Miami Dade CollegeKendall Campus

Social Sciences Department

SLS 1125

Preparing for Student Success

Spring 2011

 Class Meets T and R 8:30 PM to 9: 45 PM  Course # 633532 RM 6224


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 course provides a foundation for gaining knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for college success. Students will learn specific social, cultural, psychological, and academic considerations that are known to impact student achievement. Students will also assess their competence in each of these areas, and learn strategies that will improve their overall student effectiveness. (3 hr. lecture)


Credits:                                  3 credits


Course Competencies: 


Competency 1:  You will develop the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college by:



1.                   appraising your learning styles, personality traits and analyzing their impact on academic performance and success.

2.                   understanding the role of emotional intelligence and multiple intelligences in academic performance and success.

3.                   identifying and applying practices that promote successful learning, including effective skills for studying, reading, note-taking, test-taking, managing time, setting priorities, thinking critically and creatively, communicating, listening, and using internet and library resources.

4.                   applying methods for improving memory and retention, including dealing with mental blocks and forgetting, practicing mnemonics and other memory enhancing techniques, and increasing memory storage.

5.                   identifying effective methods for finding, identifying, integrating and synthesizing information.

6.                   applying techniques for effective test preparation for objective, short answer, and essay formats.

7.                   acquiring strategies for reducing test anxiety.

8.                   developing an educational plan to meet graduation requirements and the requirements needed for transfer to upper level institutions.

9.                   identifying resources available at the College for successful academic progress and lifelong learning.

10.               describing and applying the registration procedures including  degree audit, adding and dropping courses, official withdrawal policies, transcripts, and the Standards of Academic Progress.

Competency 2:  You will understand the relationship between attitudes, self-concept, values, motivation, and success by:


1.                    describing the role of taking personal responsibility in making changes necessary for success and achieving one’s goals. 

2.                    developing an awareness of personal values and belief systems, and the impact of values on decision making and overall success.

3.                    identifying the shaping influences on the self-concept.

4.                    understanding and applying critical thinking in decision-making.

5.                    implementing reframing and appropriate behavior changes.

6.                    recognizing self-defeating thoughts and exploring ways to modify negative cognitions.

7.                    identifying and using effective problem solving and conflict resolution skills.

8.                    identifying and using effective methods for managing emotions and anger.

9.                    exploring and applying knowledge about positive attitudes, taking initiative, motivation, industry, integrity, and ethical principles.




Competency 3: You will identify and develop effective interpersonal and multicultural skills by:                                                                        


1.                  identifying and applying effective interpersonal skills.

2.                  identifying positive strategies for developing and maintaining healthy and satisfying relationships.

3.                  developing strategies for working effectively with professors in and out of class.

4.                  identifying and applying effective leadership and time management skills.

5.                  developing cross-cultural awareness and skills for enhancing multicultural relations. 

6.                  developing awareness of and respect for the rights and dignity of every person.

7.                  analyzing contemporary issues within the context of global perspectives.

8.                  identifying ways of contributing  to a global community through the practices of civility, respect, and civic responsibility.




Competency 4: You will demonstrate an understanding of effective life management by:                                 


1.                  demonstrating the ability to think and react with flexibility.

2.                  understanding the existence of multiple perspectives and points of view.

3.                  cultivating a sense of meaning, balance, and purpose. 

4.                  understanding the different social and professional roles required within society and their relationships with authorities.

5.                  identifying the components of interdependence including mutual negotiation of needs, mutual empathy, and mutual investments in growth.

6.                  exploring and applying knowledge about health and wellness.

7.                  developing an understanding of and participating in service learning.

8.                  developing informational literacy and technology skills effectively.




Competency 5: You will demonstrate an understanding of the process of making appropriate career choices by:


1.                  describing the impact of personal interests, strengths, and values on academic program and career selection.   

2.                  matching knowledge about individual characteristics and abilities to information about job or career opportunities.

3.                  synthesizing information from self-assessments, career inventories, occupational inventories, and general career information acquired from various sources.

4.                  identifying preferred careers to select an academic program as part of a career plan.

5.                  identifying effective employability skills.


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.



Psychology of Success, 5th Edition
Denis  Waitley

Softcover,  400 pages

©2010, ISBN-13 9780073375175


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 9 (one for each chapter) may be submitted.  Each of your journals is worth 1 or 2  points.  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.


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.


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:

Course Outline and Schedule


1-4-1 – Introductions

                 Discussion of Syllabus

  Chapter 1. Psychology and Success

Section 1.1 Understanding Success
Section 1.2 Understanding Yourself


Online Personality Test                                        


1-6-11 – Ch 1 Continued

                 Presentation Choices Submitted


1-11-11    Personality Analysis Due         

Chapter 2. Self-Awareness

Section 2.1 Finding Your Direction
Section 2.2 Discovering Your Strengths

Chapter 3. Goals and Obstacles

Section 3.1 Setting and Achieving Goals
Section 3.2 Handling Stress and Anger

Chapter 4. Self-Esteem

Section 4.1 Understanding Self-Esteem
Section 4.2 Learning to Like Yourself

Chapter 5. Positive Thinking

Section 5.1 Becoming a Positive Thinker
Section 5.2 Conquering Negative Thoughts


3-3-11   MID TERM EXAM

Chapter 6. Self-Discipline

Section 6.1 Taking Control of Your Life
Section 6.2 Disciplining Your Thinking

Chapter 7. Self-Motivation

Section 7.1 Understanding Motivation
Section 7.2 Recharging Your Motivation

Chapter 8. Managing Your Resources

Section 8.1 Time Management
Section 8.2 Money Management

Chapter 9. Communication and Relationships

Section 9.1 Effective Communication
Section 9.2 Healthy Relationships



4-28-11 - Final Exam: 8:55 PM – 10:25 PM

WRITING STYLE:  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: