Psychology and Human Development Department
Detris Adelabu, Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Dean of School of Arts & Sciences
Janine Bempechat, Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Tina Durand, Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology and Human Development
Martha Eshoo, Instructor of Psychology and Human Development
Petra Hesse, Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Grace Kim, Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Kathryn Portnow, Instructor of Psychology and Human Development
The Psychology and Human Development major is rooted in the intellectual traditions of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Our courses in this multidisciplinary field of inquiry aim to understand how changing social and cultural contexts—including race, ethnicity, gender, the media, history, and globalization—shape individuals through their development across the lifespan as well as families and communities. Our students also consider how this knowledge can inform their future work, practice or advocacy. In our department, you will delve into topics such as child and adolescent development, cultural dynamics of globalization, children's rights, the history of childhood and the family in the United States, family diversity, academic achievement and motivation for learning, and family policies, gender, and racial identity. Our department also teaches a key component of the first-year curriculum that is unique among all institutions of higher education: Human Growth and Development.
Departmental faculty engage in a wide-range of research that influences their teaching. Some of our projects include:
- School achievement among low-income rural and urban African American youth
- Ninth graders' perceptions of their educational experiences cross-ethnically
- Linguistic research among endangered languages
- History of psychology
- School success of Latino students and families
- Children's media, service learning
- Identities and mental health in Asian Americans
- Teacher professional development
- Feminist critique of pornography
- Self-esteem and self-doubt
We offer students three focus areas: Counseling Psychology; Developmental Psychology; and Children, Families, and Culture. Our department complements the professional programs at Wheelock, and helps prepare students to work in the fields of teaching, mental health, social services, social work, youth justice and youth advocacy, child life and more. But many of our students also pursue our major without a professional program. Through a special partnership between Wheelock and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP), Wheelock students can gain early acceptance into masters programs at MSPP as part of a Pre-Masters Program in Counseling. Our department is also recommended for students interested in pursuing graduate study in related areas such as clinical psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
The Psychology and Human Development major is rooted in the intellectual traditions of psychology, sociology and anthropology. The theories, research and practices of this multidisciplinary field of inquiry contribute to a greater understanding of human experience in our complex and changing world. Human development over the life course is studied in cultural, social, historical and political contexts. Students are encouraged to explore the relevance of the field to their personal experiences and professional growth and to formulate new research questions and policy agendas for improving the quality of the lives of children, families, and communities.