Northwestern psychology profs and alum publish article

Northwestern College psychology professors Dr. Laird Edman and Dr. Jennifer Feenstra, and 2015 alumna Amanda Jackson Gernant, have recently published an article in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity.

Their article, “Integration in Undergraduate Psychology: Goals and Assessment,” is based on a study they conducted that measured psychology departments within member institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). They examined the mission statements and departmental plans to assess the ways in which each institution’s psychology department engages the integration of faith and learning.

“We found that while most psychology departments in Christian colleges and universities say the integration of faith and learning is important for what they do, fewer than half of the institutions have a fully developed sense of how to do that,” says Edman. “An even smaller number engage in good assessment of how well they integrate faith and learning. Northwestern’s program appears to be a model among those in the CCCU for integrating faith and learning.”

The article is published in a special issue of the journal that focuses on undergraduate education and the integration of faith and learning.

A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 2002, Edman received the college’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2008. He specializes in the cognitive science of religion, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and teaching and assessing critical thinking. A graduate of Luther College, Edman earned master’s degrees in English literature and counseling psychology at the University of Notre Dame. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Feenstra joined Northwestern’s faculty in 2003 and is a social psychologist with research interests in social support, volunteering and service-learning. She was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2011–12 and was awarded a sabbatical to teach and research in Romania. A graduate of Calvin College, she earned master’s degrees and a doctoral degree from the University of New Hampshire.

Gernant graduated with a degree in psychology from Northwestern, and assisted Edman and Feenstra with their research through the college’s Junior Scholars program. After graduation, she worked with adolescent girls as a community living coach for Hope Haven before becoming an intake specialist at Seasons Center for Behavioral Health.