CLP 1006 - Psychology of Personal Effectiveness

Department of Social Science

Miami-Dade College Logo





Course Title:

   Psychology of Personal Effectiveness


   Spring 2008


   CLP 1006




M-W-F 11:00am – 11:50am : M-F 12:00pm -1:15pm

T-R 11:15am - 12:30pm : T-R 12:40pm – 1:55pm : T 5:40pm-8:10pm  


Professor: Eric Belokon Ph.D., Psy.D. 

Department : Social Science - Building 3 – 5th Floor                              

Office: Bldg 3 -- Rm 3506-8: Hrs: MF 1:25-1:55pm & W 12 – 1:20pm & TR 2-5:40pm Phone: (305) 237-3185

Email: ebelokon@mdc.edu

Course Description: This is an applied psychology course that places emphasis on the understanding of principles of effective human behavior and their application in the areas of personal awareness, interpersonal relations, communications, and work/career.       CLP 1006 is a required course for the Associate of Science degree.

Course Objectives (NOTE: See attached Course Competencies).

  • Define and describe essential psychological theories and principles
  • Describe principles of psychology as they relate to cognitive and social processes
  • Utilize psychological principles as an aid to understanding behavior
  • Explain the role of psychology as it relates to mental health and wellness

Course Methodology: (lecture and discussion, observation, group activities, audiovisual presentations, readings, individual investigation and guest speakers, etc.).

Course content will be presented through assigned text and supplementary reading, classroom lecture and discussion, demonstrations, and a term project. Students' views and opinions are encouraged and are considered refreshing addition to the class format.  However, disrespect will not be tolerated. You are ultimately responsible for your performance and its results.  By reading and studying, often moving ahead of the pace of the class because we may not be able to cover all that is projected, you will be at a great advantage in maximizing your chances for an excellent grade. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that you purchase a textbook as soon as possible and begin studying on your own where the full responsibility for your academic success ultimately lies. 

Textbook/Resources/Supplies:  Essential Elements for Effectiveness – 3rd edition

      Juan Abascal, Laurel Brucato,

      Patricia Stephenson, Dominic Brucato

                                                      Pearson Custom Publishing

                                                      ISBN: 0-536-20201-X


Supplemental Texts: may be suggested during the course


Grading Criteria: Attendance/Participation = 10%; Quizzes = 10%; Homework = 20%:

Project(s) = 20%; Exams = 40%


Grading Scale  Your final grade will be determined as follows:

A = 90 - 100 points     excellent; superior      

B = 80 - 89 points       good

C = 70 - 79 points       average

D = 60 - 69 points       just passing     

F = below 60 points   unacceptable for course credit


Grades: At the end of the term, each student enrolled in the course will receive a grade of A, B, C, D, F, I, or W. The W grade indicates that you decided to "drop" the course or were dropped from the course by the instructor.  It is the student's responsibility to officially withdraw from this course.  If you decide to drop the course you must do so before the deadline.


Incomplete grade: A grade of I indicates that, for some reason, it is impossible to assign a final letter grade.  If a student receives a grade of I they will have 30 days from the start of the next regular semester to make-up any necessary course work so a different grade can be assigned.  If a grade of I is not removed by the end of the required time limit, the I will become a grade of F.


Drop/Withdrawal - is the responsibility of the student but it may be beneficial to first consult with the professor.  However, it is the responsibility of the student to fill out an official withdrawal form with the Registrar’s office.  If the student does not officially withdraw, s/he may receive an “F” in the course.

  Course Requirements:



Week 1. Reality is All in Your Head (chapter 1)

Week 2: The Choice is Yours (chapter 2)

Week 3: Love Who You Are (chapter 3)

Week 4:  * Exam 1: Understanding Stress (chapter 4)

Week 5: The Art of Coping Gracefully (chapter 5)

Week 6:  Creating a Vision (chapter 6)

Week 7:  * Exam 2: Manage Yourself in Time (chapter 7):

Week 8: Develop Your Emotional Intelligence (chapter 8)

Week 9: Listening Skills (chapter 9) 

Week 10: Communicating Effectively (chapter 10)

Week 11: * Exam 3: Know the Work Place (chapter 11)

Week 12: Design Your Own Career (chapter 12)

Week 13: Be people Smart (chapter 13)

Week 14: Make Work Fun (chapter 14)

Week 15: Project(s) are due

Week 16: Final Exam


For each chapter you are should do the following:


Read the textbook chapter, organize your notes, communicate with your classmates and instructor, quiz yourself with matching, fill-in-the-blank, and true false questions to immediately reinforce your learning, and provide guidance for further study, check your progress, customize the course materials to fit your study habits. You should work at a pace that allows you to complete each chapter in accordance with the time frame listed in the Course Outline. The student is accountable for all assigned reading. In order to foster critical thinking and promote “deep learning” as it is an active process, participation via questioning and discussion is required to, and it is also a part of your grade.



Exams: There will be four exams and pop quizzes. Both the exams and quizzes will primarily consist of multiple choice questions, though may also include fill in the blanks, matching, true and false items, and short essays. Make sure that for every exam you have a scantron and a #2 pencil for every exam. All tests are closed book tests. During the class session prior to a unit test (and the final exam) students will be given the opportunity to review for the test.



Homework:  Will be assigned after each session

Extra-credit: in extreme and legitimate circumstances may be obtained in this course by completing additional research projects.



Research Project: All topics must be approved by the instructor.

The options to choose from to satisfy this requirement include;


a. The course term paper/presentation - is an in-depth research on a pre-approved topic in the area of Positive Psychology. The topic you have selected is yours to develop and present in an informative manner (be creative and dynamic – i.e., PowerPoint format) to the class for about 15 to 20 minutes.


For the course term project, you will write an essay in which you present your own Personal Philosophy of Success. The purpose of your essay is to define the success strategies that you will use for years to come. This is an opportunity for you to develop self discipline and awaken the motivation within. This essay is your chance to write the script that will keep you on course to a rich, and personally fulfilling life! 


To prevent the student from waiting until the last minute and assuring the best possibility of obtaining an excellent grade, it is her/his responsibility to present pages of the paper to the instructor at the specified classes. Feedback will be offered to improve the paper and prepare for its final product by the end of the term. Your sources are to be only from the professional literature (journals) and professional books. Cite all sources in the body of the paper in APA citation style, with an APA style References page at the end of paper containing professional journal references and other sources. Do not quote from your source, but simply put in your own words and cite the reference.  While quality of content and writing is most important, the paper should be a minimum of 1500 words. That is somewhere between 5 to 7 pages (double spaced). Use Arial or New Times Roman 12 point fonts only, double space between lines, and with 1 inch margin on all 4 sides. This is an opportunity for you to dig into a topic area that interests you and really learn what is known (or not) about it. Moreover, this is an opportunity for you to develop self discipline and awaken the motivation within. Ultimately, this essay is your chance to write the script that will keep you on course to a rich, and personally fulfilling life! 


   An “A” paper will

1)      Demonstrate writer’s careful consideration of three or more important success strategies

2)      Contain extensive support (examples, experiences, evidence, and/or explanation) for each strategy, and

3)      Show a commitment to excellence in preparation, including professional appearance and a command of standard English.










b. Journal - you are required to keep a journal for the entire semester.  Each week, you are responsible for recording at least two journal entries (could be more) relative to the content of the course that has been discussed in class, from your readings, videos, and other supplementary materials. Consider the following when working on your entries: 

1) What are the major concepts learned?  & 2) How will you apply them personally?   Your journal should be headed with the date for each week’s entries so that when being evaluated, it is clear that there are at least two entries for each week.  You may choose to write brief essays, use poetry, clippings and articles to support but not take the place of your entries.  You can include pictures, use puzzles, art, or any other creative format to help clarify or solidify your opinions relative to the entries.  At the end of the semester, you should be able to browse through your entire journal and gain a clear picture of how much you have learned and the manner in which you have applied the knowledge gained.  It is best to use a three-ring binder or any other binder with a flexible cover that is adequate to hold all the content of your journal, so plan ahead.  Notepads, notebooks, and diaries are not allowed.  Please keep in mind that this is an academic requirement and it must be presentable, attractive, creative in some way, and contain adequate content.  All entries should be typed and dated appropriately.  You can move at your own pace with the entries but to avoid falling behind with your work, it is highly suggested that you attempt to keep up with the required work and deadlines.  Occasionally, you may be asked to do a particular assignment and include it as part of your entries.  Complete details will be given concerning the format and content required for these specific assignments.  Each journal entry must be typed and should be no less than one page in length.  Your grade will be evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively, so a high standard of work is expected. It is recommended that you respond in an elaborate fashion, with detailed explanations, specific examples, and with emphasis on practical application of the material.  All entries should reflect your thoughts and opinions relative to the application of course content and you are urged to use the language of the course in writing your entries.  Your grade will depend largely on your ability to make practical application of course content, your appropriate use of the course language and creativity.

















c. Group Presentation/Research Paper


The topic you have selected is yours to develop and present as you may desire as a group.  Students are advised to work cooperatively as a group to achieve a common goal – a successful presentation.  This is also a learning experience and you are urged to actively participate in this process.  While there are some setbacks to group work, there are many advantages:

  • It develops cooperation and planning skills
  • It encourages leadership and active participation
  • It leads to better relationships within the class
  • It prepares students for the real world


1) Forming groups - individuals will be assigned on a random basis.  Members are not chosen by me or anyone else but from a fair and balanced process.  It is then up to the members of the group to select (if they so choose) one individual who will be the coordinator.  This individual ensures effective functioning of the group by leading meetings, facilitating discussion, guiding the synthesis of ideas, and facilitating the presentation.  The group coordinator is also responsible for keeping me informed of progress and any problems in the group.  The quality of the leadership by the coordinator will be considered in the final grade of each person who serves in that role: a good job will help; irresponsibility will hurt. However, everyone should try and have an even and fair share of workload. 


2) Group Presentation – A Description -The objective of this group activity is to create a discourse about ideas within the group and to provide interesting insights into the topic for the rest of the class.  Therefore, you must give a brief historical background of your topic, current information and future trends related to the topic.  All sources used must be no earlier than 2000.  A minimum of three sources is required for each section of the topic assigned to each person.  Hence, if a member is responsible for discussing the historical aspect of a particular topic, that person must use at least three sources.  Out of those three sources, one must be a book, one internet resource, and the other from a magazine/journal, or one book and two internet resources, whichever is applicable.  For the written portion of your research see the Section on the

 - The course term paper/presentation – and submit a 5 to 7 page report.


 3) Assessment of Group members

The day of the group presentation, each individual will submit separately and confidentially: A one page commentary on the contribution of others in the group to the group’s success (e.g., quality of commentaries, attendance at group meetings, effort, effectiveness, leadership, creativity, cooperation).


 * In Case of Non-cooperative Behavior - If, it becomes evident, that any member of a group fails to participate sufficiently and constructively, s/he will be dropped from the group and will be required to do an enhanced project on their own.  If a group as a whole seems to be dysfunctional, the group will be disbanded and each member will be required to do an enhanced project on their own.  I strongly suggest that members work diligently at cohesiveness and functionality.


d. Group Booklet


This is a group project and can be done in groups of five or six persons. You are required to conduct research on your topic based on approval by the instructor and create a brochure: 4-6 pages minimum.  (Remember to cite sources at the back of your brochure).


Create a brochure for a Community Center or Agency in your neighborhood.  Imagine that you want to inform people about an important topic related to Psychology and significant issues in our community/environment.  For example, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Coping with HIV/AIDS, Stress, Personality Disorder, Surviving College, etc.


Students are encouraged to be creative – use colors, vary the font, match carefully what you are writing with the overall appearance of the brochure to make it as eye-catching as possible - you want to get people’s attention!


The objective of this assignment is to help you become familiar with psychological research, remain informed about current issues that affect many of us psychologically, share your knowledge with others, and help to empower others with the information you have acquired.  There are many individuals in our communities who are uninformed and this ignorance leads them into a downward spiral, from which often they are unable to escape or receive help.  By focusing on diverse groups within our communities, we can help to bring about change and offer hope. 


Names                                                              Contact


_________________________________        ___________________________________


_________________________________        ___________________________________


_________________________________        ___________________________________


_________________________________        ___________________________________


_________________________________        ___________________________________


_________________________________        ___________________________________


If students provide an exceptional project, it might be conferred with the Dean of Students and Chairperson of Social Science department for permission to have the information printed and distributed/displayed across the campus for the benefit of other students and anyone else who might be interested.






e. Video Production


Students may choose to form a project team (no more than 5 students) for the purpose of planning, organizing, and producing a video related to the course content.  This project may have a special interest to those students with access to video equipment, an interest in journalism, audio-visual, movie production, or as a learning activity.


Students must be prepared to present their project to the class on the scheduled date assigned by the instructor.  Also, be prepared to answer any questions the class may have concerning the video – its contents, goals, and motive/s.


On the day of the presentation, the group must submit one written report expressing why they chose that particular topic/issue, what is their objective/goal, and their personal opinion/feelings about the overall project.  The written report must be at least three pages in length, typed, double spaced, and font size no larger than 12.


The video must not exceed 30 minutes.  The video will be assessed on content, scope, clarity, creativity, and application of course content.




 Interested students should sign in the spaces below:


______________________________          ________________________________


______________________________          ________________________________


______________________________          ________________________________


______________________________          ________________________________




f. A Book Review – a written evaluation of a particular non-fiction work focusing on a topic of personal development. It takes the form of an essay. It is done after careful reading, note-taking, and analysis of what the author is trying to convey. Provide a thorough description of the work, author’s perspectives, your position, and your opinion of the whole work. Remember, you cannot praise or condemn without proof, explain your personal reactions. See the Section on the - The course term paper/presentation to guide you with the required format. 







Assignments – must be turned in on time. No late assignments will be accepted, unless approved by the instructor on a case-by-case basis, and only for extreme emergencies. All written reports for the research projects are to be submitted three weeks prior to the end of the semester.   


All assignments must be typed and adhere to the following:

a)    Appropriate heading: A cover page to include

            Student name – Course Days and Time of class - Date - Title of Assignment

b)      All pages must be neat (No rip-outs, jagged edges, etc.

      Multiple pages must be stapled or paper-clipped.

c)   All margins observed (1” on all four sides of the page).

      Font size #12 only, double –spaced and Times Roman font style only.

d)   Satisfactory content and correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, etc         Multiple pages must be stapled or paper-clipped.


Failure to adhere to the above instructions will result in a deduction of 10 points per assignment; therefore, I encourage you to do your best on the first attempt.  With each assignment, you will be given complete instructions about the format and requirements.



Learning Resources - There are a variety of resources on campus available for students whose first language is not English, or those who have difficulty with writing assignments.  The Writing Center is located in Rm. 2201 and there are a number of tutors available for individual help in other areas as well.  Please make use of these resources since this will increase your chances of getting a good grade in the course.



Special Needs - Students with disabilities can contact the ACCESS Department located in Building 1, Room 1180.  Students must present documentation from ACCESS to the instructor, informing of their specific needs.  ACCESS students are allowed to be accompanied by a note-taker or language interpreter, depending on the particular need.  Students who do not qualify for ACCESS but have difficulty keeping up with class notes may use a tape recorder to assist them in retention and retrieval of the material.


Visitors in the classroom


In order to maintain an appropriate learning environment, only individuals who are officially registered will be allowed in the classroom. Any special arrangement must be made in advance with the instructor.










Students are also expected to abide by the college’s Code of Conduct, as described in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities – (See web link provided below)





Listed here are general guidelines for student behavior


* Attendance:  MDC guidelines and standards are followed. Attendance will be taken during each class meeting by passing a sheet of paper around the classroom that has the name of each student currently enrolled in the course printed on it.  Those students who sign the attendance sheet in the appropriate place will be recorded as present for that class session. Each student will be allowed to miss three class hours.  Absences over three classes may result in a student being "dropped" from the course.

Occasionally a prolonged absence from class may be unavoidable due to illness, family emergency, and so forth.  If you will have to miss three or more consecutive class hours, please notify the instructor as soon as possible.  If you do not notify the instructor about a prolonged absence you may be dropped from the course after you miss the third class hour.


NOTE: Absence from a class meeting does not exempt you from any class work that is due during the time you are absent. Students who absolutely must miss a class should call the instructor and leave a message prior to the class they are going to miss, or as soon as they can get to a telephone in case of an emergency. 


*Academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, and any other misrepresentation of work) is a major violation of MDC Disciplinary Policies and Procedures and will not be tolerated. Students involved in any form of academic dishonesty will face disciplinary sanctions (may include termination from a program) according to MDC’s Disciplinary Policies and Procedures. Disciplinary sanctions may include termination from a program. Please familiarize yourself with MDC’s General Policies and Procedures Manual” 


Academic dishonesty includes such features as:

a)      Cheating on an examination.

b)      Plagiarizing – taking and passing off as one’s own the ideas, writings, or work of another without citing the sources.

c)      Falsifying records.

d)      Submitting work from another course without permission by the instructor.

e)      Assisting anyone to do any of the above.


  • In General, student is to refrain from engaging in behaviors that most people consider inappropriate, insolent, and challenging. (i.e., reading newspapers or magazines in class, doing work from another course during class, passing notes or playing games, walking in late and passing in front of the instructor).  Students who come early are asked to sit at the front or nearby and leave the back rows of the classroom for those who might be late, in order to avoid students having to walk in front of the instructor while class is in session and minimize the disruption that may occur from time to time.  Let us be cooperative and avoid others feeling uncomfortable.
  • Students will, as much as is possible, avoid entering class late or leaving class early.  If it is necessary to leave a class early, please let the instructor know before the class session begins.
  • Considering that development of critical thinking and promotion of “deep learning” is a goal of the class, participation via questioning and discussion is required. Student is encouraged to prudently and respectfully express their comments, and avoid trivial pop psychology commentary. During lectures students will be taking notes and will raise their hand and wait to be acknowledged before speaking.  Students will avoid the temptation of whispering and creating a general distraction/nuisance during lectures. Participation via questioning and discussion is required to promote “deep learning” as it is an active process, and is a part of your grade.
  • Electronic devices for personal use such as cellular phone, headphones, Ipod, etc., should not be used in the classroom Students who fail to turn off their electronic devices prior to entering classroom will be asked to leave the room...
  • No make-up exams may be taken, unless a legitimate reason is provided and appropriate documentation is submitted, and if it is made-up before the test questions and answers are returned to students.  It is the student's responsibility to make any arrangements to make-up a test before the questions and answers are returned to students. 
  • Students will bring all necessary supplies for exams (i.e., paper, pen, pencil, scantron) with them to class. Test questions will be answered on machine scored answer sheets and a #2 pencil is recommended.



Personal Philosophy: What you believe, you will perceive, and then receive.


Personal mission: to empower you to optimize your natural capacity in improving the quality of your daily life and contribute to a betterment of the world.


*** Course requirements are subject to change by instructor as deemed appropriate to meet the needs of the program and the student. Students are responsible for information in the syllabus, and pertinent documentation and announcements made in the class whether or not you are present. “Yes, why not”, read this syllabus again.



General Education at MDC





Purpose: Through the academic disciplines and co-curricular activities, General Education provides multiple, varied, and intentional learning experiences to facilitate the acquisition of fundamental knowledge and skills and the development of attitudes that foster effective citizenship and life-long learning.


As graduates of Miami Dade College, students 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