North Central’s Psychology major will prepare you with the theoretical framework, critical thinking skills, field experience, and applicable knowledge you need to pursue graduate school or a career in the field. Here at NCU, we teach from the ‘bio-psycho-social-spiritual’ model of understanding of how we, as human beings created in the image of God, think, behave, emote, and respond to creation. Taught from a Christian Perspective, courses will give you a strong foundation in human development, psychopathology, personality, and psychotherapy. You will explore the human mind and the scientific explanations for behavior as you pursue your calling to help others improve their lives.

Interview with Andrew Schuttinga

Why do you teach at North Central University? What is your mission here?

Andrew wasn’t sure about coming here right away, because NCU was not theologically lined up with what believed, but he ended up going for it. Nothing has changed in his beliefs, and he sees such great scientific value in psychology. Christians can tend to view psychology as dangerous or secular, but he wants to change that. 

“I want to make sure that Christians understand psychology, which may help them understand who God is and understand ourselves as well. “

Share with me what you know about the Love Your Neighbor initiative, and why it is important to the College of Arts & Sciences?

He knew about it, because it was Libengood’s idea, and he knew there has been work going on for it. Hasn’t done a lot with the initiative as of yet because he is getting the psychology program in order being that it is only his 2nd year here. He said it is important to have a component of service to the community, but there are limited opportunities currently within the psychology program, and he wants to do things within the strengths of the program.

Have you, or students in your program, get involved in any specific community efforts to date?

They haven’t yet, but he shared some great ideas he has for future service to the community, and he wants us to remember we aren’t allowed to do free counseling or anything like that.  For example:

  • Volunteer work at a hospital
  • Meet with patients at a Psych ward
  • Volunteer at a Juvenile detention center

How do you believe our Christian community at North Central strives to invest in the community, bring together diverse ideas or develop projects? Why is this important?

He talked a lot about McKain’s classes, because of the way McKain’s classes are so hands-on and do work for our community, especially the Elliot Park neighborhood. He believes this is something that NCU is greatly improving in, specifically CAS. CAS is the head of these projects and ideas coming together, and he hopes to see it grow into something al programs can practice because it represents what NCU stands for. 

Tell me about your ideal student – what characteristics do they possess and why are they successful in your program?

Someone who self-motivated to read the books, study with the desire to actually learn topic rather than enough to pass. They don’t say C’s get degrees, because those don’t get jobs. Many students in his classes have a “meh” attitude that pours into the rest of their lives. He not only want students to learn what he teaches in class, but wants them to be curious about more than just that. He expects an attitude of excellence, but many students do not have that. It will show when they go in for a job interview or when they start a new job. I have seen too many mediocre graduates, and that’s what I am trying to change.” 

What is the value of bringing real-world experiences into the classroom? And how do you do that in your particular discipline?

“It’s very valuable. For some classes, it is easier, but I rely on my storytelling and experiences a lot to try to bridge the gap between theory and theory applied every day….It’s not like we are able to bring in mentally challenged people and work with them. I also can’t film counseling sessions and show that.” 

“Teaching is a performance, and we have to be entertaining.”

If you could share one story with a prospective student that might influence them attending North Central, what would you share?

It really depends on the student. Usually, he tells students how he made his decision on grad school with his wife. For most students, they come in and think ‘I have no idea where I want to go’ or ‘maybe I should go to Florida, it’s nice there’ and they are typically looking at our competition…Bethel, UNW, etc. I usually tell stories of students that have gone on to do something that matters.

Interview with Darrin Coe

Why do you teach at North Central University? What is your mission here?

For me, it is the mission of NCU. It allows me to be who I want to be and act out my faith in the workplace. 

What got you teaching in the first place?

I previously worked at a prison in mental health and wanted to move away from that area. I decided to begin teaching and researching rather than treating people. I also wanted to work in a place where they share his values of faith, so North Central is a perfect fit for me.

What is the biggest difference between working in prison and teaching in Psychology in University?

Of course, the issues were no longer immediate emergencies that could possibly be a matter of life and death, but teaching allows me to teach instead of trying to understand and treat a person. 

Share with me what you know about the Love Your Neighbor initiative, and why it is important to the College of Arts & Sciences?

I had only learned about Love Your Neighbor from Dr. Libengood mentioning it by name. I do not know too much about the program.

Love Your Neighbor is about reaching out to the community. Have you, or students in your program, get involved in any specific community efforts to date?

One of the biggest student involvement I have seen my students involved in was fairly recent. They got involved in some COVID-19 virus preparation efforts. Students would take supplies to people who need help. It was purely through volunteer work and was organized through a Facebook group.

Are there other projects we should learn more about in the future?

I only could think of one off of the top of my head which is a volunteer group studying the psychology of religion that I am starting, coming this fall.

Tell me about any ideas that you have considered, or projects students have discussed.

Teaching senior project for psychology, I have the opportunity to guide students in their research. Most students pick “socially aware” projects for example, support for pregnant women in prisons. I spend my classes often telling stories about my experiences and his own research so that students can see beyond just the theory of psychology, but psychology in practice.