Renee Penalver teaching an Introduction to Psychology course

Faculty


Mike Baker

Mike Baker

Professor of Psychology,
Neuroscience Coordinator

Education:

B.A., Coe College
M.S., Ph.D., Iowa State University

Research interests and academic interests:

My training and interests lie in behavioral psychopharmacology, including consequences of prenatal and postnatal exposure to drugs of abuse such as cocaine and amphetamine, mechanisms of reward and addiction and sex differences in responses to drugs of abuse using the domestic chick model. While I no longer maintain an active research program, I remain engaged in the research process as Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Classes taught at Coe:

I regularly teach Behavioral Neuroscience, Drugs & Behavior and Introduction to Biopsychology. I also rotate the rest of the psychology faculty for Advanced Experimental Psychology and Seminar in Psychology (topics have included learning & behavior therapy, addiction and autism). Although I no longer actively teach them, during my career at Coe I regularly taught Statistical Methods & Data Analysis as well as Learning & Behavior.


Samantha BrownSamantha Brown.jpg

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Education:

B.A., Creighton University
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Research Interests:

I study the career development process of adolescents and young adults. I am curious about what helps them to make choices about their future and what might get in the way of their decision making. Further, I am interested in how we can help facilitate this process and help young people make meaningful decisions about their future. I am also interested in self-compassion and how that relates to well-being, particularly related to college students and their adjustment to college.

Courses taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Applied Contemporary Psychology, Internship in Psychology, First Year Seminar


Ben Chihak

Ben Chihak

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Education:

B.A., Macalester College
Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Research interests:

The ability to safely navigate through the environment is critically important to the welfare of any organism. Our ability to maneuver relative to other agents in the world allows us to find food, avoid predators and woo potential mates. While navigating through the environment, we are constantly interacting with objects and surfaces, both static (e.g., trees, buildings, the ground plane) and motile (e.g., animals, vehicles, other people.) These objects and surfaces provide us with rich sources of information that we can use to guide our actions. My research has two fundamental goals: The first is to identify what perceptual information is available to guide locomotion in the environment. The second is to determine if and how individuals utilize these potential sources of information in controlling their actions. I have primarily investigated these questions within the context of transportation safety using both naturalistic and virtual environments.

Classes taught at Coe:

Research Methods; Introduction to Biopsychology.


Sara Farrell

Sara Farrell

James Y. Canfield Professor of Psychology, Department Chair, Organizational Science Coordinator

Education:

B.A., University of Iowa
M.A., Minnesota State University
Ph.D., Northern Illinois University

Research interests:

My research centers on pro-social behaviors, especially those exhibited in the workplace (called organizational citizenship behaviors). My students and I have investigated co-worker reactions to employees who exhibit non-required, helpful behaviors in the workplace, gendered expectations for such behaviors, and factors that increase the likelihood people will behave in pro-social ways. Another line of my research has investigated the psychological benefits of spending time in natural settings. I enjoy working with students on research projects that have clear applications in everyday life. It is most satisfying when students are highly engaged and especially when they risk offering challenges to our hypotheses or research designs.

Classes taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology, Applied Contemporary Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Industrial Psychology; Seminar in Psychology (Applied Positive Psychology); Advanced Experimental Psychology.


Scout Kelly

Scout Kelly

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Education:

B.A., University of Puget Sound
M.A., Ph.D., Kent State University

Research interests:

At the broadest level, my research asks why it is so difficult to do the things that we know are good for our health — things like exercising regularly, eating healthfully, flossing our teeth, wearing sunscreen and getting vaccinated. I’m particularly interested in health behaviors that require regular, continuous effort (e.g., physical activity, healthful eating) because they require we self-regulate our behavior — putting off immediate rewards (e.g., ice cream, watching one more episode on Netflix) for later, larger rewards (e.g., better health and well-being). Most recently, I’ve been intrigued by the roles of flexibility and rigidity in our pursuit of health goals. When is it beneficial to make a really specific plan and stick to it no matter what (e.g., I will go to the gym for 30 minutes at 5:30 p.m.), and when is it beneficial to be flexible and adapt our plans (e.g., if I don't have time to get to the gym, I will do a 30 minute workout video at home)?

Classes taught at Coe:

Statistical Methods and Data Analysis; Social Psychology; Health Psychology; Personality; Advanced Experimental Psychology.


Ellen LeeEllen Lee

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Education:

B.S., Loyola University, Chicago
M.A., Northern Illinois University
Ph.D., Northern Illinois University
 

Research interests:

As a trained social psychologist, I am interested in the ways that we think about ourselves and interact with others. The areas in which I like to focus on studying those processes are intimate relationships and sexuality. My goal as a scientist is to illuminate those processes so that humans can have more fulfilling and enriching connections with others.

Courses taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology, Personality Psychology, Testing & Measurement, Intimate Relationships


Kara Recker

Kara Recker

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Education:

B.S., Arizona State University
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Research interests:

My research focuses on two fundamental aspects of cognitive development. The first is how young children scale distance across spaces that differ in size. The aim of this work is to better understand the factors that affect how children and adults use relative distance to scale location. My second area of interest is the development of memory for location. Specifically, I am interested in how children and adults use spatial groups to remember the locations of objects. In both of these areas of interest, my goal is to examine the processes by which age differences in spatial thinking emerge. This kind of analysis requires understanding both what the child (or adult) brings to the task and what environmental structure is available. As such, my theoretical approach emphasizes the dynamic, emergent properties of spatial thinking.

Classes taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Seminar in Psychology (Infant Development), Abnormal Psychology.


Emeritus and Retired Faculty
 

Wendy Dunn

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus 

B.S., Iowa State University
M.S., Iowa State University
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Dr. Dunn’s academic research focused on how personality and other characteristics, such as physical attractiveness and intelligence, are evaluated and how they figure into decision processes. Dr. Dunn authored four editions of a lifespan development textbook, Understanding Human Development, two introductory psychology texts, as well as an array of student study guides and instructors manuals that accompany various texts in the field of psychology. Dr. Dunn taught courses in areas including testing & measurement, industrial psychology, and leadership. Additionally, Dr. Dunn served as a longtime chair of the Psychology Department.

Dan Lehn

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus

B.A., University of Connecticut
Ph.D., Dartmouth College 

Dr. Lehn’s research was in the area of social cognition. He studied individual differences in the way people attend to and process information that is personally relevant to them, both at conscious and non-conscious levels. He primarily taught courses in areas including social psychology, personality, interpersonal relationships, and the psychology of humor. Following Dr. Lehn’s untimely death in 2016, he was honored by the college with the designation of Faculty Emeritus.

Tom Moye

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus

B.A., University of California, Riverside
Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder

Dr. Moye’s early research at Coe was in psychopharmacology and developmental psychobiology. In the second half of his career at Coe, his focus shifted to studying perceptual factors that influence our visual judgments of causality. In particular, how Pavlovian conditioning processes influence our judgments about cause and effect. He founded the Psychology Research Symposium in 1989, which annually celebrates student/faculty research in the Psychology Department. Dr. Moye taught courses in areas including introductory psychology, research methods, and biopsychology.

Nükhet Yarbrough

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus 

B.A., Lindenwood College
M.A., Boğazici University, Istanbul, Turkey 
Ph.D., University of Georgia

Dr. Yarbrough’s research focused primarily on the investigations of how creative thinking test scores relate to other psychological and practical human characteristics. She developed an instrument to measure tolerance for ambiguity in high and low scorers of creative thinking and conducted an international norming study for the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT). Her 2016 article in the Creativity Research Journal highlighted translation and validity issues related to using the TTCT to assess creative thinking across cultures. Dr. Yarbrough taught courses in areas including memory & cognition, counseling, creativity, and cross-cultural psychology.