The department of psychology seeks to enhance students’ understanding of human nature. Proceeding from a Christian understanding of humans created in the image of God, the psychology major explores multiple perspectives of human nature, including cognitive, behavioral, biological, social-cultural, and spiritual. All students learn the skills necessary to conduct research and to evaluate carefully others’ research, with the goal of increasing students’ understanding of human nature. Students interested in counseling are introduced to basic theories and methods relevant to providing counseling services. The psychology major prepares students either to secure employment immediately following graduation or to continue on to pursue advanced study in psychology or counseling at the graduate level.
The bachelor of arts in psychology program consists of field studies, a research component, psychological perspectives, and field application.
A minor in psychology is comprised of 21 units of (PSYC) courses.
12 core units of PSYC and 9 elective units.
12 of the 21 units must be taken at Vanguard University.
Developmental psychologist Douglas Degelman is a teacher and researcher. One focus of his teaching has been to equip students with the scientific tools to conduct, analyze, and communicate research. Students have co-authored with Dr. Degelman ten articles published in peer-reviewed professional journals (including Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Psychological Reports, International Journal of Aging and Human Development, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Journal of Educational Computing Research). His Web resources (APA Style Essentials and AmoebaWeb Psychology Resources) are used by students and professionals around the world. AmoebaWeb Psychology Resources has been recognized by the APA Monitor as a Web site of the month, stating that the resource “showcases psychology at its best.” Among the classes that Dr. Degelman currently teaches are Theories and Principles of Learning and Introduction to Statistical Methods.
I have been teaching at Vanguard for thirteen years, and I absolutely love it here! I teach a variety of classes in both the traditional and SPS (evening degree completion) programs. Classes that I teach include the following: statistics, research design, general psychology, developmental psychology, adolescence, childhood and adolescence, and behavior modification. I especially love teaching statistics and working with students on their own research projects. Every Spring my research students and I travel to a research conference to present. My personal research interests include adolescent behavior and personality characteristics of college students.
Prior to Vanguard I taught a Neurobiology Lab at UCI and was an adjunct faculty at Mt. San Antonio Community College and Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Areas of interest include substance abuse, neurological disorders, and developmental disorders.
Apart from Vanguard, I am involved in services aimed at providing food and clothing to the homeless of Downtown Los Angeles. I am also involved in a tutoring and college-preparation program for high school youth in Orange County.
My research interests lie in the formation and attenuation of drug-associated memories. In humans, the triggering of memories associated with drug-administration frequently evokes drug-seeking behavior. In fact, one of the reasons for the low rate of recovery from addiction is due to exposure of drug cues (such as drug paraphernalia, neighborhoods, and scents) that trigger a strong craving for the drug. The removal of drug-associated cues serves as a potential treatment to help prevent relapse in recovering addicts. The reconsolidation hypothesis claims that when a stable long-term memory is reactivated, it undergoes a process in which the memory is in a liable and unstable form and thus susceptible to alteration. In our ongoing project, students use the condition place preference (CPP) paradigm to study the molecular processes involved in the formation of memories that are associated with drug administration. Students train rats to associate certain cues with administration of methamphetamine and then examine whether the memory of these cues can be erased, weakened, or disrupted by various neurotransmitter agonists and antagonists.
Dr. Karen Jeanne Hummel (known to her students as “KJ”) has been teaching at Vanguard University since 2000, briefly as an adjunct instructor and soon thereafter as a resident faculty member. KJ teaches in and chairs the Traditional Undergraduate Psychology program.
KJ takes great joy in being part of the Vanguard community, and she delights in getting to know the people who are her students. She is blessed to witness her students progress in self discovery and understanding so that they may relate to the world around them more positively and effectively as they grow and develop into the people that God has designed them to be. She is particularly interested in positive psychology, group dynamics, communication, personality formation, and spiritual development.
KJ grew up in Costa Mesa, California, and graduated as a psychology major with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine before earning her masters and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego in 1992. Before becoming a college professor, she worked as a psychological assistant in private practice and experienced human development through the process of parenting two sons and a daughter.
KJ is currently enrolled in the Art of Spiritual Direction program through Loyola University with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.
Kerry Moore studied social work at Gordon College and UCLA, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She worked in hospice care for more than 10 years, and has also worked extensively with homeless individuals and families. Kerry has provided clinical supervision to social workers and student interns, and has a special interest in the factors that help new human service workers to learn and grow. Kerry lives in Orange with her husband and three daughters.
Dr. Parke has been teaching at Vanguard since 2013 and has greatly enjoyed being part of this community. Prior to teaching at Vanguard, she completed a pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, specializing in trauma treatment with children, adolescents, and their families. She also supervised doctoral clinical psychology students at APU and coordinated their practicum training program in school-based mental health.
Dr. Parke is a licensed clinical psychologist and currently maintains a private practice in Fullerton, where she specializes in therapy with children, adolescents, and young adults. She has also worked internationally with refugee youth in Thailand, Germany, and the Syrian/Turkish border.
Dr. Elizabeth Powell is excited to return to Vanguard as a faculty member after having completed her undergraduate education here. After her undergraduate studies, she went on to Azusa Pacific University to complete a Psy.D. in clinical psychology. While there Dr. Powell wrote her dissertation on Christian faith development in college students and worked in various clinical settings including college counseling centers, high schools, and community centers.
After completing her doctorate, Dr. Powell spent a few years teaching as adjunct faculty at Vanguard and supervising doctoral students at Azusa Pacific University. She also worked with Cloud and Fire Ministries in LA providing counseling services to at risk youth. Currently, she keeps a small caseload of clients at Journeys Counseling Ministry in Costa Mesa. Dr. Powell’s passion is helping people discover their purpose in life and exploring ways to use psychological training in ministry.
Outside of Vanguard, Dr. Powell enjoys traveling every chance she gets and exploring new cultures. She resides in Costa Mesa where she loves being close to work.
Prerequisite: PSYC 103C. An exploration of human development through the biological, behavioral, cognitive, sociocultural, and spiritual perspectives in a lifespan approach (from conception through death). The course is recommended early in the major and is a prerequisite for other psychology courses.
Prerequisite: PSYC 103C. This course is an introduction to the concepts of biological psychology. Beginning with a basic understanding of brain structures, students will gain an understanding of how brain structure relates to brain function and to behavior. Topics covered include brain structure, neuronal communication, drugs and hormonal influences on the brain, visual sensation and perception, sleep and waking states, sexual behavior, brain lateralization, language, and psychological disorders.
Prerequisite: Senior standing, declared psychology major. An examination of human nature from the perspectives of psychology and Christian belief. Among the topics covered are the relationship between mind, body, and soul; the nature of human freedom; Christian prayer; conversion; and the relationships between people’s attitudes and their behavior. This course fulfills the Core Curriculum Capstone requirement for Psychology majors.