Use top dropdown menu for all course syllabi.


Below you will find:

Contact Information

Office Info & Student Hours

My Teaching Philosophy

General Policies for All Courses

Student Resources

Contact Information

Email: ralph.hale@ung.edu

Note 1: Please use your UNG email address for email communications.

Note 2: Please do NOT use the D2L chat or email features to contact me.  

Note 3: Click here to learn more about writing professional emails.

Office Info & Hours

Office Location: Gainesville Campus, Strickland Building, Room 104

Student Hours for Spring 2024: MWF 11:00 - 12:00 pm, TR 9:30 - 11 am

Click here to schedule a time to meet!

If you need to meet outside these times, email me: ralph.hale@ung.edu

Teaching Philosophy

We start learning how to be a good teacher years before we are given a formal opportunity to do so. My entire life I have been a student. We learn from our parents, friends, family, and teachers. I continue to learn everyday--including from my students. We learn from the examples of others in our community, events on the news, and personal experiences. Like a sculptor chiseling a statue from marble, little by little these teachers shape who we become. It is due to the teachers before me that I have always felt so driven to follow in their footsteps. I learned the importance of being inquisitive. Accepting information as true without evaluating its source can lead to many unintended hindrances. I learned the value of treating each student with respect and dignity while providing quality instruction befitting the class for which that student is attending. My teachers over the years taught unintentionally as they demonstrated effective or ineffective instructional practices. The culmination of these lessons and experiences shaped my current teaching philosophy.


How do we ensure that we are “good” teachers? What is a “good” class? These are arguably two ways of asking the same question. In my opinion, a good class is one that is effective, enjoyable, and memorable. A good class is also one that is organized and fair. If I think back to classes that fit this bill, they all tended to have a few characteristics in common. First, a good class has a positive atmosphere. This is a classroom where everyone is respectful of everyone else while also encouraged to contribute and interact. Humor and approachability on behalf of the instructor heavily contributes to a positive atmosphere as well. The second characteristic of a good class is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic instructor. A teacher who is an expert in the subject of interest with little actual interest in teaching is unlikely to be very successful. Therefore, being both knowledgeable and enthusiastic is the mandatory recipe for success. This would also include asking more from students during class than to just listen. For instance, a good instructor could challenge students’ opinions and preconceived notions, question the methodology or sources for information delivered as fact, and encourage students to apply this new knowledge to other applications including their own lives. Finally, the third characteristic of a good class is one in which the students are prepared and willing to learn. A common misconception of many students is that it is the instructor’s job alone to make a class successful and enjoyable. In order for a class to be “good” in the ways described above, students must be held accountable and rewarded for doing their part both inside and outside the classroom. This accountability and encouragement works best when it comes from the instructor as well as their peers. It is much easier to foster an effective, enjoyable, and memorable classroom environment when everyone in the room is committed to these goals. So how do we ensure that we are “good” teachers that provide a “good” class? We make it clear to our students that these priorities exist from the start and provide a framework for achieving these goals.


Throughout my teaching career I have encountered obstacles in every one of these areas and continue to find new ways to improve each semester. For example, I feel it is very important to do more than lecture in the classroom. Integrating active learning within a pseudo-flipped classroom design promotes higher level learning, increased student involvement, and overall retention. However sometimes the activities just do not work as planned; sometimes there is not enough time to complete a particular activity; sometimes students do not enjoy the activity or do not see the utility of it. Nevertheless, these become useful learning experiences for me in regard to future activities and classes. This is only one example in a long list of hurtles I continue to overcome in hopes of improving my teaching. If it were not for invaluable input from students and faculty peers, many areas of improvement would remain completely unknown to me. For this reason, I find evaluations to be vitally important to growth.


In addition to the qualities that I believe define a “good” teacher as described previously, there are a couple core principles that are equally important in my teaching. First, it is important to me that a student has the opportunity to write within and outside of the classroom. Writing is a great way to allow students a chance to think through concepts on their own in an unrestricted way that will also increase the likelihood of remembering the information later. These do not have to be large writing assignments such as essay exams or term papers. Low-stakes writing assignments such as reflections are sufficient in accomplishing this goal. Second, I feel that students should approach the material in a course as if they are researchers or proprietors of information in this field. This provides a deeper, more personal connection to the material which should also promote deeper learning and retention. Last, but potentially most importantly, it is my goal to provide students the tools to make their own opinions, research their own knowledge of the world, and know which sources of information to trust as reliable. This includes providing a basic understanding of scientific inquiry and methodology. As with the characteristics of a good class, I make these goals known to my class immediately and provide them with a framework to accomplish them.


It was a great teacher who changed my college trajectory to go into psychology. Another great teacher is responsible for determining my career path in academia. The many great teachers in my life helped not only prepare me for my future but actually directed me toward it when I was hitherto unaware of this career for which I am so passionate today. I may never know if I am able to have the impact on a student that my teachers undeniably had on me. Nevertheless, I intend to continue growing, learning, and overcoming with the sincerest hopes of providing all that I can to those I have the privilege of teaching.

General Policies


Attendance is vital to your success. Failure to attend more than 10% of classes will result in automatic withdrawal. A withdrawal before the deadline will result in a W while a withdrawal after will result in a WF. If you anticipate being absent or if you are absent due to an unforeseen circumstance, please let me know via email as soon as possible.


Make-up, Rescheduling, & Late Assignments

Non-writing assignments, e.g., in-class activities, quizzes, exams, made up and will not be accepted late without an excuse from the Dean of Students. Written assignments will be deducted 10% per day late (up to a maximum of three days). If you foresee a scheduling conflict, please let me know ASAP.  This policy does not apply to assignments due during the week of finals or assignments that are considered a culminating final paper or project; those assignments must be turned in by the due date.


Assignment Submission

All assignments should be in (or converted into) Microsoft Word format (i.e., .docx). No other formats will be accepted (e.g., .PDF, .pages). All slides should be in (or converted into) PowerPoint format (i.e., .pptx). No other formats will be accepted.


Group Work

Many classes contain group work. If there are group assignments, please note the following policies: 


Internet activity and texting are counterproductive to your success, and these activities are distracting to your classmates and to me. (Click here for supporting research in this area.) Therefore, use of phones, computers, and recording devices are not allowed during class unless you have received permission from me for a specific activity or assignment. You may not take notes on a computer or record lectures without documented accessibility accommodations. Also, you should not have headphones during class unless you have documented accommodations.



Email will be the primary form of communication in my courses and per university policy. Be sure to check your student UNG email account daily. Course materials will be available in D2L (and Microsoft Teams, if using). We will not use the D2L email feature however. Therefore, only send emails to my UNG email rather than using D2L email. It is also important to be in class to receive any additional verbally administered instructions. 


Academic Integrity

Any violation of the UNG Honor Code, including but not limited to cheating and plagiarism, will result in an automatic “F” in the course and mandatory reporting to the Office of Student Integrity. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, giving or receiving help on any exam, copying another student’s work, and discussing exams with other students.  Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, using someone else’s work without giving citations for the work and submitting work that is not your own. All D2L submissions will be checked using TurnItIn plagiarism inspection software.


Artificial Intelligence Usage

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in completing any course-related work is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions, homework, papers, and exams.  In this course, the use of AI technologies (including generative AI and Large Language Models) including, but not limited to, ChatGPT (3, 3.5, 4, etc.), GLaM, BERT, LLaMA, GenAI, and Grammarly (yes, Grammarly has generative AI capabilities--even the free version) is considered a violation of the University of North Georgia's Student Honor Code, which states, "A Student will not lie, cheat, steal, plagiarize, evade the truth, conspire to deceive, or tolerate those who do." Specific conduct standards being violated may include, but are not limited to: 

 Any use of unapproved AI technology in student work will result in an automatic "F" in the course. In addition, the matter will be reported to the Dean of Students, who will conduct a thorough investigation and resolve any alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.  Moreover, any infringement could potentially be a violation of US Copyright Law, which may carry additional legal consequences. Please be aware that all assignments are monitored by TurnItIn, an advanced plagiarism detection software capable of identifying work completed by AI.  In summary, the use of AI, such as ChatGPT, for any course-related work is not only strictly monitored but also will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Students are encouraged to act responsibly and uphold the values and principles of academic integrity. Your dedication to honest, authentic work is not just a requirement, but also a testament to your character and personal growth. 

Additional note related to Grammarly: This software, just like word processor programs like Microsoft Word, can be used to fix spelling mistakes (e.g., changing "relavent" to "relevant") and minor wording and style mistakes (e.g., changing "their are four lobes in the brain" to "there are four lobes in the brain"). Using Grammarly or Microsoft Word to make minor changes like this does not violate this policy. As long as you are starting with your own written work, you can use Grammarly or Microsoft Word to make minor changes to spelling and grammar. However, it is a violation to have Grammarly or any other AI tool generate or substantially modify text (for example, asking it to rewrite text, paraphrase text, or answer questions for you). It is apparent to AI detection software when generative text is used, and that is when it is flagged. It is also usually apparent to independent graders. For instance, if I read a dozen papers for a course and one of them used generative AI, it is nearly always detectable--and confirmed via AI detection software. In addition, generated text can often be replicated. 

TAKE-HOME MESSAGE: Do not use generative AI unless otherwise specified and explicitly approved beforehand. 

Respect for Others

Within the classroom, we should demonstrate honesty, free inquiry, tolerance of differences and respect for others' opinions. This also includes respecting your peers and me by being engaged and paying attention during class, contributing to discussions, not talking while I am talking, and not talking over your classmates. Please also sit closer to the front of the class. Anyone perceived as disruptive to this objective will be given a verbal and/or written warning and may be asked to excuse themselves from class. Further disruptive conduct will be reported to the Dean of Students and may be subject to disciplinary procedures as outlined in the University of North Georgia Code of Conduct.


Being Late

The classroom door will be closed once class begins to ensure safety and avoid disruption. While situational factors may occasionally interfere with being on time, avoid coming to class late. This is disrespectful and disruptive to your classmates and to me.

Title IX Mandatory Reporting

Due to the nature of the human psychological subject matter in this class, it is not uncommon that personal issues are shared with the instructor or arise as a result of class discussions or homework assignments. These issues might be shared in a verbal, written, or electronic format. Although an open discourse of these issues is important, students should be aware that, in most cases, faculty are mandated to report to the University any information regarding possible sexual assault, danger to self, and/or danger to others. It is also important that you understand that a faculty member acting in a faculty role has no obligation to maintain confidentiality regarding other personal issues you may choose to share with them, but they will likely try to do so when possible. It is important that you be aware of this so that you can make an informed decision regarding what you choose to share with faculty, students, and staff.


Other Policies

All other college policies regarding inclement weather, student disabilities, cheating, plagiarism, and campus office hours may be accessed at: http://ung.edu/academic-affairs/policies-and-guidelines/supplemental-syllabus.php. Please read this information so that you are familiar with the policies.

Student Resources

Click here to access student resources at UNG, including:

Class & academic resources

Campus location & safety resources

Cost & aid resources

Student involvement resources

Student support

Health resources

Tech resources