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Psychology Distinctives

Outstanding Teaching

The Gordon psychology faculty members are deeply committed to students, psychology, and to the integrity of Christian faith and psychology.  Members of the department are passionate and gifted teachers with many years experience in undergraduate education.  Four members of the department have won Junior or Senior Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Awards.

Faculty members seek to optimize student learning in and out of the classroom or laboratory. The department emphasizes interactions with study material and hands-on learning through lab courses, internships, and research projects.  Students have the opportunity to participate in independent study, working closely with faculty members in an apprenticeship learning model. Psychology faculty challenge students to learn not just for themselves, but for God's sake and for the sake of His creation.

Opportunities to Develop Research Skills

There are multiple opportunities for research while attending Gordon. The psychology department faculty encourages you to explore these.

Most faculty members in the department have ongoing research projects, and all desire student involvement in their work. If you are interested in working on a research project, please talk with any and all faculty members with whom you would like to work. In some cases, student participation in faculty research can be significant enough that it is appropriate for the student name to appear in any resulting publications. Those who wish to pursue a doctorate after graduation from Gordon should explore this option, as publications weigh in the graduate school acceptance for Ph.D. applicants.

Sometimes students desire to carry out their own research. The department has multiple opportunities within the curriculum to do so. You will take a two-course Research Methods sequence which teaches the techniques of analysis (statistics) and the methodology of research design and implementation. You will then put your learning into practice by carrying out a research project of your own choosing. Although the idea is your own, you will receive a great deal of help in carrying out these projects. In some cases, exceptional projects can be submitted for review and possible presentation at a local undergraduate conference.

After completion of the Research Methods courses, you are required to participate in another laboratory course. Most of these lab courses require a second research project. Gordon has a striking number of choices for these lab courses, more than is typical in either other Christian colleges or in secular colleges of comparable and even larger size. Currently, lab courses are offered in Physiological Psychology, Animal Behavior, Community Psychology, Social Perception, Social Cognition, and the conceptual and measurement issues involved in Wisdom, Intelligence and Creativity.

In a few cases, students desire further research experience. Consult a faculty member as they often supervise independent research. These possibilities of working with faculty members on your own research or of working with faculty members on their own research can bring you class credit as well as research experience.

Integration of Faith and Psychology

The phrase "faith-learning integration" has become something of a cliché at Christian colleges. In the psychology department at Gordon we work hard to realize the reality that lies behind it. Faith and learning are not two separate domains or activities that have to be artificially twisted into some compromise arrangement that is true neither to faith nor to learning. 

Rather, faith and learning are naturally integrated: faith requires learning, and learning requires faith. Our job is to discover the nature of that integration. Integration in this sense derives from the same root idea as integerand integrity. An integer is a whole number, and faith-learning integration is about understanding thewholeness--the unity in diversity--of creation and our place and task in it. Learning about that unity and diversity requires integrity--strength of character; serious, sustained truth seeking; and honest, straightforward living and scholarship.   

Gordon is a community committed to developing students and faculty who are marked by that integrity, who want to live and learn the truth. If we are faithful in our calling to learn together, then we have good reason to hope that we can help repair the broken places in the world.

Clinical Internship Program

Students often express the desire to put their developing skills into action and to gain some experience that will help them with employment or graduate school after they complete their education at Gordon. The Psychology Department offers to interested junior and senior majors a two semester internship that allows them to gain experience in applying what they have learned. Most students in the internship have sought placements in human services. Typically these students' placements have included probation departments of district and juvenile courts, guidance offices in public and private schools, the victim advocacy program of the local district attorney's office, crisis pregnancy programs, social services departments in nursing homes, assisting a child life specialist in a medical hospital, and day and residential programs for mentally ill and mentally retarded adults. Still others have chosen programs outside the human services such as an advocacy program for immigrants, legal assistant for the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, fundraising for a non-profit organization, and working as a behavioral specialist for a zoo.

Students spend ten hours per week in placement and meet weekly as a class to reflect on their experiences. We try to accommodate students' interests in the selection of field placements.