By Molly Igoe
Elm Staff Writer
For Assistant Psychology Professor Christopher Beasley, the transition to a small, rural town has been reminiscent of his childhood spent growing up in Casey, Ill. Beasley said, “I first started studying psychology to better understand my father’s struggles with schizoaffective disorder which is essentially a combination of schizophrenia-like symptoms and bipolar-like symptoms.”
Beasley loves Washington College, not only for its small size, but the community feel of Chestertown. “It has really been refreshing to be back in a smaller town and college after being in Chicago for eight years and at a large university the past five years.”
“I have especially appreciated the student enthusiasm at WC and community building activities in Chestertown. The crabs have also been an excellent addition.”
Beasley brings an impressive list of credentials to WC. He received his associate degree in Arts and Sciences from Lincoln Trail College and his bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from University of Minnesota at Duluth.
After studying clinical psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, “I realized I wanted to take a different approach to mental health and well-being, one which could reach people before they develop problems and help those who never seek out professional services,” said Beasley. This is why he started studying community psychology at DePaul University, where he also received an NRSA pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Beasley said that community psychology “studies how communities can be structured to prevent mental illness and help people cope once they are ill… Community psychology practitioners focus on community-level interventions and addresses underlying social structures that lead to problems.”
Professor Beasley is currently teaching environmental psychology and health psychology, and he is advising six senior theses. Next semester, he will be teaching general psychology and statistics and design.
Beasley is working on creating some new courses in the Psychology Department. “One is a seminar on empowerment, which will help students learn about the process through which people obtain the psychological, social, and tangible resources needed to thrive.”
Another exciting new course he is developing “is a qualitative methods course in which students will learn how to interview people and analyze the interviews to discover patterns in their stories.”
On studying psychology, Beasley said, “I think the most important things for students are to develop a foundation of psychological concepts and vocabulary words with which to integrate future learning as well as critical thinking. Psychology is constantly evolving, and a broad foundation and critical thinking skills will help students navigate this shifting terrain.”