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James Siemen

Professor of Psychology
  • B.A., University of Delaware, 1972
  • M.A., University of Nebraska, 1974
  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska, 1979

My profession is the teaching of psychology. Consequently, one of my favorite research areas is in aspects of teaching psychology classes. I often present research at a national conference on teaching in Florida. In addition, examples of other research include working with students who have collected data on such wide ranging topics as using animals (a dog) as a facilitator in working with children in a counseling setting, working on tutoring program for elementary children at risk for failure, looking at ethnic differences in abnormal eating behaviors among high school females, reading strategies used by those with certain types of learning disabilities, and looking at aspects of seasonal affective disorder (the tendency for some to feel depressed during the winter months), and lots of topics related to the Health Psychology class.

Who, What, When, Where, Why….

I went through an undergraduate program at the University of Delaware (1972) and graduate program at the University of Nebraska (MA 1974, PhD 1979). My degrees are in Counseling Psychology and I participated in a Clinical pre-doctoral internship at the Syracuse VA Hospital in Syracuse, NY. I became interested in psychology because I wanted to know why people make the decisions they make, particularly on a spiritual level. What is it about some people that provokes them to strive forward and succeed, while others struggle and hurt?


The psychology department offers many different applied classes, and I teach several of them. My favorite course is Psychopathology (abnormal psychology); it has the closest relationship to what I do as a professional licensed Psychologist. I frequently help team teach General Psychology (our year long introductory psychology course). I also teach Counseling Psychology (where we practice and audiotape counseling techniques), Behavior Modification (where we manipulate environmental variables to effect changes in behaviors), and Health Psychology (where almost all of our students, working in small groups, initiate research and qualify to present their research work at meetings of the Eastern Psychology Association. Locations include Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, & Baltimore).


It is the firm belief, both at the departmental level and at the college level, that there is no substitute for going out and putting into practice the things we learn in classes. To that end, the Psychology Department coordinates the largest internship program on campus. Almost any student desiring an internship experience may participate. Typical placements include working in a local inpatient psychiatric hospital, working in a local outpatient clinic, working at a local drug/alcohol rehabilitation center, working at a local psychiatric day treatment center, working with children at high risk for school and social failure, working with public school guidance counselors, and many, many more. We have agreements with hospitals in Baltimore (Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center & Sheppard Pratt Psychiatric Hospital) and we seek to expand into any areas of student interest.

Other Work/interests

I like my work, but I have a life away from campus. I was the first medic certified in the Chestertown area and I continue to volunteer my time to the Kent-Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad, I was a publicly elected member of the Kent County School Board (resigned after serving 19+ years as a Board Member and President), I work one day a week as a Consulting Psychologist for the Kent County Mental Health Clinic, and I am an ordained deacon in the church; my greatest joy on campus is to serve as the faculty sponsor to the Washington College Campus Christian Fellowship, which has been meeting every Wednesday night for almost three decades. Lastly, I have a loving wife and two wonderful children.

Meet Some Of My Students…

The following are pictures of the students in our recent Health Psychology class. Each of the groups pictured here initiated a researchable topic, collected and analyzed data, drew conclusions, and submitted the research for poster presentation to the Eastern Psychological Association’s annual meeting. Topics include:

Elaine Pranski, Misty Christensen, and Amy Linthicum
Looking at the effects of sleep deprivation and alcohol intake on driver simulated reaction time, heart-rate, and blood pressure. Elaine Pranski, Misty Christensen, and Amy Linthicum.
Katie Juromski, Spencer Case, and Craig Chilton
Looking at the relationship between florescent, full-spectrum, and natural light on memory, concentration, stress, and cortisol production. Katie Juromski, Spencer Case, and Craig Chilton.
Jennifer Smith and Christopher Smith
Looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on food cravings, memory, mood, and the body’s reaction to stress. Jennifer Smith and Christopher Smith.
Caitlyn Onyx
Looking at the effects of religiosity on self-esteem and stress in college students. Caitlyn Onyx.
Sarah Talbot and her mother Karen
Looking at the effects of situational stress on creativity. Sarah Talbot and her mother Karen.
Steve Smith
Looking at the effects of video taped self-modeling on influencing the behavior of students with Autism. Steve Smith.
Caitlin Orsini and Kelsey Pont
Looking at changed in heart-rate and food consumption for dieters and non-dieters when preloaded with high calorie food. Caitlin Orsini and Kelsey Pont.
Lindsay Merhige and Barbara Harrington
Looking at the effects of music with language versus music without language on concentration and arousal in college students. Lindsay Merhige and Barbara Harrington.
Allison Sullivan and Lindsey Riley.
Looking at “What’s for Dinner?” Measuring the effects of athleticism and depression on healthy eating choices. Winner of the PSI CHI Poster Session Research Award. Allison Sullivan and Lindsey Riley.