbook, lecture, video programs, and discussion.  You should read each chapter before the classroom lecture.  Class participation is very important.


Point System:

 There will be 2 exams, with multiple choice and/or essays. The highest exam grade will be counted twice, the lowest score once, for a total of three test scores. The actual points on the exams are your points on the multiple choice section plus any points on the essay questions.  For example, a student who gets a 75 on the multiple choice part of the test and 6 points on the essay would have 81 points for that exam.


 You are required to keep a journal of personal reflections applying the material from each chapter to real aspects of your life.  A minimum of 5 journals are required, but a total of 14 (one for each chapter) may be submitted.  Each of your journals is worth 1 point.  Journals are due at the next class following the completion of the lecture on the chapter the journal discusses.


You are required to participate in a small group or individual presentation based on a specific application of material from selected chapters.  The maximum for the class presentation is 10 points.  Presentations should be 15 minutes in length.


You will submit a paper analyzing your results from the online Five-Factor Personality Analysis taken at the beginning of the course.  This paper is worth a maximum of 10 points.  The grade is based on the quality of your analysis of the results of the test.  This will be explained in detail at the first class meeting.

Your final grade in the course is based on the total of the 3 exam scores, points for the journals, points for the personality analysis, points for the class presentation, plus extra credit points when extra credit projects are approved, and class participation.  All mandatory assignments must be done or points will be subtracted for each missing assignment.  Extra credit points depend on the specific project, but generally are between 5 and 10 points.

Course Policies:


1.  Exams: The two exams will emphasize understanding and application of knowledge and discourage rote memorization.  There will be a review during the class session preceding the exam (please see course schedule below).  If you have a legitimate and documented reason for not taking an exam, you will be given a make-up exam.


2.  Attendance: Miami-Dade has an attendance policy, so I will take attendance at the beginning of every class period.  If you are late, it is your responsibility to ensure I know you were present. Please do not interrupt a lecture to let me know you are present. If you have three absences, you will be dropped from the course.  If you are dropped from the class, either by me or by the College for non-payment, you will not be allowed to attend class. You will not receive a grade nor will I accept assignments, papers, or exams from you. Class attendance will not count towards your grade.


3.  Class Presentation: Your class presentation will explore a topic of your choosing covered in the book (and approved by me), but will expand this topic beyond the textbook coverage.  You will do additional research and present material on this topic that will enhance the knowledge of your fellow students beyond the assigned reading.  This presentation will be 15 minutes in length and utilize PowerPoint, film, posters, or other means of presentation.  This is an opportunity to be creative.


4.  Readings/Assignments: Your best performance in this course requires familiarity with the textbook. Lectures will not cover all the material in the text. However, you are responsible for all reading materials assigned. You will also be responsible for the material covered in the class lectures.  You should read all assigned chapters before the class period.


5.  Extra Credit: Extra credit papers or presentations must first be discussed with me and cleared for relevance to the course.


6.  Conduct in the Classroom: Please turn off cell phones, MP 3 players, and laptop computers, unless you are taking notes on them.  If you disrupt the teaching/learning process or act in a disrespectful, threatening, or intimidating way toward your fellow students or me, you will be asked to leave the class. If you refuse, I will call Campus Security and you will be referred to the Dean of Students.


7.  Assignments will be turned in at the beginning of the class period.  Late assignments will not be accepted.


8.  Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in class until the completion of the class period. If you have a legitimate reason to leave early, you must clear it with me at the beginning of class.  You are responsible for information provided in class, even if you are not in attendance.


Academic Integrity:


All students are expected to meet the College’s academic conduct standards. Acts of academic misconduct, including cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation, and facilitating academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Students. Students caught plagiarizing will be charged with misconduct charges. For more information on these standards, refer to the Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook at:


Access Disability Services:

Students with documented disabilities should contact ACCESS Disability Services in advance for information and for obtaining assistance. No retroactive accommodations can be provided. The ACCESS department is located in Room 2121 at the Kendall Campus. They may be reached at (305) 237-2767


Course Outline and Schedule


1-9, 1-10-12    – Introductions

                 Discussion of Syllabus

                 Lecture: Chapter 1: A Reality Check 

                 Reading Assignment: Chapters 1 and 2


Online Personality Test                                        


1-11, 1-12-12 - Personality Analysis Due  

                         Presentations Assigned       


1-23, 1-24-12 – Lecture: Chapter 2: Making Positive Choices

                 Presentation Choices Submitted

                 Reading Assignment: Chapters 3 and 4


2-1, 2-2-12 -  Lecture: Chapter 3: Experiencing Positive Emotions

                      Chapter 4: Learning to Accept Yourself         

                      Journal Chapter 1 due

                      Reading Assignment: Chapters 5 and 6


2-15, 2-16-12 – Lecture: Chapter 5: Understanding Stress

                 Chapter 6: Developing Wellness Skills


                 Journals Chapters 2 and 3 due

                 Reading Assignment: Chapters 7, 8, and 9


2-29, 3-1-12 – Lecture: Chapter 7: Creating a Meaningful Vision                              

                             Chapter 8: Managing Yourself in Time

               Journals Chapters 4, 5, and 6 due

               Review for Exam One


3-19, 3-20-12 - Exam One 

                Lecture: Chapter 9: Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

                Journals Chapters 7 and 8 due

                Reading Assignment: Chapter 10


3-21, 3-22-12 – Lecture: Chapter 10: Building Effective Communication Skills


     Journal Chapter 9 due

     Exam One Grades Posted

     Reading Assignment: Chapter 11


3-28, 3-29-12 – Lecture Chapter 11: Establishing Positive Relationships


                Journal Chapter 10 due

                Reading Assignment: Chapters 12 and 13


4-9, 4-10-12 – Lecture Chapter 12: Knowing the Workplace                                              

                              Chapter 13: Designing Your Own Career


                 Journal Chapter 11 due

                 Reading Assignment: Chapter 14 


4-19, 4-19-12 – Lecture: Chapter 14: Applying Positive Psychology at Work


                Journals Chapters 12 and 13 due            

                Review for Final Exam


4-25, 4-26-12 - Final Exam

                Journal Chapter 14 due                                                        


Please, when you write your journals and papers, leave two spaces after the period between sentences.  Also, when using “quotation marks,” make sure that periods and commas are included within the “marks.”  This is proper English usage in writing.  Thank you.


Web Resources:


Here are some websites that discuss positive psychology: