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About the Department

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes, and studying psychology is a great way to learn about people, including you! Whatever career you decide to follow, a background in psychology will make you more employable. Learning about psychology helps you to understand and predict how people will behave in a variety of situations.

Learning about psychology can help you to control your own behavior, and how to be a happier, healthier human being. You will learn about learning and memory, social interactions, relationships, coping with stress, and how to be a critical thinker. You will learn about positive emotions and health, as well as psychological disorders.

Department Information

Department Description: Psychology is the study of behavior and mental processes. People sometimes think of psychology as the study of mental and emotional problems, or as psychotherapy, but the field is actually much broader than this. We use the scientific method to study human behavior in all its many forms, from the genetic level and the biological basis of behavior, to understanding how individuals and groups behave in everyday activities. Psychology includes the study of what we have in common with other human beings, such as how we learn and remember, along with what makes us unique individuals – our personalities. We study what makes people thrive and grow, as well as what might lead to problems. The Psychology Department faculty has a wealth of experience in the teaching of psychology as well as practical experience working in the field, and they use this to enrich the classroom. Faculty members also maintain memberships in professional psychology organizations to stay up to date with research findings and developments in the field. The Psychology Club is a student organization that takes on service projects on campus and in the community, and holds regular social events. Central Lakes College also has a chapter of Psi Beta, the national honor society for psychology students at two-year colleges.

Department Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify and apply alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Identify and communicate alternative explanations for contemporary social issues.
  • Identify the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral sciences use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods or cultures.

Special Department Information: General Psychology is a survey course that provides a broad introduction to the field of psychology. This course is also a prerequisite for some of the other psychology courses, such as Human Development and Abnormal Psychology.

Select this link for a complete listing of Psychology course offerings. 

Transfer Opportunities: Psychology courses fulfill several goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. Many students at CLC take courses in psychology, as the study of psychology is an excellent preparation for further study in numerous fields such as teaching, health care, social service, criminal justice and business.

Career Opportunities: Psychology is an appropriate background for any job that involves working with other people. Psychology is also great for understanding and changing your own behavior, so personal interest often brings students to psychology classes.

Career Titles: Psychologist, Counselor, Behavior Analyst, Case Worker, Human Resources Director, Social Services Director, Customer Relations Worker, Research Analyst, Probation Officer, Manager


DSC_0061Karen Pikula
Karen Pikula teaches online, hybrid, and face to face courses at Central Lakes College. Her goal as an instructor is ensure student success while cultivating a comfortable, safe and challenging learning environment for her students. She began her college career  here at Central Lakes College. She went on to earn her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Education, and a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching from Bemidji State University, and then earned her PhD in Educational Psychology  from Capella University. She is very interested in saving students money and is actively engaged in helping faculty adopt Open Educational Resources, (Free Textbooks). She also serves as the OER Coordinator at Minnesota State. She hopes to see you in a psychology  class soon! Email Karen for more information

DSC_0053Alita Reque-Peterson
I have a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Bemidji State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth. I have a diverse background working in human services, social work, mental health and higher education. I have worked as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager, Mental Health Practitioner and in both Advising and Career Services at Bemidji State University. In Fall 2013, I started working at Central Lakes College as a Check & Connect Coach and have valued the opportunities I have had to work with students from different backgrounds. I am very passionate about psychology, teaching and most importantly, students! Email Alita for more information

Mary DeVahl
Mary DeVahl is a familiar face to many at Central Lakes College. She began her career with the college in 1987 working as an advisor /advocate for single parents and non-traditional students. In 1995 she joined the CLC Counseling Department. Over the years she has helped thousands of CLC students identify, pursue and reach their academic and personal goals. During her years as a counselor she accumulated a wealth of experience working with students on personal issues, mental health and crisis counseling, career counseling and educational and transfer planning. The ’13-’14 academic year brings a new and exciting challenge as she transitions into a new role as a full-time instructor, teaching courses in Psychology, Career Exploration and College Success. Email Mary for more information

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below: