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Psychology Department Directory

Resident Faculty

Heidi Frankard, Ph.D.
Dr. Frankard is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Metropolitan State University and is currently the coordinator of the early childhood studies major. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from St. Cloud State University, M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University, and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University. Dr. Frankard's research interests include social and emotional development of young children, peer conflict resolution, childhood aggression, war play in early childhood classrooms, and professional development in early childhood.

Kimberly Halvorson, Ph.D.
Dr. Halvorson joined the Metropolitan State University Faculty in 2013. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from Concordia College, Moorhead, and a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition and Perception from the University of Iowa. Her earliest involvement in research was in a visual attention lab investigating how the emotional affect of face cues modulate covert shifts of spatial attention. This work demonstrated that the mechanisms underlying the joint processes of attention and social orienting are sensitive to emotional context. The focus on how context influences cognitive processing carried over into her work in graduate school and current research interests, including multi-tasking, skill acquisition, and response selection. Her research centers on how these cognitive processes emerge as a result of the dynamic interaction between the environment and the mind. Dr. Halvorson’s primary teaching areas are general psychology, research methods, cognitive psychology, and sensation and perception.

Kelly Hazel, Ph.D.
Dr. Hazel has been a long time advocate of Community Psychology and is an internationally recognized scholar in the field. She received a B.S. in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of Michigan-Flint, and her Ph.D. from the Ecological-Community Psychology program at Michigan State University. She was on the faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for ten years where she taught Master's level students as well as undergraduates. She joined the faculty at Metropolitan State University in 2002. Dr. Hazel's early research focused on program evaluation in areas as diverse as forest recreation and natural resources management to mental health and developmental disabilities services delivery systems. In Alaska, her research and intervention interests focused on issues of health and wellness within Alaskan villages, especially issues related to the sobriety, and the prevention of substance abuse, AIDS and other deadly diseases. She has strong interests in women's issues, indigenous cultures, liberatory ethics and social/community change. Dr. Hazel teaches the graduate program's core courses on Community Psychology theory and applications and undergraduate courses on Diversity and Ethics, Community Psychology, and Psychology of Women.

August John Hoffman, Ph.D.
August John Hoffman is currently a Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Psychology at Metropolitan State University. He earned his B.A. from UC Santa Barbara, M.A. from Radford University in Clinical Psychology (with an emphasis in Sport Psychology), and Ph.D. from UCLA in counseling psychology. As a former professor of psychology at Compton College, CSU Northridge, and Pepperdine University, he has assisted students from various educational backgrounds in accomplishing their goals. He began and developed a highly successful gardening program at Compton College in an effort to help students improve their campus and community. Dr. Hoffman's current research projects at Metropolitan State University include the development of a community fruit tree orchard and community garden with students at Inver Hills Community College. Current research interests also include community service work and student mentoring as effective methods to reduce ethnic conflict and improve social capital among student and community members. For the last five years Dr. Hoffman has conducted research combining outdoor gardening work with Metropolitan State University students and community members. Students generally appreciate the ability to engage in community service work and see how psychological theory applies itself within the community with community members. Additionally, Dr. Hoffman has taught several psychology courses including Motivation and Sport Psychology, which include an applied approach to creating healthy lifestyles for his students. He has published several books and academic research articles, including the texts, Unity Through Community Service Activities; Understanding Sport Psychology and Human Behavior; and Stop Procrastinating Now!. He is currently working on a text: A History of Evolutionary Psychology, and he enjoys gardening at his home in Hudson, Wisconsin during his time off with his family—Nancy his wife, and two children A.J. and Sara.

Kerry S. Kleyman, Ph.D.
Dr. Kleyman received a B.A. in psychology from Metropolitan State University in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno (with a concentration in social perception, political and cross-cultural psychology) in 2010. Her past research has broadly focused on the influence of stereotypical stimuli on perceptions of racially ambiguous individuals. She is currently conducting research in the areas of perception of race, racial attitudes, and political attitudes. Other interests include: interracial and multiracial relationships, transracial adoptions, culture and political participation, and race and political leadership. Dr. Kleyman has taught courses in General Psychology, Quantitative Research Methods, Social Psychology, Personality, Diversity and Ethics, Diversity in Children, Political Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychology. Dr. Kleyman was a SQIN (Special Qualifications in Nutrition) Fellow at UNR Medical School, has attended the Summer Institute in Political Psychology at Stanford, and received training in Structural Equation Modeling at KU. She is a member of several psychological organizations, the co-director of the Institute for Peace and Political Studies, and currently serves as the Psychology Club co-Advisor and Psychology Lab Director at Metropolitan State University.

Caitlin O. Mahoney, Ph.D.
Dr. Mahoney received her B.A. in psychology from Siena College 2003 and a Ph.D. in Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology from Clark University (with a concentration in societal peace and conflict) 2008. Her past research has broadly focused on the relationship between emotions and political behaviors. She is currently studying the relationship between joy, compassion, and altruistic responses to distant others (those we have never met). Other interests include: positive psychology; pro-social behaviors; virtue; psychical distance and interpersonal closeness; authenticity. Mahoney has taught courses in General Psychology, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods, Social Psychology, Group Dynamics, and Peace Psychology. She serves as the Internet Editor for the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence (APA Div 48 - www.peacepsych.org).

Susan Rydell, Ph.D.
Dr. Rydell received her B.A. in social psychology from Smith College, and her Ph.D. in psychology through the University of Minnesota's Center for Personality Research. She was a postdoctoral associate in the University of Minnesota's Center for Research in Human Learning, Memory and Cognition. Research interests have included corrections education, adults as learners, and curriculum evaluation. Her current interest in the area of early childhood professional development stems from her Head Start research for the Rand Corporation and InterStudy's Day Care Policies Study Group. She is a charter faculty member of Metropolitan State University where she established the Psychology Department and was the initial architect for the Psychology Lab and the Student Counseling Center. She has been a member of the State of Minnesota Labor-Management Committee on Health Plans since 1986, and served as president of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) for three years. She is a frequent consultant and reviewer for higher education institutions and other organizations, and has reviewed programs in Canada, Japan, Austria, and Switzerland. She teaches Personnel and Industrial Psychology for the psychology graduate program and supervises students interested in doing research through the Psychology Department's Center for Professional Development for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals.

Glen Spielmans, Ph.D.
Dr. Spielmans earned a Ph.D. in clinical/counseling/school psychology (adult clinical emphasis) at Utah State University. He completed his predoctoral clinical psychology internship at the Indiana University Medical School in August 2004. Dr. Spielmans joined the faculty at Metropolitan State University in August 2006. He previously served as an assistant professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Fredonia from August 2004 – August 2006. His research interests include: psychotherapy outcomes, meta-analysis, the interface between marketing and science in promoting the use of psychiatric medications, health psychology interventions, and principles of evidence-based treatments. Dr. Spielmans has worked with many undergraduate students on research projects, many of which have resulted in conference presentations and/or publications. He serves as the research updates section editor and editorial board member for The Carlat Psychiatry Report, a monthly newsletter for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Dr. Spielmans often teaches the following courses: abnormal psychology, research methods, clinical psychology, psychological testing, and behavior disorders in children.

Gary Starr, Ph.D.
Dr. Starr earned his B.A. in psychology and human physiology, San Diego State University; M.A. and Ph.D. in cognitive/experimental psychology, the Ohio State University, with major research emphases in learning, memory, auditory perception and language, brain and behavior, and problem solving; current position include serving as the psychology laboratory director, psychology department chair, and statewide union negotiator. Current research interests is directed at persuasion and negotiating strategies, impact of logic abilities in understanding science.

Mark Stasson, Ph.D.
Dr. Stasson earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (Major in Social Psychology; minors in Quantitative and Industrial/Organizational psychology) and is interested in applications of social psychology to many applied contexts. His research has focused on social influence in groups: how group procedures affect decision making and problem solving, and how individuals' attitudes, opinions, and decision making strategies are affected by group interactions. He also conducts research on the relation between attitudes and behavior and on individual decision-making processes. Recently, his research has examined how individual differences such as individualism/collectivism and social regulation processes are related to motivation, social influence, and behavioral prediction. Dr. Stasson has advised many students at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels, and his primary teaching areas are social psychology, history and systems, data analysis, attitudes and social influence, environmental psychology, and research methods.



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