Though trained as a psychologist, I’ve found that we often can make significant changes without a big long slog through the past, or having to label something as broken before it can be fixed. Good writing can open the minds and hearts of the reader, inspiring new thoughts and clarity of emotion. So I leave therapy to my clinical colleagues and I focus on social psychology...I write and teach on matters that are close to the heart of our everyday lives.
I explore how to navigate the tensions between influences that exist in and around us. I aim to gently “tell it like it is”—the “truth” as I know it—to encourage us each to step out of denial, or just a hazy lack of awareness, and into a responsible reality. As unpleasant as reality can be, I hope my writing ultimately inspires readers to be in a happier, more "in touch" place of understanding and compassion with themselves and others.
My work appears, or is forthcoming, in literary journals such as Rougarou, The MacGuffin, The Legendary, The Griffin, Emrys, Wild Violet Magazine, and TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and in academic journals including Family and Conciliation Courts Review, Issues in Integrative Studies, and Family Processes. On the smart but popular side, I have essays appearing in books of this ilk: The Psychology of Survivor, The Psychology of Joss Whedon, and the Psychology of Superheroes. I’m delighted to report I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010 and my book (co-authored with Denise Bates) called Arizona State University came out in 2012 and my book Legendary Locals of Tempe came out in 2016.
I love to write and I love to teach. For instance, my teaching has earned me honors including the ASU “Last Lecture” (2009), Featured Faculty Award (2006), and Outstanding Faculty Award (2005), plus numerous more recent nominations. And I get to teach in one of the best places in the U.S., if I do say so myself (but you can find outsiders who’ll say the same thing)…I am a Principal Honors Faculty Fellow in Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. It was recently named by New York Times writer, Frank Bruni, as the Gold Standard in honors colleges.
Before winning that position, I served three years as Associate Faculty Director in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at Arizona State University, my academic home for eight years. While there, I lead study abroad programs to London and developed new courses such as “Theories and Applications of Organizational Studies,” “Diversity and Organizations” and my signature Senior Seminars of “Money & Meaning” (which I also teach in Barrett) and “Money, Medicine, & Morals,” in addition to teaching the core courses of “Foundations of Interdisciplinary Studies,” “Interdisciplinary Inquiry,” and “Applied Interdisciplinary Studies.”
My current focus is on The Human Event (HON 171) in the fall and on HON 272 in the spring, both are interdisciplinary courses, drawing on primary texts from ancient to modern times as we follow an arc of intellectual, social, and ethical development. (I tend to emphasis selections from the social sciences in the spring class.) Prior to joining the Interdisciplinary Studies program, I was full-time in the ASU Department of Psychology where I had earlier earned my Masters and PhD. My Bachelor of Science degree from ASU is in Communication (multi-focal emphases on interpersonal, organizational, and intercultural), with a minor equivalent in business. I also have certificates and licenses in several other fields. What can I say, I love to learn! And in today's complex times it helps to have a generalist's perspective.