Gettysburg College

Department of Psychology
Box 407, Gettysburg College
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1486
(717) 337-6171; [email protected]

Gettysburg College was founded in 1832 by a man named Samuel Schmucker. Because he had the foresight not to name the place after himself, it flourished. Now, 170 years later, Gettysburg College is consistently ranked among US News and World Report’s top 50 liberal arts colleges in America. The campus occupies 200 acres in the town of Gettysburg, surrounded on all sides by Pennsylvania countryside and the historic Gettysburg battlefield. We currently enroll approximately 2,400 students, with a faculty-student ratio of 12:1.

The Gettysburg College Psychology Department was founded in 1946, and while the makeup of the Department has changed considerably during the past 55 years, our mission remains the same: We seek to provide each student with rigorous exposure to all aspects of scientific psychology. In addition to extensive classroom and laboratory work, every Gettysburg College psychology major carries out a minimum of three original research projects, each of which culminates in the writing of a journal-style manuscript. Most of these research projects are collaborative efforts involving small groups of students under the supervision of a faculty member, and it is not uncommon for the results of these studies to be presented at regional or national psychology meetings.

The rationale underlying our hands-on empirical approach reveals much about the shared philosophy of Gettysburg College Psychology Department members. We are unanimous in the belief that no matter what discipline a student eventually enters-be it academia, applied psychology, or another field altogether-we can give them no more valuable experience than that which comes from wrestling with complex issues, operationalizing psychology’s elusive constructs, and thinking critically about the scientific literature in our field.

Psychology is currently the second most popular major at Gettysburg College. We graduate about 50 majors each spring, and two-thirds of the students in each graduating class take one or more courses in psychology. In recent years, Gettysburg College psychology majors have gone on to do graduate work in a wide variety of programs, including those at Columbia, Harvard, Duke, Berkeley, Princeton, NYU, UCLA, Boston University, University of North Carolina, University of Texas, and University of Tennessee.

The Department currently occupies the third floor of McCreary Hall, which houses faculty offices, a student-faculty lounge, one large classroom, two seminar rooms, and several dozen fully networked laboratory rooms. The College’s recently completed $26 million Science Center provides additional classroom and laboratory space. Among the specialized research facilities available in the department are an Infant and Child Study Center, Personality Research Center, Perception Laboratory, Social Psychology Laboratory, Cognitive Psychology Laboratory, and Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratories.

Gettysburg College Psychology Department faculty are leaders in their field, having received research grants and fellowships from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Department members have served as Associate and Consulting Editors for myriad professional journals, including Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Human Factors, Journal of Personality Assessment, Journal of Personality Disorders, and Psychoanalytic Psychology. A generous pre-tenure sabbatical leave program enables beginning faculty members to accelerate significantly their research programs, and enhance their visibility within the research community.

Continuing and Affiliated Faculty

Martha E. Arterberry
Robert F. Bornstein
Kathleen M. Cain
Paul R. D’Agostino
Rebecca Fincher-Kiefer
Gordon A. Haaland
Daniel D. McCall
Thane S. Pittman
Janet Morgan Riggs
Steven M. Siviy
Charles G. Stangor
C. Mark Wessinger

Small classes are a hallmark of our program: Even General Psychology course sections are limited to 35 students each. Our major program attempts to balance breadth and depth by making available a wide range of 200-level courses that cut across psychology’s major subdisciplines, while requiring each student to complete an individually tailored sequence of 200- and 300-level classes that, when combined, integrate work in one or more of psychology’s major fields (e.g., clinical, cognitive, social, developmental). We emphasize the core topics that every undergraduate psychology major should know, but also include small seminar classes focusing on more specialized issues (e.g., intelligence, leadership, the psychology and biology of play).

Our small size and superb research facilities allow for a remarkable amount of collaborative work to take place between Gettysburg College students and faculty. Psychology majors frequently act as research and teaching assistants for one or more professors, and at any given time, 30-40 students may be employed in such positions. As a result of their ongoing research collaborations (which may last several semesters or more), students frequently earn co-authorship on convention presentations and journal articles. It is not uncommon for a highly motivated student to earn multiple co-authorships by the time her work here is complete.

Our students’ classroom and laboratory experiences are complemented by an active off-campus internship program which takes advantage of our close proximity to Baltimore, MD (about 60 miles from Gettysburg), and Washington, DC (about 80 miles away). Internships take place in a variety of settings, including nationally recognized treatment facilities (e.g., Sheppard-Pratt Hospital, Hershey Medical Center), and research centers (e.g., the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins Medical School). Through the generosity of a former departmental colleague, stipends are available for several students to remain on campus each summer, working collaboratively with faculty, and gathering pilot data for their own independent research projects.

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.