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Jack Powell, PhD


Psychology Department - Department Chair

East Hall 204C


PhD   University of Missouri   |   MA   University of Missouri  |   BA   William Jewell College

As an undergraduate at William Jewell College, I did not start out as a psychology major. In fact, I started as a trumpet player and music major. But I really enjoyed my first psychology courses there, and enjoyed my first philosophy courses while spending a year at Oxford University. So, I eventually decided on a double major in psychology and philosophy. I then went on to attend graduate school at the University of Missouri in St. Louis where I earned both my Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in General Experimental Psychology. It was there that I became interested in Social Psychology. Near the end of my graduate training I got my first full-time teaching job at Missouri Baptist College. From there I got at job as a Research Analyst in the Department of Child Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine. But my main interest was always teaching so I left St. Louis and the Midwest, and moved to the Northeast where I took a job at the University of Hartford. That was in 1988—and I’m still here. I was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1994, and promoted to Full Professor in 2003. During my time at the University of Hartford, I have been very active in teaching, research and administration. As a teacher, I have taught courses in Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, Research Methods, Statistics, Honors Seminar, Dissertation Seminar, and History and Systems in Psychology. I also developed a new course here on the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. I teach courses at the undergraduate level, at the master’s level, and I also teach doctoral students in the Department of Psychology’s Psy.D. program. In addition to teaching courses, I also enjoy the opportunity to work with students on independent projects, theses, and dissertations. Over the years I have served on over 40 dissertation committees for doctoral students and over 40 thesis committees for masters and undergraduate honors students. My research interests are as varied as my teaching interests. I have presented or published over 60 papers in my professional career. Some of the topics include: substance abuse, emotions in the writing process, depression and suicide, adolescent health, the moon illusion, racial attitudes of elementary school children, nonverbal behavior, attributions in athletes, whether people will ride with an intoxicated driver, body image, a youth violence prevention program, adult children of alcoholics, blaming persons with HIV/AIDS, teaching techniques in psychology, a child abuse and neglect prevention program, evolutionary psychology, and the quest for spirituality. I am currently conducting research in the psychology of religion and spirituality, though I enjoy working in many other areas where I can collaborate with colleagues and students. Finally, I have had the opportunity to take part in many university service and administrative roles. I have been Chair of the Department of Psychology and Interim Director of the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology. I have directed the Masters Program in Organizational Behavior, the Masters Program in General Experimental Psychology, and the Department of Psychology’s Undergraduate Program. I have served on literally dozens of University, College, and Department committees.