Deborah A. Gagnon

Associate Professor of Psychology
"The Wells classroom is intimate, supportive, respectful and nurturing; it is a place where faculty and students learn together. I am constantly impressed by how engaged the students are and I believe they are equally impressed by how caring the faculty are! Through a focus on social justice, Wells has been a place where I can affirm and practice my personal conviction that service coupled with humility is the single best route to a fulfilling and meaningful life. To me, Wells is proof of what is possible."
Zabriskie 308

Professor Gagnon enjoys exposing interconnections across the disciplines in her classes. She is as likely to be talking about art, literature, dance, or theater in her cognitive or neuro-based classes as she is to be talking about neurotransmitters, the amygdala, or mental rotation! Her courses feature service learning opportunities that connect the course material to the aims of social, economic, and environmental justice. Her primary area of scholarship in psychology focuses on language – how we perceive, produce, and use it, but her recent interests have migrated to the areas of positive psychology, creative self-expression, service learning, spirituality, and working on building a just and sustainable world. She is a recipient of the Doug Bernstein Award from the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology for her work on creative self-expression pedagogy. Student evaluations consistently describe Professor Gagnon as a compassionate teacher and indeed, one of her primary aims in the classroom is to create a humane, compassionate, and nurturing environment in which all feel comfortable and encouraged to participate. Professor Gagnon believes that learning is inter-relational and that with an environment of equality and mutual respect, we all benefit and grow.


1986 B.A. University at Buffalo, Psychology

1993 Ph.D. University at Buffalo, Cognitive Psychology

Select Publications

Gagnon, D., & Morfei, M. (January, 2007). Diversifying the Psychology Curriculum: Lessons Learned (or, When Worlds Collide) . 29 th Annual National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP), St. Petersburg Beach, FL.

Gagnon, D.A., Terlecki, M.S., Sweet, H., & Stoddart, R. (2006, August). Tapping the Creative: Using self-expressive methods in teaching psychology. Symposium to be presented at the 2006 American Psychological Association Convention, New Orleans, LA.

Gagnon, D.A. & Martin, N. (2002). Connectionist approaches to diagnosis, prognosis, and remediation of acquired naming disorders. Connectionist accounts of normal and disordered language: A clinical perspective . Hillsdale , NJ : Erbaum.

Courses Taught

Psychology & Art
Positive Psychology
Cognition & Culture
Quantitative Methods
Sensation & Perception
Senior Thesis
Cognitive Psychology


Science, Health, and Values

Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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