Tag: Psychology


Labyrinth walk has deep significance in a year of religious turmoil

Creating and walking a labyrinth has been a capstone activity for award-winning Prof. Regan Gurung’s freshman seminar: “Gods, Ghosts and Goblins,” each year. This year, however, it may take on just a bit more meaning, and move students a bit more deeply.

“Our seminar class will be creating our own labyrinth and walking it to personify many elements of class discussion and experience first hand the wisdom of the ancients,” explains Gurung. “Given the secular nature of the experience and significant current religious turmoil and prejudices abounding, we will highlight a message of acceptance by also adding symbols of many different belief systems. It is important to be knowledgeable about diverse beliefs and respect people’s decision to pick their beliefs. Just like the rotten fruit, we should not allow one bad apple to taint the entire bushel.”

Gurung says strong a college experience always sparks intellectual growth and venturing into new ideas.

“One of the most fascinating topics of growth is belief,” says Gurung. “Humans hold many diverse beliefs and over the centuries gods, ghosts, and goblins have populated world religions, legends, and mythology. One first year seminar class focuses on answering the question of why people believe. What purpose does it serve? How do beliefs grow? This interdisciplinary class examines different disciplines such as psychology, biology, anthropology, and theology, to answer these questions.

Gurung says that at the core of most belief systems is reflection and one of the longest standing means of reflection is the labyrinth.

“Humans have used labyrinths for centuries as a means of meditation and reflection, to take a break from the world walking into its center, before walking back out into the world again (a labyrinth has only one path, unlike a maze which has many),” he explains. “In true interdisciplinary fashion, the labyrinth also blends science, art, and religion, both in the knowledge needed to create one, and in understanding the brain activity that takes place when you walk one.”

From medieval times, monks have traveled labyrinths in prayer. St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, for instance, maintains a prayer labyrinth.

“The focus on belief reveals many communalities in purpose, and highlights that regardless of the belief is, the underlying reasons for belief and the way they came about are very often the same.

“In a world with significant ethnic and religious strife, the explorations into belief show how, for the most part, that peoples and the religions of the world are similar. Just like apples and oranges (fruits often exemplified to show difference) are vastly more similar than different, so too are the world’s major religions. And just like you do not throw out an entire bushel for one bad fruit, we should not demonize an entire religion for some extremist practitioners of it.”

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore, Outreach and Adult Access

Psychology program lands national conference 

UW-Green Bay’s Psychology program has received great news with the announcement UWGB has been selected to host the American Psychological Association’s Summit on National Assessment of Psychology (APA SNAP, for short) June 21-25, 2016. About 30 leading psychologists from across the nation will participate. Associate Prof. Ryan Martin, chair of Psychology and member of the Human Development faculty, notes that the APA has assigned Prof. Regan Gurung to co-chair the select event. The attendees, experts in evidence-based educational assessment, will be charged with building a collection of digital and/or print resources to assist college-level psychology departments assess student learning outcomes. An APA press release has more.

Recap and photo gallery: Excellence in Psychology Instruction

On Saturday (Oct. 10) the UW-Green Bay Psychology faculty hosted 40 educators from throughout the Midwest for the first-ever 2015 Excellence in Psychology Instruction Conference (EPIC). Serving on the planning committee were Profs. Regan Gurung, Ryan Martin and Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges from UWGB; Jeff Gumz, Green Bay West; Chris Hamp, West De Pere; and Amy Ramponi, Kimberly school districts. The day of sharing ideas, techniques and content went wonderfully, UWGB Psychology chair Martin said. “My favorite feedback came from a local teacher who said he was almost embarrassed to admit that he had no idea what an incredible group of teachers UWGB has and what an incredible resource we are.” Topics included Understanding the Brain, Innovative Uses of Teaching Technology, Integrating Research into Your Classroom, and more. Photos are online.

Psychology conference an EPIC success

On Saturday, October 10, the UW-Green Bay Psychology faculty hosted 40 educators from throughout the Midwest, for the first ever 2015 Excellence in Psychology Instruction Conference (EPIC). Serving on the planning committee were Professors Regan Gurung, Ryan Martin and Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges from UWGB; Jeff Gumz, Green Bay West; Chris Hamp, West DePere and Amy Ramponi, Kimberly school districts.

The day of sharing ideas, techniques and content went wonderfully,” said Prof. Ryan Martin, Chair of UWGB’s Psychology program. “My favorite feedback came from a local teacher who said he was almost embarrassed to admit that he had no idea what an incredible group of teachers UWGB has and what an incredible resource we are.”

Subject matter included Understanding the Brain, Innovative Uses of Teaching Technology, Integrating Research into Your Classroom, and more. See the photos.

(Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.)

More photos on Facebook.

Gurung, student publish article on exam scores, learning techniques

How students study is important, but faculty and student self-efficacy are also significant predictors of exam scores. Psychology Prof. Regan A. R. Gurung of Human Development and Brianna Bartolewski, a recent UW-Green Bay graduate in Psychology now in graduate school at Marquette, just published the article “Comparing the relationship of learning techniques and exam score.” You can see an abstract of the article published by the American Psychological Association’s Psychnet site.

UWGB faculty participate in boosting liberal education

On Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24 and 25, seven UW-Green Bay faculty members traveled to Madison to attend “Connecting Your Work to LEAP Wisconsin: A Faculty Collaboratives Conference.”

Organized by the UW System and AACU — the national Association of American Colleges and Universities — the conference focused on strategies for providing he highest quality learning experiences for students, connecting essential learning outcomes to institutional disciplines, and assessing student learning.

The nationwide LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) seeks to advance liberal learning and high-quality undergraduate education for all students. Wisconsin and the UW System were pilot partners when the campaign launched in 2005. Workshops at the recent Madison conference included Advocacy, Signature Work, Tuning, Providing Evidence of Student Learning, Curriculum Mapping for General Education, and Value Rubrics.

The UW-Green Bay participants (from left, photo below) were JP Leary, assistant professor, First Nations Studies; Jennifer Ham, associate professor, Humanistic Studies; Heidi Fencl, professor and chair, Physics; Alison Gates, associate professor and chair, Art; Doreen Higgins, associate professor, Social Work; Kate Burns, associateprofessor and chair, Psychology and Human Development; and Matt Dornbush, associate vice provost for academic affairs and director of graduate Studies.


Psychologists to hold EPIC conference

epic-logo-web-3It started with a small group of high school psychology and college teachers getting together to discuss professional development opportunities. It has turned into something “EPIC.”

On Saturday, October 10, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Psychology faculty will host more than 40 educators from the Midwest, for the 2015 Excellence in Psychology Instruction Conference (EPIC).

Topics and breakout sessions include Understanding the Brain, Innovative Uses of Teaching Technology, Integrating Research into Your Classroom, and more. A full agenda can be found here.

UW-Green Bay Psychology Prof. Regan A. R. Gurung, past recipient of the Wisconsin Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, will present the keynote, “Cultivating Learning: Capitalizing on the Science of Learning.”

“A small group of psychology teachers from around Northeastern Wisconsin have been working on bringing all the great psychology teachers from the region together for a day of sharing ideas, techniques, content, and more,” said Prof. Ryan Martin, Chair of UWGB’s Psychology program. “There are so many great psychology teachers throughout the area but we rarely get to talk to one another. We’re hoping this conference will help us forge these new relationships and this becomes a consortium of teachers who continue to work together, share ideas, and provide students with many opportunities.”

Serving on the planning committee: Gurung, Martin and Prof. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges from UWGB; Jeff Gumz, Green Bay West; Chris Hamp, West DePere and Amy Ramponi, Kimberly school districts.

The fee is only $20 and includes lunch. For more information or to register.

Faculty note: Gurung publication

Regan A. R. Gurung, the Ben J. & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology, has two chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Undergraduate Psychology Education (Dunn, 2015). One, Teaching health psychology was co-authored with UW-Green Bay Psychology major and recent graduate Elise Rittenhouse, the other is a guide to Conducting and applying the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Gurung shares secrets of learning

Psychology Prof. Regan A.R. Gurung of Human Development contributed a guest column to the Green Bay Press-Gazette this week. It offers hints on learning (as opposed to “cramming”) for students returning to school. He shares the latest thinking from cognitive science research, including three key suggestions: Start early and return to the material on multiple occasions; test yourself regularly (think of it as “practice retrieval” and not testing); and use “deep processing” to translate the material into your own words and custom create examples applicable to your own life. It also helps to have the mindset you can make yourself “smarter” by exercising your brain. Because you can.

UW-Green Bay honors top faculty, staff with 2015 Founders Awards

founders-award-winners-postThe University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has recognized its top faculty and staff members with 2015 Founders Awards for Excellence. The award winners, honored at the annual UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff Convocation Wednesday morning, Aug. 26, are:

Teaching — Associate Prof. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges
Scholarship — Prof. Matt Dornbush
Community Outreach — Prof. John Luczaj
Institutional Development — Associate Prof. Denise Bartell
Academic Support — Mike Kline
Classified Staff — Amanda Wildenberg
Collaborative Achievement — The Digital and Public Humanities Project

Posing in the photo, above, standing from left are Wilson-Doenges, Luczaj, Dornbush and Bartell. Seated are Wildenberg and faculty members representing the Digital Humanities Project, Associate Profs. Chuck Rybak and Caroline Boswell. Not pictured: Mike Kline.

The awards were presented before an audience of more than 400 in the Phoenix Room of the University Union. Made possible by private philanthropic support, the awards program has been an annual fixture at UW-Green Bay since 1975. Honorees are selected by a campuswide committee from among nominations submitted by faculty, staff and others.

Wilson-Doenges, the recipient of the Founder’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, is an associate professor of Human Development and a specialist in environmental psychology and best practices in neighborhood planning and urban design. The award citation credited her with effectively connecting with students, regardless of major, in courses both online and in-person, and bringing energy not only to her classroom but to her work with students on internships, independent studies, and honors projects. One nominator said her enthusiasm for her subject has the ability to make even the statistical concept of standard deviation “riveting.” Wilson-Doenges joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1995 after earning her Ph.D. from the University of California-Irvine.

Dornbush, recipient of the award for scholarship, was recognized for his work as a professor of biology with the Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit. He has made a priority of involving both graduate and undergraduate students in his research projects where possible, and has been successful in winning outside grants to support that research. His primary interests involve the role of native plant restorations in improving ecosystems, including the potential use of native tallgrass for bio-energy purposes, and the restoration of wild rice, bulrush and wild celery stands in the lower bay. Dornbush joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2005 after earning his doctoral degree in ecology at Iowa State University. He recently joined the academic affairs administrative team at UW-Green Bay as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Professional Development and Grants, and Director of Graduate Studies.

The award citation for Geoscience professor Luczaj, a member of the Natural and Applied Sciences faculty, called the Founders Award for Excellence in Community Outreach a perfect fit for a faculty member who is “an asset to UWGB as a researcher, instructor and community ambassador in the field of geology.” An authority on the geology and bedrock of Northeastern Wisconsin and related groundwater issues, Luczaj has provided guidance to technical groups on vital groundwater issues and advised varied stakeholders on aquifer protection strategies. In addition to working with UWGB students, he has connected with the community through geoscience presentations to family and K-12 groups as well as to UWGB Learning in Retirement audiences. He holds a Ph.D. in geology from Johns Hopkins and joined the Green Bay faculty in 2005.

Bartell, honored in the category of Institutional Development, was recognized for her efforts in ensuring the success of new and continuing students and the larger University. Bartell is an associate professor of psychology in the Human Development academic unit. In recent years she has assumed leadership in campuswide efforts to improve student retention and graduation rates, particularly for first-generation students and those who are from under-represented groups or who face special challenges. She is founder and program director for the Phoenix GPS Program, which has identified “high-impact” practices to help students thrive. (The practices include encouraging greater campus involvement, mentoring, effective study skills and active/engaged learning experiences for newcomers.) Bartell joined UW-Green Bay in 2002 after earning her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas.

Kline received the Founders Award for Excellence in Academic Support in recognition of his success in fostering, according to the award citation, “a department culture where academic success, not just completion, is an uncompromising priority.” Kline works in Phoenix Athletics administration as assistant AD of Compliance and Student Welfare. A 1988 graduate of UW-Green Bay, he landed the position of Phoenix cross-country coach while still a student-athlete in 1987. In 1999 he accepted additional duties as academics coordinator for all Phoenix teams. In the years since, the program has posted at least 31 consecutive semesters of cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or better, had a series of all-league and even all-America academic honorees, and had individual teams rank among the best in America in terms of academic performance. Nominators described Kline as “dedicated” “tireless” and “passionate” about encouraging academic and career success.

Wildenberg, recipient of the Founder’s Award for University Staff , is a university services associate in the Dean of Students Office. Nominators praised her customer-service orientation, good humor and cool under pressure in interacting with a clientele as varied and diverse as the University itself — students, parents, faculty, staff, senior administrators and others. She takes a lead role in coordinating a major, Universitywide program that serves almost a thousand new students and their families annually. The award citation also mentioned her technological skills, involvement in staff governance and efforts to “make UW-Green Bay a better place to work.” Wildenberg, who earned her bachelor’s at UW-Milwaukee, joined the UW-Green Bay staff in 2008.

The Digital and Public Humanities Project, led by Associate Profs. Chuck Rybak and Caroline Boswell of the Humanistic Studies faculty, earned the Founders Award in the category of Collaborative Achievement. The project, which began with creation of a “digital commons” at UW-Green Bay, relies on modern technology to greatly expand opportunity for sharing the humanities — ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, history and the visual and performing arts — rather than distract from, or diminish interest, as some might expect in what is often characterized as an age of shortened attention spans. One nominator wrote of Rybak and Boswell, “by bringing students into this field (they have) opened new doors that will lead not only to new employment opportunities, but new ways to engage in lifelong interdisciplinary learning.” The project is credited with helping students avail themselves of new digital technologies, advance their skill sets and also make the field more accessible to the public at large. Boswell, a historian, joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2008 after earning her Ph.D. at Brown University. Rybak, a professor of English and creative writing, is a widely published poet who received his Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati.