Seminar in Prejudice and Intergroup Relations

PSY 556 (graduate)

This course is designed to increase knowledge of, and critical thinking about, identity, intergroup perceptions and interrelationships, conflict and prejudice. The primary goals of this course are to promote integrative, critical, theoretical thinking about the social psychological bases of major aspects of intergroup relations and perception, with an emphasis on the psychological and group-based underpinnings of identity, status and hierarchy, intergroup perception (stereotyping and prejudice), discrimination, conflict and cooperation. This class will draw from a variety of perspectives in social psychology including evolutionary, neurological, social cognitive, and minority perspectives.

Another primary goal of the course is to develop thinking about science in general and how to discuss issues pertaining to science. To help foster these goals, readings are selected to give both a broad background in intergroup relations and provide some depth and focus on particular sub-topics and issues in the field that are both well established and groundbreaking in intergroup relations or are current, provocative studies on a timely topic.

Introduction to Statistics

PSY 240 (undergraduate)

This course is designed to increase students’ understanding, appreciation, and use of statistics in their daily lives. Statistics are used to inform policy-making, determine how to improve social services and programs, develop and test medical treatments, identify demographic trends and patterns, and understand human behavior and well-being. Understanding where we get our statistics and how they are interpreted is a fundamental part of being an informed consumer of information and a critical thinker.

This course will focus both on the intellectual and pragmatic aspects of statistics as well as the specific steps to use this powerful tool to answer important questions. This course will emphasize the elements of statistical thinking and analysis that will enable students to become critical consumers and users of the statistics that we are exposed to every day–in our jobs, in the media, in the products we buy, the news we read. To this end, this course will feature more data and concepts about relevant issues, and integrate in-class experiments and real data. This course will also teach you how to think critically about the procedures that produce the statistics we use. We will cover the scientific procedures that produce both good and bad data, and will learn how to tell the difference. It is my hope that this course will prepare students to become better researchers and scientists–skills that you can apply in any field of inquiry.

Harry Potter and the Hero’s Journey

LSP 112 (undergraduate)

This course will explore what many consider the most timeless and universal myth of the “hero’s journey” through the stories of Harry Potter. The Hero’s Journey (Campbell, 1949) is at the heart of most major mythologies and religions the world over. Its universal themes present a roadmap for personal and spiritual transformation from innocence, to call to action, challenge, abyss, revelation, transformation and ultimately rebirth. Through examining and discussing the stories and characters of Harry Potter we will deeply dissect the stages of the hero’s journey and compare these themes with other myths and stories from ancient civilizations, classic literature and popular culture to examine how these themes reflect the human experience in modern times and how they have remained timeless. In this process, students will have the opportunity to explore their own lives and reflect on how literature can serve as a guide to their own personal journey of transformation and initiation.